Tendencies in steel railway bridge design towards a greater influence of architects on bridge design, minimum noise emission as a design criterion and design for minimum maintenance and building costs are discussed. Steel railway bridges generally have a bad image with regard to noise emission and maintenance costs. Recent developments in railway bridge design in The Netherlands have brought new opportunities for the use of steel as a construction material. Recent steel railway bridge designs in The Netherlands are presented, showing the specific features of architecture and those that influence noise emission and costs. Examples of bridge designs with and without ballasted track show the possibilities for building steel railway bridges which are much more silent than conventional steel bridges without increasing the building costs. These designs also show that modern architecture and cost-effectiveness do not have to be mutually exclusive.