Antwerp to Quiet Traffic with Noise-Cancelling Fountains


The City of Antwerp is planning to install new fountains in the Brilschanspark to help reduce traffic noise. The fountains will generate a calming sound that will help to shield residents from the noise of the nearby highway. The project is part of a wider initiative by the city to improve the quality of life for residents.

Noise pollution is a major problem in cities, and Antwerp is no exception. One in four residents experiences daily noise levels exceeding 65 decibels, which can lead to a number of health problems, including stress, sleep disturbances, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. District mayor Evi Van der Planken is proposing to use the sound of water fountains to mask traffic noise in Brilschanspark, a green oasis in the city. In collaboration with Ghent University and the art collective Aifoon, Antwerp will install “noise-disrupting fountains” that will create a quiet zone in the city to protect residents from harmful pollution and improve their mental and physical well-being.

Photo Florencia Potter

The speakers will work in the same way as noise-cancelling headphones, with people hearing only natural ambient sounds. Residents and audio experts will test all the different sound configurations and decide which of the versions is most suitable. The project is expected to be completed by March 2024. If it is a success, it could be an inspiration to urban areas all around the world.