Cycling for Everyone
Cycling for Everyone

Quarterly participant meeting Q1

8 March 2024

On February 28th, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO) hosted this year’s opening quarterly participant meeting at their beautiful Centre Court office building in The Hague. With natural rays of sunshine beaming through the building’s atrium, the venue offered an ideal place to reflect on the previous year and shed light on important activities for the Dutch Cycling Embassy (DCE), our network participants, and RVO in the coming year.

The occasion had three different themes, allowing both participants and non-participants of the DCE network to attend. These themes were the Alliance for Cycling and Walking Towards International Vitality and Empowerment (ACTIVE), DCE’s quarterly update for its participants, and a focus on RVO. Skadi Tirpak, as Managing Director of the DCE, welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the ACTIVE initiative session, which was hosted by Mirjam Borsboom from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) and Shelley Bontje from the DCE. ACTIVE workshops, a collaboration between I&W and RVO, had been introduced at the last quarterly meeting, but this meeting saw a focus on gauging opinions from attendees regarding initiatives in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

After a break for refreshments, Skadi proceeded to update the attendees on behalf of the DCE. This update encompassed a brief celebration marking the 12.5-year anniversary of the DCE, as well as an announcement regarding the forthcoming 2023 Annual Report, along with a recap of activities from previous years. Nicole Lolkema then talked through developments for Velo-city 2024 and outlined our plans for the event in Ghent, while Ruben Loendersloot, then provided an update on the board. To round off, Skadi returned to highlight upcoming activities for the year and welcomed two new interns to our team along with two new participants to our network: Jan-Albert de Leur from Provincie Noord-Holland and Teije Gorris from GO-bility.

Later in the meeting, attention shifted towards the sessions curated by RVO. The first session was an interactive engagement with RVO’s Business Development Coaches (BDC) hailing from five distinct regions: Central and Eastern Europe; Spain, Portugal, and France; Italy, Switzerland, and Austria; Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Peru; as well as the UK and Ireland. With the BDCs present in person, participants divided into groups to delve into discussions concerning business developments in their respective regions.

After individuals had the opportunity to interact with different BDCs, Lisa Haenitsch-Saxe from RVO’s International Clean Energy Partnership (ICEP) assumed control of proceedings. She introduced the RVO Export program and shared recent developments for 2024 concerning the cycling sector. Daphne Roelands, a BDC for the Nordics, elaborated on potential trading activities in the Nordic countries. Bart Hofenk then presented on partners in international business relevant to trade programs in the US bicycle sector, followed by Nils Steinhauser, who provided an overview of activities planned for Germany in 2024. As this well-attended session drew to a close, everyone’s focus shifted to networking, enjoying refreshments, and anticipating a promising year ahead for cycling.

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