The town of Houten is the current titleholder in the biennial election of the “best place to cycle in the Netherlands”. The town won the election organised by the Cyclists’ Union earlier this year and in 2008 as well.
Houten is proud of its title. There are signs in the town that read “Cycle City 2018”
In Houten everything seems to be designed for cycling. But that was not exactly what was behind the original plans. The object was to design a liveable town that kept the quality of life of the original village, while at the same time fulfilling the obligation imposed by the national government to offer a lot of new housing for people who couldn’t get a home in Utrecht. It was visionary to understand that designing a new town where transportation by private car would be most convenient would not lead to that liveable environment. Making cycling convenient was not a goal in itself, it was merely a means to get to that liveable town. That cycling is a huge contribution to a more liveable environment is something that many have come to understand in the Netherlands now. But still not everywhere and certainly not everywhere to the same extent. We see many regional differences in this country, when it comes to building an environment in which cycling is the natural choice for distances up to 10 to 15 kilometres.
Need to wear a suit for work? Why would that stop you cycling?
Men and women cycling in Houten. For work, for recreation, for shopping, for any reason.
On the occasion of the award I made a portrait of the extraordinary town of Houten, but the award ceremony was in January! That means the images were of a town in the cold winter. It looks nice, but wait until you see the town in Summer!