History of the international Maas cycle route
2010 Venlo municipality initiative
On 30 June 2010 the city council of the municipality of Venlo approved a motion to investigate the possibility of creating a continuous tourist cycle route along the Maas, from its source to its mouth. A work group headed by the municipality of Venlo started to obtain consensus among the Dutch, Belgian and French provincial and local authorities.
2012 Signing of a declaration of intent
During the Floriade in 2012, a conference was held to discuss the Maas cycle route, with 41 Dutch, Belgian and French partners signing a declaration of intent to express their support for the idea of creating an international Maas cycle route.
2013 Preparations with the Province of Limburg as the leading partner
After this meeting, the work group commissioned a feasibility study (results published in October 2013), which indicated that:
- The infrastructure for most of the route is already available (existing cycle routes).
- There is sufficient communality and enthusiasm for the cycle route among the three countries.
- There is also a willingness to cooperate, with the French departments and the provinces in the Netherlands and Belgium regarded as the most suitable parties (stakeholders) to establish this route.
The investigation did not reach any conclusions about financing options.
At the request of the municipality of Venlo and with the agreement of the parties involved, the Province of Limburg (NL) assumed the role of project driver at the end of 2013. Based on the advice of the feasibility study, the desired stakeholders in the three countries were approached. A number of parties decided to join the initiative and a joint work group started to prepare the project.
2014 Directors' meeting
In February 2014 the province of Limburg held a meeting, inviting all the intended parties at the highest official level. During the presentation of the initial plans, all parties agreed to continue to develop the plans into a concrete project proposal.
2015 Signing of a cooperation agreement
On 29 January 2015 the province of Limburg launched the project during a meeting in Maastricht and a cooperation agreement was signed by 32 parties from the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
2015 – 2017 Execution of project under the leadership of the province of Limburg (NL)
- The years 2015 and 2016 saw the physical realisation in the form of signposting the entire route; a route description was drawn up, as was a list of contact persons for maintenance and a list of potential problems to be encountered en route. Execution under the management of the Comité Régional du Tourisme de Champagne-Ardenne.
- The website was prepared and developed in 2015 and 2016. Execution under the management of the Fédération du Tourisme de la Province de Liège.
- The possibility of becoming a EuroVelo route was explored in 2016. Execution under the management of the Comité Régional du Tourisme de Champagne-Ardenne.
- International press conference and start of promotional activities (folders, advertisements, articles, video).