Rainbow bike path

Thanks to an idea by University of Applied Sciences Utrecht student Elias van Mourik (22), the longest rainbow bike path in the world has been created in the Utrecht Science Park. With the rainbow bike path, Utrecht University, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and Utrecht UMC are drawing attention to the acceptance, equality and safety of all people from the LGBTIQ+ community.

  • foto opening regenboogfietspad
  • opening regenboogfietspad
  • opening regenboogfietspad
We celebrated the opening of the rainbow bike path on Coming Out Day 11 October 2021. (Click on the photos for a larger image.)

Visibility and awareness

Change starts with increasing visibility and awareness. Partly for this reason, Utrecht University embraces initiatives such as the rainbow bike path. We also raise the rainbow flag every year during Coming Out Day and join national campaigns such as Purple Friday (the Dutch Spirit Day). By doing so we ask for acceptance, support and solidarity for our LGBTIQ+ community, because we know that a safe working and learning environment is not something they can take for granted. In addition, it is a signal that we are committed to diversity and inclusion, and that students and staff can hold us accountable.  

Research on experience rainbow bike path: valuable symbol, but more is needed

With the rainbow bike path, Utrecht University, Hogeschool Utrecht and UMC Utrecht call attention to acceptance, equality and safety for people from the LGBTQ+ community.

Milou van de Brug and Miriam Wickham, former student and PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, respectively, investigated how the rainbow bike path was received by students and staff of the three institutions. They also asked what it would take to make LHBTIQ+ more inclusive. During coming out day on Tuesday 11 October, they shared their results.

The researchers' survey reveals that staff and students of the three knowledge institutions are overwhelmingly positive about the rainbow bike path; they give it a 5.66 on a scale of 1-7. Conversely, a rating of 8. According to participants, the bike path symbolises the institutions' commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, and helps raise awareness. At the same time, according to Van de Brug and Wickham, the survey results give reason for more efforts in favour of LGBTQ+ inclusivity. "Several results point to the need for more direct action."

Read more about the research
Read the Policy note for more information about the survey results and the composition of the respondent group

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)

The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) programme is committed to (policy) change within the university in the area of diversity and inclusion. Read more about the EDI programme and the strategy and action plan.

Specific actions for our LGBTIQ+ community

For students and staff from the LGBTIQ+ community, Utrecht University is working on specific actions over the next five years: 

  • There will be at least one all-gender restroom in every university building;

  • We are exploring the possibility of allowing students and staff to choose how their gender is recorded and what pronouns they are addressed with, and then making the necessary adjustments to systems;

  • There will be agreements on transition leave;

  • The university will appoint a diversity network coordinator by 2021. Among other things, the coordinator will facilitate the UURainbownnetwork and support bottom-up initiatives for establishing new networks.

  • We will explore the need for safe space meetings and a training offer on sexual safety.

Share your ideas!

Utrecht University hopes you will also share your ideas for positive change. The EDI Office has a Stimulation Fund for financial support of initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion with and for the university community. If you have an idea, or see opportunities for improvement that we are (still) missing, send an email to: edi.office@uu.nl

Send us your ideas

Frequently asked questions about the rainbow bike path