Arnhem and Nijmegen submit bid book for Velo-city 2017, the world's largest cycling conference
During the conference, companies, knowledge institutes and governments will have the opportunity to share knowledge and to present bicycle-related projects from the region. In this way the cities, the region and The Netherlands want to position themselves as the number one bicycle country. The city winning the honour to organize the 2017 edition of Velo-city will be announced in December of this year.
Velo-city is the world’s biggest international cycling conference. More than 1,500 delegates visit the conference in Europe. The four days' event is organized by a different city every year. Once every two years, the conference is held in a European city. The other years in another part of the world. Delegates come together to discuss the latest cycling innovations and to share ideas and best practices for creating cycling-friendly cities. Next year the conference will be held in the French city of Nantes.
Arnhem and Nijmegen to profile themselves on the international market
It takes a lot of preparation to organize a conference like Velo-city. “But we get a lot in return” says Herman Kaiser, Mayor of Arnhem. “Velo-city is the ideal platform to show the rest of the world what kind of bicycle-related projects we are working on in the region. It generates a lot of media attention, which contributes to our regional branding. Besides, Velo-city attracts leading professionals in the cycling world. Visitors from the business community, knowledge institutes and governments all come together. These are potential future partners. In this way the conference can contribute to the realisation of cycling projects in our region. Finally, the region of Arnhem and Nijmegen has been working on projects that could be a great example to other European regions.
Arnhem-Nijmegen: a real cycling region
The municipalities of Arnhem and Nijmegen, in cooperation with other involved municipalities and the province of Gelderland are working on the construction of fast cycling routes: direct cycling routes with as little obstacles as possible and maximum priority for cyclists. Gazelle, one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in The Netherlands, is located in the region. Besides, the region is leading when it comes to the development of parking facilities for bicycles. “We want to show the international cycling community how much cycling is a part of our daily life”, says Hubert Bruls, Mayor of Nijmegen. “The Dutch cycle everywhere: to work, to school, to the shops. One of the reasons for this is our elaborate cycling infrastructure. The region often welcomes visitors from foreign delegations who wish to see how we do this. On the other hand, an international conference like Velo-city can also give us innovative ideas from the rest of the world.”
Both mayors hope to bring Velo-city to their cities by submitting the bid book. They have support from both the educational and business sector. The University of Applied Sciences of Arnhem and Nijmegen, the Radboud University, Royal Haskoning DHV, Arcadis and Alliander are all supporting the municipalities. Minister Schulz (Infrastructure and Environment), the ANWB, NBTC (Holland Marketing), NOC*NSF, Health Valley, Food Valley and the Euregion also wrote letters of intent to support the candidacy.
Theme ‘the Freedom of Cycling’
Cities putting themselves forward as candidate for organizing Velo-City normally tend to choose a central theme. Arnhem and Nijmegen opted for ‘the Freedom of Cycling’. Freedom knows many aspects and cycling is a great way to experience that freedom.