Case Study

To bike or not to bike: how economy connects with Natura 2000 beauty

Contact name

Paul Rutten

Institution name


Region & country

The Netherlands, Texel


By increasing understanding of the value of recreational infrastructure in Natura 2000 sites in Texel and our financial situation, we were able to raise finance for the maintenance and recovery of our bicycle network from the municipality.

The use of bicycle paths has changed a lot.

Paul Rutten

Current state of the bicycle path is not as desired

Paul Rutten

Background of the project

• Texel’s economy heavily depends on tourism
• Biking is popular and Staatsbosbeheer (the Dutch National Forestry service that I work for, ‘SBB’ for short) owns significant parts of the cycling infrastructure
• SBB is only financed to manage Natura 2000 site’s nature and basic infrastructure, such as walking trails
• Texel used to have a first class bicycle infrastructure, but over the last 10 years we have not been able to maintain quality because of our financial situation
• The support base for SBB and Natura 2000 was decreasing as a result

Low quality of bicycle infrastructure due to limited funds.

Solution and actions taken

• Starting a communication ‘campaign’
• Encouraging the municipality to cover the costs for infrastructure
• Allowing the municipality to collect parking fees on our parking lots

• Starting a lobby inside the municipality and among entrepreneurs
• Getting the communication ‘right’: we teamed up with the local press and got everybody laughing about a 1st of April joke, which got things started
• Negotiation, political debates, press articles, pressure from entrepreneurs and personal efforts lead to increased understanding;
• Finally, all political parties voted for the proposal.

Other institutions or parties involved

See actions to reach solution.


The municipality voted to finance the bicycle infrastructure and covers costs from parking fees. We are preparing the first major recovery operation for the infrastructure.


• Limited support base: it was more convenient to believe we did something wrong than it was to contribute financially.
• Limited knowledge about our financial situation.

Lessons learned

Communication and support base is everything. In the Netherlands we say: “gelijk hebben is niet hetzelfde als gelijk krijgen”. It means something like: you won’t reach your goal by having the right arguments. You also need to move people (and their feelings).

Contact name

Paul Rutten

Institution name



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