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Elizabeth Beck, a tourist visiting the Dutch city of Almere from Pennsylvania, stands on a natural fiber bridge.

“Honestly, I think it’s amazing. I actually use flax, the flaxseed, for breakfast and now I’m standing on a flax deck, so it’s kind of… kinda cool! ” she says.

Frans Van Der Wel is a business advisor at FibreCore Europe, the company that built this 15-metre single-span bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Our business is the manufacture of composite bridges. Normally we even use fiberglass or carbon fiber, but in this deck we use flax fiber,” he said.

Linen is a plant with a pretty blue flower and seeds that you can sprinkle on your salads.

In the same way that steel wire is fixed in concrete in conventional construction, a flax fiber mesh is fixed in a resin partly natural, partly not. So far, this method costs about twice as much as building the standard method.

The Netherlands is full of canals and has many bridges.

“In the Netherlands, more than 85,000 bridges will be replaced, renewed in the next 20 years. And if we do it the same way we built them, there’s this huge carbon dioxide that comes out of the process,” said Jan Hoek, deputy mayor of Almere.

They are looking for alternatives. The Netherlands pioneered greenhouse agriculture and other technological advances in agriculture.

Lucas De Man is the founder/CEO of Biobased Creations, which promotes organic building materials.

“I’m talking about hemp, I’m talking about cattail which is a cigar plant that grows in swamps and water regions,” he said. “I am talking about the mycelium which is the root of the fungus. Straw – just very simple straw. You can build houses entirely with it.

In the future, he says, we will buy building materials from farmers.

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