From 28-29 september 2018, VeloFinland (the National Bike Summit of Finland) took place in Turku!
Turku has a special history with cycling. Over 70 years ago, Turku was a real cycling city. During the years after, the use of the car exploded, thus drastically reducing the number of cycle paths and cyclists in the city. Over the last years, the city is investing in becoming more bicycle friendly again. "It is nice to see how Turku also applies the advice of a few years ago in practice", Herbert Tiemens states. In 2016 a ThinkBike workshop took place in Turku to which Mr. Tiemens contributed.
The Dutch Embassy in Finland was one of the partners of the organization of VeloFinland. In this way, the Dutch Embassy gained visibility and emphasized the importance of the Netherlands when discussing cycling.
Mr. Tiemens, Boardmember of the Dutch Cycling Embassy and Policy Advisor at the Province of Utrecht shared an interesting story about how bicycle data can be used to calculate the quality of life. His story was heard with great interest from the audience. In addition to the Dutch input, speakers from countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Slovakia addressed the audience. On behalf of the embassy, Raymond van Teeffelen was present who manned the Dutch stand with enthusiasm.
The participants in the event were very passionate about cycling in Finland and all were also determined to continue the upward trend in Finland. It was remarkable to hear from the participants and organization that in Finland there is also a decent group in society that actively opposes cycling. Especially between pedestrians and cyclists there is sometimes quite a lot of rivalry. Due to a lack of cycle paths they are often forced to share the pedestrian path. However, despite these type of bumps on the road, Finland is increasingly becoming a cycling country.