park redevelopment

Smallingerland Municipality

Design an open-air theatre and two bridges for the Reidingpark in Drachten, The Netherlands.


The Reidingpark not only received an open-air theatre and two bridges, but also an entirely new atmosphere, both in the daytime and evening. The starting point was not the theatre itself, which offers several performances a year aimed at a specific audience, but rather the accessibility of the park and the centrally located hill that affords views across a water feature. A place for everyone, young or old.

From the foot of the hill, a path zigzags upwards to the top. Long white benches have been installed alongside the path. Similar to the concrete blocks along ravines found at tight hairpin turns in the mountains. The path’s modest gradient means it is also suitable for use by disabled persons.

The benches are illuminated in the evening and invite passers-by to pause and sit down for a while. As a result, the hill functions not only as a theatre but also as a meeting place. A social space where people tolerate and respect each other’s proximity. Where students and families – young and old – can have a chat or share a picnic. The path leading to the top entices visitors to stop and enjoy the view across the pond and the park.

The two white bridges that provide access to the park have also been designed as pleasant places to stop and linger. Their extra-wide railings serve as seating elements and are lit in the evening. The railings could not project more than one metre above the water surface, which gives the bridges a concave, Japanese-inspired look.

This commission came about through the advocacy of Kunst & Bedrijf.

Jeroen Musch

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