On Friday April 26th, the Dutch Cycling Embassy played host to studentes and leaders from the Philippines.
As sister city to the municipality of Haarlemmermeer—the site of Schiphol Airport—a youth exchange has taken place between the two regions for more than 25 years. Each spring, over a three week period, a group of Dutch youth (aged 16 to 23 years old) stay with host families in Cebu City, second largest metropolitan region in the country, to participate in social projects, and then return the favour by hosting their counterparts in the Netherlands a few weeks later.
As a way to introduce the students to the Dutch lifestyle, organizers planned an entire day around the bicycle, learning more about the policies and planning that helped facilitate their love of life on two wheels.
After a 45-minute presentation by the Dutch Cycling Embassy’s Chris Bruntlett, they discussed in more detail the successes (and mistakes) of the Netherlands as a cycling nation, the specific challenges faced in Cebu City, and what simple actions they could take to start the long journey to becoming more bike-friendly.
From there, the youth travelled back to Haarlemmermeer, where they were to take a real-life traffic test—as 200,000 Dutch students do each year—with those successfully passing the test receiving a certificate.
We enjoyed hosting these students, and answering their pertinent questions. We hope they bring a bit of Dutch-inspired thinking back home with them, to make the streets of Cebu more welcoming to the bicycle.