The Dutch Embassy will continue the collaboration with the London Cycling Campaign and be involved with the opening of two new ‘Mini-Hollands’ in London in the spring.
More information (incl. conference programmes and videos) on what we have done in the past years can be found on our Embassy’s English portal: http://unitedkingdom.nlembassy.org/key-topics/cycling
UK Cycling Festival Europe seminar in Scotland, on 14 April 2016
As part of the Cycling Festival Europe the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands organises a seminar in Edinburgh on 14 April entitled ‘Infrastructure beyond the Streetscape’
The seminar is organised in close collaboration with Abellio UK and Cycling Scotland, aims to draw attention to closer integration of cycling with communities, and new build housing developments. In particular, the seminar would wish to explore if this is an achievable objective within the context of Scotland, any impediments to progressing this initiative, and how we can get a wider discussion on next steps. To support this seminar we welcome speaking contributions from a wide panel of experts from the UK and the Netherlands.
The Dutch Embassy in London has been active in bringing the Dutch experience and knowledge of cycling and cycle infrastructure to the United Kingdom since the beginning of 2012, supporting the London Cycling Campaign (London’s equivalent to ‘de Fietsersbond’) in their ‘Love London, Go Dutch’ campaign in 2012, and their ‘Space for Cycling Campaign’ in 2014.
During that time, they also set up and jointly organised a series of six one-day conferences around the United Kingdom called ‘Love Cycling, Go Dutch’. Dutch cycling experts teamed up with their British counterparts to see how the Dutch cycling experience could boost Britain's cycle network and increase safety and public support for cycling. Cycling experts, urban planners and politicians enthusiastically exchanged views in both practical workshops and seminars. We held conferences in Bristol, London, Edinburgh and Manchester in autumn 2012, and Birmingham and Newcastle in autumn 2013. In the run-up to the conferences, a select group of relevant local British stakeholders also redesigned a junction according to Dutch design principles under the expert leadership of professionals from the Dutch Cycling Embassy. The Dutch Embassy closely collaborated with Royal HaskoningDHV (UK and NL) on these conferences that provided expertise and sponsorship. They sought collaboration as they were keen to launch their expertise in this area (RHDHV were already present in other sectors like wind energy).
The Dutch Embassy also hosted the Launch of Bike Week 2013, 2014 and 2015 and will do so again in 2016. Bike Week is a national week where a host of organisations organises activities around the UK to encourage Brits to cycle in all kinds of ways. While this event is attended by many British politicians, people from cycle organisations including British Cycling and many others, the Minister for Cycling has also been present and has spoken along with the Ambassador and others at this event. To exchange more knowledge and experience, the Embassy made an effort to get as many Dutch cycling companies involved as possible. Abellio (international branch NS) provided their English version of OV-fiets for people to ride on, as did companies like Babboe, Gazelle, Urban Arrow and others. Consultancies like Royal HaskoningDHV and Witteveen+Bos and cycle parking companies like Falco were also present.
At the invitation of the Dutch Embassy and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a group of ‘influentials’ from the United Kingdom, including the Scottish Minister for Transport and the Cycle ‘Tsars’ of London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham, visited the Netherlands on a three-day trip in the summer of 2013 to see and experience the Dutch cycling culture for themselves. The Dutch Embassy was able to link this visit directly to the Launch of Bike Week, held at the office of the Dutch Embassy with a Google Hangout session.
In 2013 at the Cycle Show 2013 in Birmingham, a leading trade fair for cycle retail, the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and the Dutch Embassy organised a stand and the ‘Love Cycling, Go Dutch’ conference.
In the same year, the Dutch Embassy organised a short seminar in The Hague to inform the Dutch sector on the British Cycle Revolution and our activities.
Apart from these main activities, the Dutch Embassy has provided or introduced a host of Dutch cycle experts (via the Dutch Cycling Embassy) to ever-increasing cycle conferences in the UK. Our new Ambassador Simon Smits opened the first Mini-Holland in Waltham Forrest (outer London) on his first day in office in September 2015.
These string of activities around cycling have greatly benefited the Dutch presence in this sector as well, I dare to say. The collaboration with Royal HaskoningDHV has evidently helped their visibility in this area of expertise. They have won a good number of high-profile contracts as a result of this, in London and beyond. Collaborations with the London Cycling Campaign and the ‘Love Cycling, Go Dutch’ conferences have helped to put the Netherlands on the map as a country to learn from for the much-needed improvements to cycle infrastructure, parking, cycle education, etc., in this country. We pride ourselves on the number of references to the Netherlands in the (for this country) revolutionary ‘Mayor’s Vision for Cycling’ issued by London’s Mayor Boris Johnson in March 2013. This plan has set an example for the rest of the country’s Cycle Revolution. Other Dutch consultancy companies have now also become more and more active in this market. Witteveen+Bos are, for example, also working on opening a presence here. This is obviously not all down to our work directly, but I think we have helped to pave the way as the British Cycle revolution took off.
A nice example of Dutch companies working together in this is Abellio, which has also launched its Bike&Go scheme (modelled to our Dutch OV-fiets). Falco (cycle parking facilities) will now provide their cycle parking facilities for its concessions around the country (including the whole of Scotland).
Voluntary group working to make cycling in Greater Manchester quicker, safer, easier and more enjoyable: