Henk-Jan Dekker

Henk-Jan Dekker defended his dissertation Cycling Pathways (Amsterdam University Press, 2021) at Eindhoven University of Technology–an open access publication. His book analyzes cycling governance in an international context since 1900s based on extensive historical research. After receiving two Bachelor degrees in Philosophy (cum laude) and History (cum laude) from Utrecht University, he also did his Master in Modern History (2016) at Utrecht University and spent one semester at the University of Minnesota.

His cycling research focuses on how policymakers shaped cycling policy in the Netherlands over the past century. By studying national, provincial, and municipal policies, he is revealing who made decisions about cycling infrastructure, traffic rules, and funding. He has examined how different government levels have interacted and what role non-governmental actors like the tourist organization ANWB and the Dutch Cycling Union (Fietsersbond) played in shaping cycling infrastructure. Henk-Jan has used heretofore untouched archival sources within the national, provincial, and municipal Public Works administrations. Cycling Citizens helps us understand how and why the Netherlands became a prominent cycling country and to what extent its development is unique in an international perspective.

Since October 2022, he is a post-doctoral researcher at CIRED (Centre international de recherche sur environnement et développement) in Paris. Within the ERC-funded project ETRANHET (Energy Transitions in the History of Economic Thought) his research focuses on Dutch and Belgian economic thinking on energy, resource curses and the so-called Dutch Disease.

He also serves as the book review assistant editor for the journal Technology and Culture since 2020.

His publications include:


Dekker, Henk-Jan. Cycling Pathways: The Politics and Governance of Dutch Cycling Infrastructure, 1920-2020 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021). Review in Technology and Culture (2022) and TSEG Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis 9 (2022).


Brand, Christian, Henk-Jan Dekker, and Frauke Behrendt. “Transport emissions reductions from mode shift to cycling.” In: Cycling. Edited by Eva Heinen and Thomas Goetschi. Advances in Transport Policy and Planning, vol. 10, 235-264. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2022). https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.atpp.2022.04.010

Dekker, Henk-Jan. “Between protest and counter-expertise: User knowledge, activism, and the making of urban cycling networks in the Netherlands since the 1970s.” NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 30 (2022): 281–309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00048-022-00341-y

Dekker, Henk-Jan. “An Accident of History? How Mopeds Boosted Dutch Cycling Infrastructure (1950-1970).’ Journal of Transport History 42, no. 3 (2021): 420–443. (2nd most downloaded article of JTH in 2021). Open Access. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F00225266211011935 

Bruno, Matthew, Henk Jan Dekker, and Letícia Lindenberg Lemos. “Mobility protests in the Netherlands of the 1970s: Activism, innovation, and the transition to sustainable transportation systems.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 40 (2021): 521-535. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2021.10.001

Other publications

Dekker, Henk-Jan. “The Dutch Bicycle,” In Encyclopédie d’histoire numérique de l’Europe/EHNE Digital Encyclopedia of European History (April 7, 2022). https://ehne.fr/en/node/21801

Dekker, Henk-Jan, and Patrick Bek. “1924. Strijd om de plek van de fiets.” In Nog meer wereldgeschiedenis van Nederland, edited by Lex Heerma van Voss, Nadia Bouras, Marjolein ’t Hart, Manon van der Heijden, and Leo Lucassen (Amsterdam: Ambo|Anthos, 2022): 485-491.

Dekker, Henk-Jan. “Jeremiades over de Jeremiebrug: Fietsfiles bij spoorwegovergangen in Utrecht, 1915-1940.” Oud-Utrecht 91, no. 2 (2018): 32-38.