Bicycling : Policy in Perspective

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From outside, the European Union might seem like a homogenous set of countries which look the same, have the same culture and are ruled the same way. In reality, almost everything is different, including in mobility. Two European countries have been compared on a policy making level. The two countries are different are very different, in the Netherlands bicyclists are everywhere and the bicycle paths are ubiquitous, whereas in Belgium there are relatively few bicycle paths and even fewer bicyclists. When compared to the rest of the EU Belgium is further ahead then most. With the theory of Structuration, adapted to policy making rather then Social action Antwerp and Rotterdam are compared on a policy and governmental level. Since policy is made over years and implemented over even more years the history of both cities is also taken into account. Both cities are comparable, economically, relative importance in their countries and both are disected by a major river. The biggest cause of the difference in bicycle policy has been the involvement of the national government. Where the Dutch national government has had major influence on local politics from very early on, it was virtually absent when it comes to Belgium, the Antwerp municipal government has had to do most of the heavy lifting itself, with virtually no influence from the outside.
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