Marstunnel Zutphen: a Colorful Underpass

Since I was in the neighborhood, I took the opportunity to visit the Marstunnel in Zutphen. Another recently completed project in the east of the country in which I’ve put an lot of hours. Among other things, I made the artist impressions for the project when I was working at Royal HaskoningDHV.

Artist impression of the Marstunnel under the railway tracks in Zutphen, The Netherlands, seen from the city
Artist impression, seen from the old town


The name Marstunnel has nothing to do with the Red Planet and also not with candy bars, but everything with business park De Mars. The new tunnel connects that area, and the new district Noorderhaven, with Zutphen’s scenic old town center. The underpass replaces the a level crossing.

Photo of the Marstunnel in Zutphen looking from Noorderhaven and De Mars towards the city center


Responsible for the architecture of the tunnel is Mari Baauw of Railinfra Solutions (which is a joint venture of Deutsche Bahn International, Royal HaskoningDHV and Witteveen + Bos)

A striking feature of this architecture is the use of materials: brick on both floors and walls. This refers to the nearby historic town center of Zutphen. In a way, the underpass becomes part of the old town.

Phto of the Marstunnel in Zutphen with above it the railway station and a train from Dutch Railways, seen from the city centre

Light art

What makes the passage under the tracks really spectacular is the light art by Herman Kuijer. Thousands of LED lights create a colorful pattern in the tunnel that very slowly changes color.

Phto of the light art by Herman Kuijer in the Marstunnel in Zutphen made at the pedestrian section of the railway passage


Although the implementation of the idea is completely different, this underpass in fact does the same thing as the Van Kregtentunnel in Wierden: use color to make the journey under the tracks more pleasant and even turn it into a special experience.

Photo of the entrance of the Marstunnel in Zutphen from the side of the city centre, with the light art by Herman Kuijer in blue and purple

Frans Blok

My work explores the border regions of photography, painting and computer visuals. With my company 3Develop I do work in commission but I use the same techniques, skills and software to make free work. I am originally an architect and I live in Rotterdam; for that reason the architecture of that city is a major (but not the only) source of inspiration. But also travel to countries like Iceland and Britain, or walks in the Netherlands, provide much material. Seeing and showing quality and beauty, that is what my work is about.

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1 Response

  1. TYRA says:

    the underpass replaces the a level crossing.

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