In 1811, as Napoleon Bonaparte rode in a carriage from Paris to Amsterdam, he got annoyed by the muddy roads in the Netherlands and decided to build a paved road. The ‘Route Impériale 2’ or ‘De Paris à Amsterdam’ was completed in 1813, a four-meter large paved road with a line of trees running along each side, as part of the road Breda-Gorinchem-Utrecht-Amsterdam. Tollbooths and inns later followed along the road.
For the province of Utrecht, bringing the historical infrastructure to life is one of the major points in their heritage policy. Regarding mobility, enabling ‘cycle-through’ routes is an important issue: improving existing cycling paths and connecting them to each other makes it more attractive to use the bike for longer distances as well.
The planned cycle-through route Utrecht-Nieuwegein-IJsselstein brings together heritage and mobility: the ‘Route Impériale 2’ and the cycle-through route partly overlap. In the coming months, on behalf of the province, QKunst will explore the possibilities of representing Napoleon’s historical route along the cycle-through route by involving an artist or a designer.
Team: Véronique Baar, route exploration support & photography Mijke Rummens
Cycling ‘De Paris à Amsterdam’