Miffy the Rabbit
This year the Tour de France starts in the Dutch city of Utrecht – home of Dick Bruna, creator of Miffy (or Nijntje in the original Dutch) the rabbit.
The simple drawing of a cartoon rabbit is found throughout the city with traffic lights using her image as an Ampelmann and a whole square dedicated to her too (the name of the square is Nijntje Pleintje which has a nice rhyme to it, although not obvious to English speakers).
With the Tour de France doing its Grand Depart this Saturday (4th July 2015) from Utrecht, Miffy has been chosen as the mascot for the big event. With a Prologue and a stage depart the next day, there will be plenty of chance to see her pop up. There are walls with graffit paintings of her peering around the corner and it has been confirmed that a whole fleet of cars supporting the race will have a giant likeness on the roof. These were first seen in last year’s race in Yorkshire as Utrecht built up the support and interest for this year’s Grand Depart.
Despite her youthful image, Miffy is in fact 60 years old and in her old age has also managed to become an icon for enviromental protest. First appearing in this guise with a spanner behind her back in the 1990s in relation to the Newbury by-pass works.