De Fietshangar is an idea and design of industrial designer Jelle Zijlstra Designer Jelle Zijlstra (1965).
Designer Jelle Zijlstra
“Cycling is fun and makes life easier in cities. Not only cycling itself is healthy, but also the fact that less cars need to crawl through the city. I’ve been living in Rotterdam since 1988 and like many city dwellers I have lost bicycles due to theft or vandalism. Some friends decided at some point not to buy a new bicycle anymore because it would get stolen anyway. I started thinking about a way to protect bicycles with a kind of armour.”
12 bikes in stead of 1 car
In those days there was a protest by the Dutch Cycling Federation called ’12 instead of 1′: they deflated a blowup model of a car in front of a supermarket and a bicycle rack for 12 bicycles appeared. “This image appealed to me: 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!”
Prototype conquers Utrecht
After building two prototypes for a pilot project in Utrecht, things went fast for the Fietshangar. “I showed my design to all the manufacturers of street furniture 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 Fietshangar after they heard about it. They convinced the municipality to finance six Fietshangar 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.!”
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.
In ‘Dutch Design of the 20the century’ the Fietshangar of Jelle Zijlstra has an official place among 350 other, famous objects that were eye catchers in this period in Holland. The Fietshangar is still a trend setter in the 21ste century!