Arnhem is one of the two host cities of Velo-City 2017. I have written quite a lot about Nijmegen, the other host city, on my blog in the past, but I only really wrote about Arnhem once before. Today I would like you to get to know Arnhem a little bit better. Therefore, a city portrait in this week’s post and video.
Arnhem is the capital of the province of Gelderland. It is a very old city, which developed from a settlement established 3,500 years ago. Arnhem now lies on the Rhine river. Interestingly that was not the case for the early settlement. The city wasn’t founded on the banks of the river, the river meandered towards it. Arnhem was heavily damaged in World War II. I wrote about that part of Arnhem’s history in my earlier post. About 152,000 people currently live in the municipality of Arnhem. That may sound small to some, but it makes it the 16th largest municipality in the Netherlands. When it comes to transportation there are two remarkable facts about Arnhem. Since 1949, Arnhem has had a Trolleybus system. It is the only city in the Netherlands that kept its Trolleybuses. In November 2015, when the completely transformed train station was reopened, the station got renamed Central Station. That makes Arnhem the only Dutch city outside the Randstad conurbation and one of the just 6 Dutch cities in total, to have a central station.
Cycling to the city centre is considered the most convenient means of transport by Arnhem city centre visitors.
This year’s motto of Velo-City is “the Freedom of Cycling”. So how much freedom is there to cycle in Arnhem? When you cycle around in Arnhem you’ll notice there is a lot of dedicated cycling infrastructure. The network of cycle ways next to major roads is connected. The main paths are wide enough and paved with red asphalt or sometimes tiles. There are bi-directional cycleways, protected intersections, waiting time indicators for traffic signals, bicycle parking racks, a large integrated bicycle parking facility in the central station, car free streets in the city centre and 30km/h residential zones. All the things that you can expect in any major Dutch city.
When visitors of the Arnhem inner-city were recently asked to rate the ways to reach that centre they gave cycling the highest marks: 8.3 out of ten, closely followed by public transport (8.1). Getting there by car was far less appreciated with only 6.2 points. Finally, parking a car was considered less than satisfactory with only 5.8 out of 10. (From: ‘de Arnhemse binnenstad binnen bereik; Arnhem: bereikbaar, leefbaar en gastvrij’, March 2017)
That means Arnhem’s visitors are quite positive about cycling, but the city didn’t reach the finals in the 2016 “Cycling City of the Netherlands” competition. The jury of the competition didn’t feel cycling in Arnhem was special enough to make the city eligible for that title.
(photo) Part of Arnhem and its surroundings is quite hilly. The e-bike helps people to make cycling more convenient.