Cycling for Everyone
Cycling for Everyone

Royal Honour for ProRail’s Folkert Piersma

30 September 2021

ProRail Project Manager Folkert Piersma receives Royal Honour for his pioneering work in bicycle parking.

Former ProRail Project Manager Folkert Piersma went to Utrecht’s Railway Museum last week to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Dutch Cycling Embassy, the knowledge and expertise network on Dutch cycling culture. Or so he thought. Surprised, he found there, apart from members of this network and former colleagues of ProRail, Mayor Peter Snijders of his hometown Zwolle. To his even greater surprise, he had a royal honour in store for him. Folkert Piersma may now call himself ‘Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau’.

In Folkert’s working life bicycles have been a underlying thread. At NS and ProRail, among others, he developed into an internationally respected visionary and expert in the field of bicycle parking at stations. Even after he left ProRail at the end of last year as Project Manager of the Bicycle Parking Programme at Stations, Folkert is still the ambassador, source of information and inspiration in this field.

Pioneering Role
Folkert played a pioneering role in the expansion, quality improvement and sustainability of bicycle parking facilities at railway stations in the Netherlands and far beyond. He actively sought cooperation with the manufacturing industry and parties such as the Cyclists’ Union and the Dutch Cycling Embassy. He contributed to the bicycle-train combination becoming known as a sustainable mobility combination and marked the changing face of the station environment in the Netherlands. He is also responsible for the fact that the parking facilities are now spacious, light, user-friendly and free for the first 24 hours. The Netherlands is an international leader in this field and Folkert Piersma was at the cradle of this development. Many of his innovative and sustainable ideas have been followed up nationally and internationally.

Tireless Dedication
At the end of last year Folkert retired after 40 years of dedication to the railways and many people said goodbye to him during a digital gathering. According to Astrid Bunt, Director of ProRail Stations, the royal decoration underlines the enormous appreciation for his achievements. “I can fully endorse this. I know Folkert as a committed and passionate colleague who made his contribution with dedication and humour. It is fantastic that it has pleased the king to grant Folkert a royal honour for his unbridled commitment to pioneering, innovative merits for qualitatively sustainable bicycle parking at railway stations in the Netherlands and far beyond. You don’t get an award like that for nothing.

Customisation and Support
Customisation and social support were his starting points. Among other things, he adapted bicycle parking facilities to different types of bicycles, played a major role in the development of new types of bicycle stands and developed a digital referral system. He also campaigned for free and guarded parking of bicycles. His book ‘Fietssparkeren bij stations: 20 jaar ontwikkeling, ontwerp en realisatie’ is a source of inspiration for policymakers and designers at home and abroad.

For more photos from the DCE’s 10 year anniversary, click here.
To learn more about ProRail’s bike parking program, click here.

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