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.
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The less positive stuff What not to do if you want a cycling "revolution" - Long list of interventions and policies which are not helpful. Copy the best examples from the Netherlands - a short list summarising the above. Important to copy the best examples, not just anything "Dutch". Bear in mind that the Netherlands is not perfect. Shared Space - this much hyped idea simply does not work well. It disenfranchises the vulnerable and claims of safety are exaggerated. Don't confuse the concept with far more successful nearly car free streets. Shared Use Paths designed to be used by pedestrians and cyclists together. These rarely work well because the two user groups are too different and it leads to conflicts. They are not built in the Netherlands (but cycle access to pedestrianized zones is good). Strict (or presumed) liability - If you think this is an important part of why people cycle in the Netherlands then it is probably not what you think it is. Helmets - one of several ways of scaremongering about the supposed dangers of what is actually a very safe means of transport
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Experience for yourself how policy and infrastructure in Assen and Groningen have led to the high cycling modal share in this area:
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A cyclist in a cycling family living in the capital of the cycling province of the world's greatest cycling country.
I was born in the UK, lived for over 8 years in New Zealand and have lived in the Netherlands since 2007.
I organise cycling infrastructure study tours, run an online bicycle shop, arrange cycling holidays and write a popular blog about cycling.
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