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Rostock is getting on its bike

Title in original language:

Rostock steigt auf


Germany, Hanseatic City of Rostock (204,000 inhabitants)

Project description:

The ADFC Rostock supported by sponsors has initiated a three-week poster campaign on city lights (backlit glass panels in the public space). Using the slogan “Rostock is getting on” (its bike) a locally well-known young sportswoman stimulates the interest in cycling.

Starting situation

Between 2004 and 2007 the Hanseatic City of Rostock together with the local section of the ADFC and other partners has initiated quite a number of different projects, all in the framework of the EU INTERRREG project “Baltic Sea Cycling”, e.g.:

  • Conducting the bicycle climate test
  • Postcards “Here is where I live”
  • Website ‘bicycle region Rostock’ http://www.radregion-rostock.de/start/
  • Cinema spotlight “A region is getting on their bikes”
  • Competition ‘Asset factor bicycle!’
  • Signposting campus bicycle route network
  • Bicycle city map with regional cycling map
  • Conducting the bicycle policy audit (BYPAD)

Additionally, there were activities outside the INTERREG project, such as initiatives for bicycle streets in the city centre or opening of one-way streets for cyclists.

All these activities have continuously drawn public attention to the topic of cycling.

Towards the end of the INTERREG project the ADFC and the municipality wanted to approach the citizens once again and on an emotional level in order to encourage them to cycle more. The city lights campaign was chosen to be an appropriate measure.

Project implementation

The idea for the city light campaign came from the ADFC Rostock and has been realised together with a major local advertising agency. The necessary sponsors for the poster have been acquired by the ADFC. In addition to the poster, the city of Rostock has organised a parallel promotion week in April 2007 under the motto “Rostock is getting on its bike”.

Idea and visual content of the poster

The poster shows a nice-looking young woman on a bicycle in front of urban scenery. The model is a locally well-known popular personality: the world champion in long-distance swimming Britta Kamrau. The picture focuses on the fun factor and the young woman’s positive attitude towards riding a bike; deliberately, only the handle bar of it is seen. The message is that the city gains attractiveness not primarily through the bicycles themselves as technical gadgets, but through the people who are riding them in the streets. As the photography shows the woman life-sized it appears that – intensified through the backlit panels – she is coming along our own way. A short text advertised two cycling events.

The background of the picture has a meaning for sustainable transport too. It shows the Doberaner Platz which, at the time of the campaign, has been rebuilt to become a hub for the tram and closed for through traffic. The tram operator and the public redevelopment agency have sponsored the campaign. The poster had a high recognition value for the citizens, as it was made using the city’s corporate design. In addition to the change of modal choice the slogan ‘Rostock is getting on its bike’ associates other positive messages too:

  • Cycling and tram go together and complement each other
  • The “getting on” in the city centre with the redevelopment of the Doberaner Platz
  • Rostock’s football club was about to go from second league to premiere league; this rise (in German synonymous to ‘getting on’) was also meant as encouragement for the team which really succeeded.

In a regional context the slogan was also getting at the fact that the city as business location was improving (‘getting on’), the number of inhabitants was rising again after several years and that the city seemed to attract businesses, specialist workers and students.

As a motivation for all stakeholders at city level to continue the successful bicycle policies of previous years Rostock announced at the last Baltic Sea Cycling workshop its readiness to act as a lead partner for a follow-up project. The activities are closely linked to the city’s overall concept as the ‘green Hanseatic city on the coast’. Rostock wants to take the lead at European level as qualifier for the Champions League of European cycling cities.

Implementation of the campaign and the promotion week

The posters were displayed on approx. 165 light panels all over the city over a period of three weeks (24 April to 15 May 2007). For the campaign the backsides of the panels have been used which serve the city council and its partners for non-commercial advertising and can be used for free. Costs of the campaign were limited to expenses for photographer, layout, editing and printing of the posters as well as for putting them up, as the development has been done on a voluntary basis.

In the first week of the poster campaign the city together with the ADFC organised a promotion week with the same slogan. Further activities were:

  • Giving flowers to cyclists
  • Bargain breakfast for cyclists in a bakery
  • Distribution of the new cycle map
  • Tandem ride of the Lord Mayor and the chairman of the ADFC
  • Introduction of bicycle boxes for tourists


The poster campaign has promoted cycling directly in the street in a positive and emotional way. The campaign made a contribution to the rise of cycling share in the modal split between 2003 and 2008 from 12 % to 20 % in Rostock.

This rise is not only measured by a survey by the Technical University of Dresden (SrV). It is also noticeable in the streets. Not only more people are cycling but also a positive cycling culture is developing. Many women and children are using the bicycle in the city. More and more people are presenting themselves on the bicycle with fashionable clothes and trendy bicycles. This becomes a self-intensifying process.

Target group of the campaign:

People of the age group 10-75 years


The costs of 4,000 EUR have been funded partly by the EU, further through sponsoring and donations.

The campaign was part of the EU INTERREG-III-B project ‘Baltic Sea Cycling’.

Organizations responsible for the project:

ADFC Rostock (German bicycle association),

Hanseatic City of Rostock, Department for the environment

Project term:

April – May 2007

Contact person:

Project organisation

Mr. Thomas Möller (for ADFC Rostock in 2007)
Phone: +49 179 7041949
E-mail: thomas.moeller@radplan-nordost.de

Municipality – project coordinator

Mr. Steffen Nozon
Hansestadt Rostock
Amt für Umweltschutz
Holbeinplatz 14
18069 Rostock
Phone: +49 381 3817328
E-mail: steffen.nozon@rostock.de


Poster "Rostock steigt auf" “Rostock is getting on its bicycle”
© Hanseatic City of Rostock

City light at Doberaner Platz © Thomas Möller

City light in Lange Straße © Thomas Möller

City lights in Lange Straße © Thomas Möller

City light and information booth in Friedhofsweg © Thomas Möller

Lord Mayor Roland Methling and the speaker of the ADFC Rostock Martin Elshoff at the promotion week "Rostock is getting on its bicycle" © Hanseatic City of Rostock

Lord Mayor Roland Methling and the speaker of the ADFC Rostock Martin Elshoff at the promotion week "Rostock is getting on its bicycle" © Thomas Möller

Information booth at the promotion week "Rostock is getting on its bicycle" © Thomas Möller

Sign “Rostock is getting on its bike” © Hanseatic City of Rostock