Monday 2 November 2009

Before and after in 's-Hertogenbosch

Another of Mark's videos, this time showing before and after views of the centre of 's-Hertogenbosch. Note how the city was once peaceful, how it became clogged with motor vehicles in the mid twentieth century, but how a second revolution returned the city to its people.

This type of transformation has been seen in cities all across the Netherlands. The car dominated spaces of the 1960s and 1970s are now pleasant places to be. Assen had a similar transformation, and perhaps most famously, so did Groningen.

Click here for more videos and photos showing how the Netherlands changed its streets twice in the 20th century.


  1. Whenever we suggest something like this shopkeepers howl that cars mean business, and that removing parking spaces or cars will kill their shops. Do you have examples in small towns and villages, along with data showing how it affected business? I've pointes out that in Stuttgart and Copenhagen this helped the shops, but they just say it's different in a village. Of course, if I show it works in a vilolage they will blame the hills, or the lunar cycle, or the wir pressure over the atlantic, but it's worth a try.

  2. Andy, it's really happened everywhere here in the Netherlands. Assen itself isn't all that big, just 65000 people, but the centre is like this, and thriving.

    All the surrounding villages are linked by excellent infrastructure such as this, this, this, this and this.

    Villages themselves tend to have treatments like this, or as seen in the video here.

    Cycling in the Netherlands is not just limited to a few "cycling cities".

  3. Excellent video displaying what Basil Fawlty would describe as "specialist subject: the bl**ding obvious".

    Sadly, not to the Brits, it ain't:

  4. Westfield: I think the answer is perhaps to show people evidence such as Mark's video and ask them whether they think the "before" or the "after" views are the ones they prefer.

    It was more difficult for the Dutch as they had not got examples to follow.

  5. Absolutely, David. I agree.
    The example's there for all to see.
    And they still don't (want to) get it.
    As you've often said in other blog posts, they should:
    "Stop making excuses".


  6. Andy, it depends on the nature of the shops. Assen used to have a number of furniture stores in the town centre which have all moved to an industrial estate; the latest one hast just announced that it cannot afford to stay within the pedestrian zone as loading and unloading is made impossible. And the town council has just given in to a number of shopkeepers in the centre who were to lose parking spaces in front of their shops (David: Brink & Brinkstraat). No figures but it's clear that shops catch more customers walking by than driving by.

  7. York is heading that way, with numerous park and ride schemes, but the cycle lanes are not up to Dutch standards (yet).

    I think the term is, 'Slowly slowly, catchy monkey'


All comments are moderated so your comment may not appear on the blog immediately after you send it. Sensible debate is encouraged. Please do not waste my time with spam or trolling as such posts are always deleted.