When it comes to study tours, you don’t want to learn from a local. Your purpose is to see a city like Amsterdam or Utrecht in perspective, to gather transferable lessons, and later be able to articulate to skeptics those particular advances that can be achieved in your own city. We have provided expert tours to numerous visitors to the Netherlands (pictured are politicians and public officials visiting with the Cycling Promotion Foundation of Australia) and have experience leading European study tours since 2010 throughout Greece, Italy, France and Spain. Let us provide everything from logistics to guiding, or simply work with you to provide an itinerary with learning objectives. Our focus is on transferable lessons that can work in your context, based on a comparative approach to histories and theories of bicycle urbanism.
Sample 4-Day Itinerary
Project / Location / Leaning Objective
- Mahlerplein-Stalling by StudioSKm (location) to understand integrated transport in the Randstad conurbation and its influence on local and regional planning.
- Zuidas (location) to see how cycling allows a business park to spread out and therefore incorporate 24hr functions other than office blocks.
- Funenpark Municipality (location) to see an example of a “car free” residential development and understand how the “rule” against indefensible ground planes can be broken, with the bike’s help.
- Bijlmermeer/“Bijlmer” (location) to see how cycling can partially redeem a worst-case example of post-war “Corbusian” housing.
- Green bands between Zuidas & Bijlmer (location) to understand the importance of not developing land outside the bicycling catchment of a train station.
- Nescio Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre architects (location) to note the separation between bikes and pedestrians; appreciate the scale of unsung bike infrastructure in NL; learn about contemporary architectural aesthetic approaches, and; understand the strategic advantage that non-vehicular bridges give to bicycle transport.
- Amsterdam Centraal “shared space” (location) to witness continued 15kph movement at an intersection that would be frozen if the presence of cars required there to be traffic signals; learn the concepts of swarming and automatic lane formation, and; learn the benefits and limitations of the shared space concept of Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman.
- Bike/Pedestrian tunnel beneath Amsterdam Centraal (location) for an understanding of contexts that call for curb separation between pedestrians and cyclists; to see a good example of public art being used to ennoble a space; and to hear the effects on aural comfort of acoustic dampening within tunnels.
- Bike tunnel through Rijksmuseum (location) to see an example of a bike route through a building and to learn the story of flashpoint battles between conservative politicians and bicycle advocates who fought to have this bike route preserved.
- Temporary bicycle parking station, Amsterdam Centraal (location), to learn why this is only a temporary structure (an 18K station is being constructed beneath Amsterdam Centraal); appreciate the efficiency of the scissoring floor plate, and ;see how the facetted floor surface keeps bicycles standing in place.
- De Negen Straatjes, Raadhuisstraat & Spuistraat (location) to understand the three classifications of streets (those where cars are guests, those where bikes are guests, and those with cycle tracks to accommodate both); witness the “naked intersections” of Amsterdam’s canal district, and; understand the threat posed to cycling, long term, by Amsterdam’s new hidden garages.
- Lo Minck Factory (location) to meet the designers/makers of: conveyor stair tracks; brush-lined stair tracks; automated storage and retrieval systems for bikes; gas strut bike hoists and various custom bike storage systems.
- Dafne Schippers bridge by NEXT architects and others (location) to understand the complexities of hybrid projects (in this case a school, bike bridge and park); appreciate an historical echo with 1920s visionary proposals for cars, and; see the competitive advantage given to cycling by non-vehicular waterway crossings.
- Educatorium building by OMA (location) to see: high capacity bike parking; how the ramp to the parking sets up the geometry of the building; the advantage of weather protection and passive surveillance of bicycle parking, and understand the fuss about this world leading architectural firm.
- Faculty of science building by Herman Hertzberger (location) for similar lessons to the Educatorium building.
- New Town of Houten (location) to see a pioneering example of bike centric new town planning with cars forced to a ring road while bicycles can cross the centre; to draw comparisons with contemporaneous new towns, like Milton Keynes, and; to consider the vast scope for improvement if Houten weren’t also designed for the car.
Rotterdam and Nijmegen
- Maastunnel (location) to see: how bicycles can be safely carried on escalators; how cyclists have their own designated tunnel under a river, and; appreciate the way contemporary (for the time) “streamline” architecture was used to lionise cycling.
- Cube House (location) to see how bike ramps provide an alternative to stairs and lifts for vertical circulation within a multi-storey building.
- Rotterdam Centraal Train Station (location) to see a simple yet large example of an integrated transport hub in the Randstad conurbation.
- Nijmegen Noord (location) to see a contemporary example of Dutch New Town design that incorporates driving but emphasises cycling.
- Dutch Bicycle Centre (location) to develop an awareness of the full range of human powered mobility solutions for people including those with limited use of their bodies.