Innovation / Study Tour / Urban Mobility Design

Study Trip to Utrecht: Inspiring the Future of Cycling in Burgwedel 

Mobycon intern, Birte Harwart, had the opportunity to accompany a delegation from Burgwedel on a Study Tour to Utrecht. Mobycon offers Study Tours as a way to not only observe but actively engage with the proven strategies that have reshaped urban spaces. The goal of the trip: draw inspiration from the Netherlands to help the group improve their own regions’ design.

For about a month now, I’ve been an intern at Mobycon in Delft, supporting the international team for the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Swziterland). My name is Birte, and when I’m not cycling through the Netherlands, I’m studying Mobility and Infrastructure in Karlsruhe. So far, I’ve gained some experience in office work, but practical experiences tend to stick better in memory. That’s why I was excited to have the opportunity to accompany a delegation from Burgwedel (Region Hannover) on a study trip to the City of Utrecht. 

The goal of the group: to learn from the Netherlands and gather new inspirations for their region. Thanks to the Dutch Cycling Embassy and Mobycon, the group was able to explore the city and its surroundings on foot and by bicycle. The delegation consisted of people from various backgrounds: local politics, civil society, research, and planning, all of whom want to make a difference in Burgwedel. We used the days not only to collect impressions from Utrecht but also to discuss regional problems together, away from the political everyday life. 

Utrecht Study Tour group exploring the city by foot.

To get a first impression of Utrecht, Mobility Advisor Daan Butterman led us on a guided tour around the train station on the first day. The tranquility and, of course, the many bicycles immediately impressed us, especially under the radiant sunshine. The highlight was the largest bicycle parking garage in the Netherlands; some from the group even had the opportunity to ride through the parking garage with a rental bike. 

Utrecht Study Tour group visits a bicycle parking garage.

The next day, there were various presentations about cycling policy and planning the cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands. Senior Mobility Advisor Robin van der Griend provided valuable insights where he spoke about how Dutch cycling solutions could be transferred to the rural region of Burgwedel. The participants were excited about the many examples and engaged in a lively discussion, which unfortunately was interrupted by the upcoming bike tour. The bike tour went to the suburb of Houten and left a lasting impression on all of us, despite the typical Dutch drizzle. Especially impressive was the bicycle highway connecting Houten with Utrecht. One section of the route stayed particularly in my memory where some houses were only accessible via the bicycle highway, something that doesn’t exist (yet) in Germany. Over coffee in a relaxed atmosphere, all participants exchanged informally. Many took advantage of the positive group dynamics to speak openly about societal and political obstacles in the region, as well as personal concerns. 

Robin van der Griend speaks about how Dutch cycling solutions could be transferred to rural regions.

Of course, everyone is aware that Burgwedel is not Utrecht, but the days gave the impression that many had an ‘aha’ moment and recognized that the bicycle is a sustainable means of transport for the region. I enjoyed accompanying the group, and it was very enriching to meet passionate people who are striving to improve mobility sustainably in their region. 

Blog post written by: Birte Harwart

Interested in going on a study tour with Mobycon? Reach out here!

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