Amersfoort is the second major city in the province of Utrecht. The city is growing rapidly and with its current 165,000 inhabitants Amersfoort is the 15th largest city in the Netherlands. To keep its new expansions accessible, the city is seriously investing in cycling. In 2016 Amersfoort wrote in its Cycling plan: “A population growth from 154,000 to 170,000 means 10% more bicycle movements in the city if bicycle use remains the same. In absolute terms, an 8%-point growth means an increase of more than 15%, which means 25% more bicycle movements in the city. This calls for significant measures. Not only to achieve this growth, but also, the existing cycling infrastructure needs to be updated to accomodate it and, for example, it also requires a provision of more bicycle parking facilities.”
Improving the cycling connections to and from Amersfoort-Vathorst is one of the measures to increase the accessibility of that new neighbourhood in the north-east of Amersfoort. The goal is not only to connect Vathorst to the centre of Amersfoort, but also to Nijkerk. Nijkerk is a historic town north-east of Amersfoort, directly on the other side of the provincial border in the province of Gelderland. Nijkerk proper has almost 30,000 inhabitants and it has a strong bond with Amersfoort. Borders often keep people apart, but this provincial border does not prevent many school children from Nijkerk to cycle to schools in Vathorst. That neighbourhood is expected to also have a population of 30,000 in 2030. In 2016, the council of the municipality of Amersfoort approved measures to make and keep Vathorst accessible. An important part of those measures, (which are also part of the aforementioned Amersfoort Cycling Plan, from March 2016) was the upgrade of the main cycle route from Amersfoort centre – via Vathorst – to Nijkerk.
There was one important missing link in this route, a railway to the north near the former village of Hooglanderveen (now part of the municipality of Amersfoort), could not be crossed. Once the cycling tunnel there was opened (on 26 November 2021) the entire route could be used, because all the other measures were much smaller. Most points of the to-do-list had been done when I filmed this route late August 2022, but not all. For this post I took stills from my video to show the current state of a number of these points:
To-do-list upgrade main cycle route Amersfoort Centre/Vathorst to Nijkerk