Utrecht Science Park gets the longest rainbow bike path in the world
Utrecht University, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and UMC Utrecht join forces
Thanks to an initiative of student Elias van Mourik (22), Utrecht will have the longest rainbow bike path in the world. The bike path will be located in the Utrecht Science Park. University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht have joined forces for the realisation, because they fully endorse the symbol. With the rainbow bike path the three institutions want to show that everybody is welcome to be who they are.
For his idea, Elias, a student at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, initially found support from Melody Deldjou Fard, a city council member for GroenLinks. Melody: "I thought it was a great idea. The future of our country is taking shape in the Utrecht Science Park. And that's exactly why it's important to make diversity and inclusion explicitly visible here." Since the municipality could not finance the idea, Elias and Melody decided to write an open letter to Utrecht University and Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. They joined forces with the UMC Utrecht to support the initiative.
Elias is happy that his idea for a rainbow bike path has been embraced by the three institutions and will be realised during the international Pride Month. "A lot of people live, work and study in the Utrecht Science Park. It's therefore great that at such a location you get a symbol that shows that everyone is accepted.
The cycle path is adjacent to the bus lane between Padualaan 97 - the multicolored HU building that houses institutes in the field of education - and the intersection between the Heidelberglaan and the Universiteitsweg/Bolognalaan, next to the administrative building of Utrecht University.
With a length of 570 metres, the Utrecht cycle path will also be the longest rainbow cycle path in the world. "Go big or go home", laughs Elias. "Why would you realise a cycle path of one metre if you also have the space to make the longest rainbow cycle path in the world?" The student hopes that the symbol contributes to a feeling of acceptance and inspires others to also actively contribute to diversity and inclusion."
Diversity in the broadest sense of the word
Although the rainbow flag applied to the cycle path is a symbol of the LGBTQI+ community, all parties involved want the cycle path to give a signal about diversity and inclusion in the broadest sense of the word. "We want to show that everyone can be themselves and is welcome in the Utrecht Science Park," says Elena Valbusa, Diversity Officer of University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. "Everyone, so regardless of your colour, sexual orientation, cultural background, but also regardless of your disability or your parents' income. We prefer to look at the human being, with everyone's own talents and qualities and how we can develop them further."
In addition, the parties involved seize the opportunity of the rainbow bike path to jointly launch a substantive programme on diversity and inclusion. The kick-off of that programme will take place in the autumn, due to corona. Janneke Plantenga, diversity dean of Utrecht University: "Both within the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht there are already several initiatives in the field of diversity and inclusion, but we find this a nice opportunity to also organise a number of activities together. The idea is, for instance, to organise a lecture series. Or to tell the stories that the cycle path stands for in a podcast series. In the coming months, we will start working on the exact details. We are determined to make something beautiful out of it together."