Vancouverites “going Dutch”

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The Dutch Cycling Embassy visited Vancouver on October 5th and October 6th.

Following up on this recently published newsitem about the Dutch Cycling Embassy participating in the economic trade mission to Canada we hereby update you about our visit to Vancouver. The theme of the trade mission was “Resilient Cities”, the mission was being organized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

A warm welcome was given to us by Mr. Gert Heijkoop, the Dutch consul-general in Vancouver. Being an active cyclist himself, Mr. Heijkoop is extremely enthousiastic and pro-active to further improve the bikeability of Vancouver.

After a general briefing of doing business in West Canada and how to best cooperate with the lokal stakeholders the local situation of critical infrastructure in Metro Vancouver was presented by Proffesor Lokman from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

The morning was spent cycling with the founders of Modacity, Chris and Melissa Bruntlett. They promote multi-modal transportation worldwide, using writing, photography, film, and the power of social media. Together, they now strive to educate people and cities about the inherent benefits of moving away from a car-centric transportation model, to a more inclusive one that is accessible to people of all ages, abilities, and economic means. Promoting the public health, environmental and social benefits of walking, cycling and public transit, their goal is to improve on the great strides already made in many cities, creating a more open and welcoming environment for residents and visitors alike.

Two representatives of the City of Vancouver joined in on the tour, Mr. Dale Bracewell, Manager Transportation Planning and Mrs. Kati Tamashiro, Senior Transportation Planning Engineer. Mrs. Polly Leger, reporter at CBC news interviewd the Director of the Dutch Cycling Embassy, Mrs. Mirjam Borsboom, while cycling. Click here to listen to the CBC podcast. (Dutch Cycling Embassy item starts at 02:18:00)

Chris and Melissa showed us the cycling culture of Vancouver. We got bicycles from Vancouvers community public bike share program called Mobi. For more info on Mobi bikes, visit their website.

For lunch we were invited at the residence of the Dutch Consul-General Mr. Heijkoop. Vancouver City Planner Gil Kelley and Chief Resiliency Officer Katie McPherson joined, together with representatives of the cities of Richmond and Surrey and the port of Vancouver.

During the afternoon we’ve met several stakeholders that are involved with cycling within Metro Vancouver. For example HUB Cycling, a charitable non-profit organization, that aims to improve cycling conditions in Metro Vancouver. But also TransLink, Metro Vancouver's transportation network and the City of Vancouver.

In cooperation with Modacity we hosted a Public Event in the evening themed: Can Vancouver "Go Dutch"? With inspiring presentations by Mirjam Borsboom and Chris and Melissa Bruntlett, over 100 guests were informed about cycling in the Netherlands as well as cycling in Vancouver. A lively panel discussion concluded a fruitful day. 

The next morning, the City of Vancouver invited the Dutch Cycling Embassy to their office to further discuss the collaboration between both organisations. Mr. Scott Edwards, Mr. Menno Schielein and Mr. Robert Pennings presented to us the results of the Mobi bicycle sharing project. Results that put a smile on their faces since the numbers of Mobi bicycle use are extremely positive. We’ve discussed the situation in the Netherlands, especially the experience of dockless bikesharing within the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam and shared our best and worst practices.

These two days with the ‘Vancouverites’ were very inspiring and helpful to further cooperate to improve the bikeability of Vancouver. Would you like to know more about our mission to Canada? Please sent an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request more information. 

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