Monday, 5 April 2010
The Knooppuntennetwerk is a network of numbered points on recreational cycle routes which is spreading across the Netherlands. It was the idea of a Belgian mine engineer called Hugo Bollen. After the coal mines closed in the area one after another he took on the task of designing a recreational cycle route system in his province of Limburg. The first network was created there in 1995.
Since then, it has spread within Flanders and been adopted by many Dutch provinces, starting mainly in the south.
These networks don't necessarily give the shortest routes between two points, nor the smoothest cycle paths. Their intention is to provide a pleasant countryside route for touristic purposes. They have been a huge success. Brabant spent between half and one million euros on putting up the signs (the cycle paths already existed) and has claimed a benefit of 13 million euros per year from cycle tourism as a result.
The video, made by Mark Wagenbuur, shows how the new signage and network is used.
Of course any signage, however good, doesn't tell you where to ride to or why you want to ride there. We use the network to some extent on our cycling holiday routes, but the knooppuntennetwerk in Drenthe is not yet complete, and they've not started in Groningen. In any case, not all the routes or destinations that we like to include on our routes will ever be on this network. As a result, while it is a very good system we can't rely solely on it in order to plan routes. However, if you come along to Assen on holiday you'll make use of all the types of signs shown in the video. There are a few examples on the blog of what our holidays are like.