The Singel/CU2030 project in Utrecht is a massive regeneration initiative that has involved restoring a medieval canal to its former glory after it was buried in 1968 beneath a ‘hellish’ concrete highway. This remarkable project won first place in the Dutch finale of the EU’s Green Cities Europe Award and went on to secure third place in the Grand Finale in Brussels on 7 November 2023. Photo Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images

Environment The Netherlands27. April 2024

A Motorway for 40 Years, Until People Wanted (and Got!) Their 900-Year-Old Canal Back

Utrecht, The Netherlands, is celebrating the return of a 900-year-old historic canal.

“Now that the canal is back, it provides a beautiful connection to a plethora of important urban functions. Among other things, the station, a pop stage, theatre, and greenery have found their place at the water,” says Eelco Eerenberg, the alderman for the central Hoog Catharijne district.

The return of the Catharijnesingel Canal comes after 40 years of it being a concrete 12-lane motorway. However, the most recent couple of decades brought drastic change to public opinion: many residents wanted to depend less on cars and instead promote healthier living through less city pollution as well as via transportation changes such as walking and cycling. The city has been experiencing a major transformation in this regard. In 2017, Utrecht became home to the world’s largest bicycle park. Other sustainable moves are being made, such as planting rooftop gardens on the city’s highrises. One of the favourites, perhaps, is the return of Catharijnesingel, with swimmers, boats, and nature lovers celebrating the re-opening of this historic canal.

The Guardian

:::::: Related Articles

Back to top button