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Everyone knows them: the white route signs with green numbers. Not surprising, because in 2024 there will be around 9.500 cycling junctions in the Netherlands.

The cycling junction network in the Netherlands has become an indispensable part of the landscape. What once started in Belgian Limburg in 1995 has rapidly developed into an extensive and ingenious system that covers the entire Netherlands. The network, which now consists of 9.500 junctions and 34.500 kilometers of cycle routes, was introduced in the Netherlands in Central Limburg in 1999. This year, 25 years later, marks a quarter of a century of growth and development of the junction network in the Netherlands.

“The fact that the rollout of cycling junctions across the Netherlands started in Hart van Limburg is a good thing. At the time, there was some hesitation in many Dutch regions, but the Central Limburg Region dared to take the step and embraced junction cycling. And look at the great success now. Our North and Central Limburg Route Office ensures that the network here is spick and span – the basis for many satisfied cyclists. Together with the National Cycling Platform, we are committed to ensuring that cyclists can enjoy the Netherlands Cycling Country indefinitely.”

The concept of cycling junctions offers cyclists the opportunity to create their own routes by cycling from junction to junction. This approach has significantly changed cycling culture in the Netherlands and promoted cycling as a recreational activity. According to research by Kien in 2021, 54% of Dutch people who cycle for pleasure use the junctions, which amounts to approximately 6 million people. The junction networks are rated with an average score of 7,9, which indicates a strong appreciation among users.

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Eric Nijland, director of Fietsplatform, emphasizes the continued commitment to quality and development: “With our advisory role, we contributed to the creation of an impressive nationwide network that is highly appreciated and intensively used by cyclists. And now we are still working in collaboration with the regions to maintain and continue the success.” It is clear that the networks are an important part of the national cycling infrastructure, with each of the 37 regional networks managed by various provincial or regional route agencies.

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bicycle junction
Photo: Bicycle platform

In addition to the junction networks, there are also Long Distance Cycling Routes (LF routes) that are more suitable for cycling holidays. The flexibility of the system makes it possible to easily switch between these two types of routes, giving cyclists the choice between day trips and longer journeys.

However, the Dutch cycling landscape continues to evolve. The construction of new paths and roads, the expansion of industrial estates and residential areas, and changing cycling habits require constant attention to keep cycling safe and attractive. In response to this, Fietsplatform is working with regional partners on a new quality framework for the future.

The celebration of 25 years of cycling junctions will be extra emphasized this year with a campaign on nederlandfietsland.nl, the public website of Bicycle platform. Cyclists are encouraged to share their experiences, and there are special events and prizes, such as a night away in Central Limburg and a special 25 km route in honor of the anniversary.

The junction network is an example of Dutch innovation in the field of recreational cycling infrastructure and remains an essential part of the national identity as a cycling country. With continuous developments and the pursuit of quality maintenance, the network is ready to play a key role in Dutch recreation and tourism for many years to come.

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