Industrial Designer Jelle Zijlstra was thinking:
Why is parking cars so well arranged (in the Netherlands there are about 21 million parking spots for 7 million cars) while your bicycle is destined to be locked to a lamppost or fence when you have no safe place for it at home? I started to make a design for a bicyclelocker or bicyclebox that would be able to survive the streets of Rotterdam. This was in 1994. I wanted it to look indestructible and no-nonsense like the harbourcity Rotterdam itself. I guess I succeeded!"
After building two prototypes for a pilotproject in Utrecht, things went fast for the Fietshangar.
"I showed my design to all the manufacturers of streetfurniture in the Netherlands, but they weren't interested. Fortunately there was an experimental project in Utrecht with a budget for building prototypes so I could prove the reliability of my design. Heijmerink/Wagemakers contributed a lot to the engineering and the detailing of the design. Meanwhile in Rotterdam, residents in the city centre wanted to get there hands on some Fietshangars after they heared about it. They convinced the municipality to finance six Fietshangars and rent the places out to the users. These are still in use today! The model of the city renting places to users is also still in use and works very well. A positive side effect is that many new users buy a new bicycle right after they get access to their Fietshangar!"
Demand for Fietshangars is still very big in Rotterdam, there is even a waiting list because the city's budgets are limited. Cities like Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Nijmegen, Sittard, Schiedam, Vlaardingen, Woerden, Utrecht and even London followed the Rotterdam example. At this moment there are hundreds of Fietshangars in use in the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and in the Czech Replublic. In 2010 the design was further improved by making flatpack transport possible. Now it can be easily assembled on location. By now the Fietshangar has many look-alikes but there is only one original ... Fietshangar!
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