Watch these glow-in-the-dark roads light up the Netherlands

Highway safety has never looked so cool.


Kate Knibbs


Posted on Apr 15, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 11:36 am CDT

A stretch of highway in the Netherlands looks less like a home to roadkill and boredom and more like a scene ripped from a cyberpunk comic, thanks to a cutting-edge bioluminescent lighting system that makes roads glow brightly in the dark.

For 500 meters, the road lights up at night thanks to a glow-in-the-dark powder mixed in with the road paint. The powder soaks up energy from the sun during the day, and the result is an almost neon-looking lighting system that is both bright and eco-friendly (although it may not be as effective in overcast weather, since the paint derives its glow from sunlight). 

De Glowing lines in het echt

— Maxime Verhagen (@MaximeVerhagen) April 10, 2014

Daan Roosegaarde, the designer who came up with the idea, originally wanted to include glowing snowflake-patterned weather markers alongside the traffic markers, to show drivers where to watch for icy patches. Roosegaarde and his design studio haven’t been commissioned to add the snow patterns yet, but you can see what they’d look like in a simulation created in 2012:

H/T State Column | Photo via Flickr/Bert Kaufmann (CC BY 2.0) 

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*First Published: Apr 15, 2014, 3:14 pm CDT