The Cycling Embassy of Denmark, the world’s first cycling embassy, will celebrate its 5 year birthday on May 12th. The day will be marked with a big reception for members and collaborators on Thursday June 26th. The Embassy’s Chairman, Troels Andersen, looks back at 5 fantastic years full of activity.
The world’s first Cycling Embassy
The Cycling Embassy of Denmark was officially launched at the international cycle conference ‘Velo-city’ in Brussels on May 12th 2009. At that time there were 13 member organisations spread out across regions, private companies and NGOs. Today, membership has doubled and the Embassy has expanded its activities.
“It started as an idea of having a cluster of businesses for those who make money from bicycle traffic. But it quickly became something that included public institutions and a variety of NGOs. The Cycling Embassy is mainly a network of key people, and we are what we create together,” says The Cycling Embassy’s Chairman, Troels Andersen.
A strong, Danish cycling brand
The goal of the Cycling Embassy is to make Denmark, one of the world’s leading cycling countries, the go-to place for knowledge, discussion and innovation when it comes to the subject of cycling. The Cycling Embassy wants to contribute to the future of cycling across the globe through sharing knowledge, communication and the development of Danish cycling culture.
“We really want lots more cycling projects that develop in Denmark and are spread around the world. It is a pleasure to see that Danish bicycle lanes with physical separation can be sold as a quality product under the brand Copenhagen Lane. And the ‘cycle barometer’ was founded in Odense and now travels the world – more of that!” he adds with a laugh.
Study trips, masterclasses and much more
The promotion of Danish cycling culture takes place on many fronts. The Cycling Embassy has, amongst other things, been a regular guest at the annual Velo-city conference where each year they hand out their ‘Leadership Award for Cycling Promotion’. In 2012, they published a book, ‘Collection of Cycle Concepts’, with knowledge on everything from how to create a bicycle friendly infrastructure to combination trips and cycling campaigns designed to get people into the saddle.
Throughout its 5 years, the Cycling Embassy has received hundreds of visitors from near and far who come to Denmark to experience our cycle culture and, not least, discover the secrets behind it. Politicians and local government officials from some of the aspiring American cycling cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco have participated in the recurring study tours the Cycling Embassy arrange in conjunction with the American organisation People for Bikes.
The Embassy’s members have also given advice to a variety of cities and taken part in workshops in Shanghai and Buenos Aires – and many places in-between. Finally, the Cycling Embassy has just completed its first masterclass for the international organisation EMBARQ. Interest from abroad is enormous, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing.
“We have only just started. Denmark’s value as a cycling country is highly underrated – many foreign cities are desperate to find the secret that combines growth and a sustainable city. And if we really are the happiest people in the world, they think that the bicycle must be a part of what makes us that!” says Troels Andersen.