The Netherlands, then and now

Biking in the Netherlands is like a dream: physically separated, perfectly paved bike ways take you all around and make you feel safe while on the road. Children, workers, and retirees commute by bike and they are promoting it more and more.

However, it wasn’t always like that. Back in the 50s and 60s most drove a car, older buildings were destroyed in order to make way for big avenues, pollution and accidents were on the rise.

So, how did they go from then to now?.

I’m sure there were a number of reasons for this radical change, but that first spark was the fact that society realized the number of accidents, dead people, and specially killed children was outrageous. And so they began campaigning: activists demonstrated and occupied in favor of life, everybody’s lives.

Eventually, they got funding in order to design safe urban planning. And they kept demonstrating and pushing towards an increase in bike facilities, lowering speed limits, and so on.

Not to mention the 1973 oil crisis, which multiplied the price of oil and made clear that transportation had to be diversified.

And so now, biking is an essential part of Dutch culture, and increasingly the whole world.

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