Weekend Musing: Car Free Sundays – Dutch Style in 1973

Some fine people in Australia remind us today in a blog entitled Gizmodo about one of the many historic predecessors of the Car Free Day movement, more formally launched at an international conference in Toledo Spain in 1992 (see Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities) .  We need to keep an eye on those Dutch. They seem to be on to something.

Dutch Car Free Sunday 1973 - Pictures. Netherlands National Archive, Getty - www.gizmodo - small

 Car Free Sunday, Netherlands, 1973

 The Dutch Rode Horses On Their Highways During The 1970s Oil Crisis

 – Matt Novak, Gizmodo Australia, Dec. 13, 2014

The oil crisis of the 1970s meant that Americans had to wait in long lines to fill up their cars. But in the Netherlands, the government decided that the best way to conserve fuel was to ban cars for one day a week. How did people cope? They took their horses on the highway.

The Netherlands introduced “Car-Free Sunday” in November of 1973, taking nearly all of the nation’s three million private cars off the road. Some people rode bicycles, others took the bus. But still others rode horses.

Netherlands Car Free Sunday 1973 - Pictures. Netherlands National Archive, Getty - small

“Not only did they show once again what cities looked like without cars,” Bicycle Dutch writes. “They also made it possible that other forms of transportation, less oil dependent and in particular cycling, were seen as a viable option for every day transportation.”

– – – > Click here for full Gizmodo article with pictures from the Netherlands National Archive, Getty

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Editor comment:

And not to forget this is part and parcel of a cultural transition already in process in the Netherlands at the time, a country which we might also describe as a nation of largely car lovers/users but who were fed up with the abuses that cars bring with them in cities and beyond. To them, increasingly, the car was not the answer. It was the question.

 – – – > For more on Car Free Days in World Streets go to https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/

About Gizmodo

We’re obsessed with the gadgets, science and geek culture that change the way we live, work, love, eat, play, think and feel.  Gizmodo Australia covers local technology news with a team of award-winning local journalists, and localises the best posts from the US, making sure to eliminate what’s irrelevant for Aussies. If you do want to access the US site, you can go to us.gizmodo.com.

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About the editor

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton

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