Bicycle racing in Limburg in the first half of the twentieth century: A "people's" sport between national lawmaking, provincial policies and local initiative

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

Abstract

Limburg, the southern-most province of the Netherlands, prides itself in being
more devoted to cycling as a sport than any other Dutch province, surpassed
perhaps only by Noord-Brabant. And indeed, earlier research has shown that a
remarkably high number of road races were organised in Limburg since the 1950s. This paper traces the beginning of the provincial enthusiasm for road racing back to the 1930s, when the provincial government, despite the national ban on road racing, increasingly allowed races on provincial and local roads. Using sources from provincial and local archives and historic newspapers, the paper investigates the character and origins of the accommodating provincial road racing regime. In the end, the presence of hills, the internationalisation of competitive cycling, the established tourist trade in the region, the strong concentration of workers in the Limburgian mining districts, and the economic crisis of the 1930s all come together in explaining the rise of Limburg as a road cycling region. During the war, road racing did not decline: the new regime in The Hague at least partly spoke in favour of road racing, while the provincial government came to be led by NSB frontman Max de Marchant et d’Ansembourg, who had organised cycling races in the 1930s himself. The paper thus traces the first instance of Limburg’s favourable provincial policies towards cycling as sport and leisure activity, which established a tradition that lasts until today.
Translated title of the contributionBicycle racing in Limburg in the first half of the twentieth century: A "people's" sport between national lawmaking, provincial policies and local initiative
Original languageDutch
Title of host publicationJaarboek van het Sociaal Historisch Centrum voor Limburg 2019
EditorsNico Randeraad, Willibrord Rutten
Place of PublicationMaastricht
PublisherSociaal Historisch Centrum voor Limburg
Pages172-205
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

SeriesStudies over de sociaal economische geschiedenis van Limburg
Volume54

Cite this