How the shortest highway of the Netherlands disappeared


Or: the return of the city moat of Utrecht.

Mark Wagenbuur has a video up that explains how the city of Utrecht wanted to replace the old city moat with a ring road in the 1970s, and how this plan met with vehement protests, so much so that only a small part of the road was actually ever built—nicknamed the Shortest Motorway in the Netherlands. Forty years on that road is being ripped out again, to be replaced by the water that once flowed there.

Wagenbuur is that odd duck, a cycling activist in the Netherlands, so he says things like, “it is clear that heavy motorized traffic simply does not belong here” without explaining why this apparently clear thing is so clear (the cyclirati know why—because cars are Evil). But he forgets to mention that since the mid-1990s, the years of heavy river flooding, giving the Dutchman his water back has become very fashionable. You have to wonder what marvellous things a new old brook, canal or moat can do to property prices, and whether this influenced Utrecht’s decision in any way.

Nevertheless, Wagenbuur’s videos come as highly recommended as ever.

(Source video: YouTube)


  1. Alison says:

    I live not far from the area mentioned at the beginning and end, and I do agree with him that the heavy motorized traffic doesn’t belong there. It’s a very attractive area and the addition of major traffic would be too far into the old historic city center.

  2. […] other day I saw this video thanks to the 24oranges blog. I know the areas being discussed, but didn’t realize that the area first mentioned had been […]

  3. Branko Collin says:

    Alison has some additional photos on her blog, well worth checking out.

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