'Brussels streets becoming more like Dutch ones,' says EU Commissioner

'Brussels streets becoming more like Dutch ones,' says EU Commissioner
European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. Credit: Belga/John Thys

The streets of Brussels are becoming increasingly like Dutch ones, said the Dutch European Commissioner for the Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, who has been a great cycling fan since childhood.

In an interview with the Francophone newspaper La Libre Belgique, Timmermans expressed joy over the fact that cyclists are finally claiming their space in the Belgian capital – even though it is still plagued by "hellish" traffic.

"In the 1990s, I was the only cyclist on the Brussels streets almost every day. Today, the situation has changed completely," he said. "We were quite alone, and now there is a crazy crowd on bikes!"

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This slow development is a paradox in a country driven by a "love of cycling." In Belgium, "we live for cycling even if we do not have the respect of cyclists," he said, adding that it is the Belgian attachment to this sport that he will miss the most if he leaves the country.

"That is why I never used to understand why there were not more people going around town by bike, but the catch-up is huge," Timmermans added.

"Anno 2023, Brussels streets are looking more and more like those in the Netherlands. In my early years, it was often hell to get around here by bike, now the infrastructure is almost comparable to that in my native country."

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