Stop de kindermoord - against children deaths caused by motor vehicles, The Netherlands

In The Netherlands, by 1971 deaths by motor vehicles were 3,300, of which 500 were children. A campaign in favour of pedestrians and bicycles started in different locations. It was called "stop children's murders".


Description

This is a conflict on the use of urban space and on the means of urban transport, a conflict in favour of pedestrians and cyclists with a successful outcome. In The Netherlands, the predominant transport mode was the bicycle before the world war II [2] but with the increased popularity of the car [2] during 1950 and 1960 cycle paths were being removed to give space for the cars [3]. In the post wa era  “urban policymakers came to view the car as the travel mode of the future”. Neighborhoods were destroyed to construct the roads for motorized traffic [4] and city squares replaced by car parking spaces [10]. But the 1970’s will change this paradigm for the Dutch. In this period people start realizing about the disadvantages of the mass use of motorized vehicles. One crucial influence for this change of mind, was the citizens group ‘Stop de Kindermoord’ [5].

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Basic Data
Name Stop de kindermoord - against children deaths caused by motor vehicles, The Netherlands
CountryNetherlands
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesDisproportionate use of urban space by cars. The commodity causing the conflict is cars, together with urban planning at the service of the cars.
Ecosystem Services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe movement against deaths by cars started with the death of a child’s journalist in a road accident. He (Vic Langenhoff) was the first person to use the term “stop de kindermoord” (stop the child murder). After his child’s death, he published an article with this headline. This slogan was a powerful message [2]. The original idea of Langenhoff was to protect the kids from cars by sending them in bus to the school, but soon after more experienced campaigners contacted him to redirect the campaign to reduce the danger in the roads. From this starting point, the group focused their efforts in increasing the roads safety, especially for children.

There were several demonstrations from the group: occupying accidents blackspots, organizing special days were streets were closed to allow children to play safely, they cycled with an organ in front of the house of the prime minister Joop den Uyl, to sing songs asking for safer streets [4]. A characteristic is that the protests involved both the parents and children [2]. One of the most remarkable protest, and is still use today, took place outside Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum in the mid-1970s, were the participants laid down with their bicycles pretending to be dead [9]

In 1973, the oil crisis also gave momentum to the movement, and the government started the “Sunday free car” which reminded citizens how it was before the introduction of the car. The crisis increased the mass protest to improve road conditions, putting pressure on government to take measurements [2].

Two years after the creation of this group, the Dutch Cyclists’ Union was created, to demand more space for bicycles. They made mass noisy demonstrations, painted illegal lanes in streets, among others[4]. Both groups continue in the fight. “The battle goes on.. the propensity of urban planners to give priority to cars is still persistent”[4].

The 1960s had also witnessed in Amsterdam the movements of Provos (and later the Kabouters) - the Provos painted bycicles white that were left freely in the streets for public use. Their ideology was already anarchist-environmentalism. Opposition to the Dutch monarchy, the war in Vietnam and air pollution from automobiles became the major issues for the movement.
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected PopulationChildren, and cyclists
Start Date01/01/1970
Relevant government actorsDutch government

Prime minister of Netherlands: Joop den Uyl (973-1977)

Dutch Ministry of Transport

Provinces and municipalities

Safe Traffic Nederland
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersStop de Kindermoord ( They merged with Safe Traffic Nederland): https://vvn.nl/

Dutch Cyclists’ Union (First called Royal Dutch Cyclists’ Union): https://www.fietsersbond.nl/english-info/

Journalist Vic Langenhoff

The Children of the Pjip
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Lying down in the streets with bicycles, and many others.
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Other Environmental impacts
OtherThe movement complained against occcupation of urban space by cars, causing car accidents.
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherSecurity, specially for children
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
New legislation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of Alternatives'Stop de kindermoord' took all these measures against car traffic - they occupied accidents blackspots, organizing special days were streets were closed to allow children to play safely, they cycled with an organ in front of the house of the prime minister Joop den Uyl, to sing songs asking for safer streets [4]. A characteristic is that the protests involved both the parents and children [2]. One of the most remarkable protest, and still used today, took place outside Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum in the mid-1970s, were the participants laid down with their bicycles besides pretending to be dead [9]
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Child death went down from 450 in 1971, to 14 in 2010. Afterwards, this group received the support of the national government [2] and cycling security became an important issue in the political agenda.

It is also a success, because this protest left a legacy for the other countries:

1. The people can make a difference, the people was the one which construct their cycling nation,

1. Built it and they will come (referring to the cycle paths) [10]

2. "people for bikes", states that every new bike project should be usable by a 12 year old [8].

3. It has also been extent to elders. 8-80 cities is an initiative that seeks the well being of the people, “if everything we do in our public spaces is great for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, then it will be great for all people"[12]

These are some examples of the measurements taken:

Construction of a network of cycle paths

Experimentation of safer cycling routes

Car-free sundays

30 km areas

Less parking space for cars

Inclusion of cycling in transport policies
Sources and Materials
References

[5] Department Transport & Planning. The Dutch Reference Study "Cases of interventions in bicycle infrastructure reviewed in the

framework of Bikeability". 2011
[click to view]

Links

[1] Archives of Stop de Kindermoord of the Bicycle Dutch
[click to view]

[3]Stop the Child Murder. David Hembrow
[click to view]

[7]Amsterdam children fighting cars in 1972. Bicycle Dutch Article
[click to view]

[9] 8 80 cities. Public spaces for people of 8 and 80 year old
[click to view]

[2]HOLLAND IN THE 1970S

Dutch campaigners explain why the Netherlands is now so cycle-friendly
[click to view]

[8] Stop de Kindermoord (Stop the Child Murder). Mike Shoup Blog
[click to view]

[4] The Guardian. How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world
[click to view]

Media Links

[11]How the Dutch got their cycle paths. Bicycle Dutch.
[click to view]

[6]Related case: The children of Pijp. A marginalized neighboor, were the children are the ones who ask for their space
[click to view]

Other Documents

[click to view]

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/amsterdam-children-fighting-cars-in-1972/
[click to view]

Protesting with a Piano They cycle with an organ in front of the house of the prime minister Joop den Uyl, to sing songs asking for safer streets.

from documentary: How the Dutch got their cycle paths.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o
[click to view]

Participants lay down with their bicycles besides pretending to be dead Outside Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum in the mid-1970s. from documentary: How the Dutch got their cycle paths.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSandra La Rota, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. [email protected]
Last update13/05/2017
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