Amsterdam wasn’t built in a day - lessons for Galway from Dutch bike culture

Adrian Palm, Dutch ambassador.

Adrian Palm, Dutch ambassador.

The Dutch Ambassador to Ireland will be one of the guest speakers at a lunchtime webinar on Thursday from 1pm to 2pm organised by Galway Cycling Campaign.

Speaking in advance of the webinar, His Excellency, Adriaan Palm, Ambassador at The Netherlands Embassy to Ireland said that the Netherlands has more bikes than people, yet it was not always this way.

Ambassador Palm advises Galway businesses of the benefit of being more cycle friendly.

“Cycling improves our air quality and physical health but also improves the attractiveness and accessibility of our cities, villages and towns and encourages people to spend more time there. There is substantial evidence that improved cycling infrastructure increases local footfall and makes cities more attractive and livable,” said the Ambassador.

As more people are living their lives more locally due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and more people are switching to cycling as per government advice, the Ambassador points out that there is opportunity for retailers and local businesses to support local customers and communities by providing quality and accessible bike parking.

“The recent surge in cycling in Ireland should be capitalised on as an excellent opportunity for businesses and the cycling community to work together for their mutual benefit. Bike parking at your shop door might actually create a boost in sales and employment,” he said.

The Ambassador advises Galway businesses to ensure that bike parking is accessible and sheltered.

“People cycling have a few key requirements: they want to be able to cycle quickly and safely, and they want to be able to park their bike close to their destination, and somewhere dry if possible. The good news is that parking for people cycling only requires a fraction of the space as for cars. If those basic requirements are met, you’ll see more customers, more frequently. Simply put: with safe and attractive bicycle parking, as an entrepreneur you are creating more options for your customer to visit, and thus increase your sales.”

He warned that people have to realise there is no "one size fits all".

“So you have to measure, experiment and adapt to local circumstances, and have all stakeholders involved. For example you can use moveable bicycle parking decks, and install in one car parking space, just test to see whether that works and reduces traffic bottle necks.”

The Ambassador concluded on a hopeful note.

“I’ve seen it being used in my home town in the Netherlands, and I’m sure it can be used here in Ireland too.”

Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin Town, will join Ambassador Palm for the lunchtime webinar on Bike Parking and the Bottom Line.

The final two guest speakers are Chris Bruntlett from the Dutch Cycling Embassy and co-author of the book, “Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality”, and Clodagh Colleran from the Development Studies Association of Ireland at Trinity College Dublin.

To register for free, visit


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