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June 5, 2018

A Week of Great Ideas from the Netherlands

By: Michael Andersen, local innovation staff writer

The parking garage at Amsterdam Centraal train station.
The parking garage at Amsterdam Centraal train station.

Welcome to the Netherlands: 17 million people, 22.5 million bicycles.

From now ’til Friday, a squad from PeopleForBikes is learning about Utrecht (the country’s second-largest metro area, it has about the same population as Wichita) and Amsterdam (the country’s largest, it about the population as San Antonio). We’re joined by 30 smart Americans, mostly from cities in our Big Jump Project, who are also looking to bring home ideas for using biking and bike infrastructure to make cities better.

The delegates include elected officials, city staffers, community nonprofit and foundation leaders and others from Austin, Tucson, Memphis, Fort Collins, Providence and Northwest Arkansas.


Each evening, I’ll be trying to pull some thoughts together into a post on this blog about one idea or another.

These days, lots of countries around the world have great bike infrastructure and culture worth studying: DenmarkSpainChinaColombiaTaiwanCanadaMexico, even our beloved United States. But the fact is that no one anywhere has perfected it like the Dutch. This country has plenty of flaws, and so do its streets. But if you want a full vision of how building biking into daily life can make cities richer, fairer, stronger and more pleasant, there’s no better place to spend a little time.

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