The highway’s shoulders are marked by green paint that absorbs the sun’s energy. (Studio Roosegaarde/Heijmans)

On a 500-meter stretch of highway outside Oss — a city about an hour south of Amsterdam — there’s no need for street lights to illuminate the road. Designer Daan Roosegaarde partnered with Dutch construction company Heijmans to install photoluminescent paint. The paint is charged by sunlight during the day and then glows for eight hours at night.

“There is an incredible amount of hardware needed to have something very immaterial, which is light. These gigantic street lamps and cables and wires and maintenance. I was always amazed by that,” Roosegaarde told Reuters. “Why can’t we just look at how jellyfishes behave deep, deep underwater? They have their own light.”

The group tested several versions this year before arriving at a durable one that delivered steady light. Previously the highway had reflectors on it, but those have been replaced with three lines of the paint that glows green.

Roosegaarde’s team was cagey about getting into more details, and wouldn’t reveal a cost. So while this road looks extremely cool, don’t expect a glowing highway coming to a road near you.


A vehicle drives on the highway outside Oss. (Studio Roosegaarde/Heijmans)

A close-up look at the glowing paint. (Studio Roosegaarde/Heijmans)

For now Roosegaarde’s design agency — Studio Roosegaarde — is turning its attention to a bike lane inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It will launch next month.


An illustration of what the bike lane could look like. (Studio Roosegaarde)