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The challenge

The Prinshoeveweg street in Antwerp had quite an unusual layout. Its two sides were separated by a strip in the middle and were also at different heights. In addition, the Donkse Beek watercourse had been covered over in the past to create a paved area.

The solution

The first step of the project involved conventional roadworks and sewerage works, with the sewerage works being handled by sewerage treatment operator Aquafin and the road above being redeveloped by the municipality of Ekeren. The province of Antwerp asked if it would also be possible to restore the Donkse Beek to its natural state. Arcadis worked with its clients to develop a climate-adaptive design that maximizes the benefits of greenery and water.

The result is a true metamorphosis. The central strip has disappeared while the new roadway takes up much less space and has a more streamlined look. The watercourse has a prominent place in the streetscape and helps create a rural atmosphere. A natural embankment on one side supports flora and fauna, while a vertical wall opposite provides space for other functions.


    There is a firebreak made of turfstone pavers next to the apartment buildings, providing an extra green buffer. The watercourse is no longer covered over, but can be crossed by bridges, maximizing its ecological value. The scene is completed by trees, with underground habitat improvement, and new public lighting.


    The Donkse Beek watercourse has an important role in the Rozemaai Public Domain Master Plan and the Low Countries Master Plan. Work is also underway to restore bodies of water in the south of Ekeren. The Donkse Beek has been restored as a watercourse in the Rozemaaipark and the next phase involves connecting it to the rest of the Donkse Beek. 

The impact

The Prinshoeveweg has been transformed from a gray patchwork to a green residential street in a 30 km/h zone on a bus route. The open watercourse, flanked by wide green areas and trees, cools the surrounding area. As a result, the street can literally breathe again.

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