Biking Culture in the Netherlands

May 10, 2013

Zebra striped bicycle on a canal in Amsterdam

Zebra striped bicycle on a canal in Amsterdam

I am totally in love with the bike culture in the Netherlands.  It’s impressive.  EVERYONE bikes.  Older people, parents toting children (1, 2 or 3 on a single bike!), shoppers, men in business suits, women in high heels.  In Amsterdam, the bike lanes are more than twice as wide as the pedestrian sidewalks where you often have to walk single file.  And the Netherlands has an excellent system of paved paths between towns and cities.  I wish we could do half so well here in America.

Parked bikes, Haarlem

Parked bikes, Haarlem

Getting ready to leave the Grote Market with her purchases

Getting ready to leave the Grote Market with her purchases

Shopping at the market by bike

Shopping at the market by bike

Bike loaded with shopping

Bike loaded with shopping

Mother and daughter biking along a canal in Haarlem

Mother and daughter biking along a canal in Haarlem

Classy rider with heels

Classy rider with heels

Bikes parked along a narrow residential street in Haarlem

Bikes parked along a narrow residential street in Haarlem

My sister called this the latest version of the "covered wagon."

My sister called this the latest version of the “covered wagon.”

Double-decker bike parking near the train station in Delft

Double-decker bike parking near the train station in Delft

Dad with kids

Dad with kids

At the Delft flower market

At the Delft flower market

Innovative carrying solutions

Innovative carrying solutions

This older woman gave a graceful hop onto her bike -- you could tell she had executed this movement thousands of times in her life.

This older woman gave a graceful hop onto her bike — you could tell she had executed this movement thousands of times in her life.

Weekend bikers aon a trail near Zaanse Schaans (example of trail between towns)

Weekend bikers on a trail near Zaanse Schaans (example of trail between towns)

Decorative bike guard on a canal in Amsterdam

Decorative bike guard on a canal in Amsterdam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Responses to “Biking Culture in the Netherlands”

  1. SonjaM Says:

    Your blog is a nice transition for me to get used to Europe again 😉

  2. garden2day Says:

    I love this. I am just in awe of it all and wish we could have a better biking system in the states–and more interest of course. A great post–I love it! 😀 Thanks.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Biking in Seattle is a challenge with all the hills and the rain. The Netherlands was so flat — perfect for biking. But still, I agree with you, their love of bikes is pretty awesome. Think how healthy they must be with all the exercise.


  3. Biking in the US is a challenge…the bikes in Europe especially Holland and Denmark are part of everyday life…I would love this.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Yes, they use bikes for transportion, commuting, shopping, etc. rather than biking solely as a recreational activity, as so many of us do here in the U.S.


  4. I wish it was safer to bike here! Even though so few (relatively) bike here, I’ve still personally witnessed 3 bicycle riders getting hit by cars. Yikes and yuck.

    • Rosemary Says:

      I wonder what the statistics say about bike injuries in the Netherlands. No one wore helmets. I did see some near misses between pedestrians and bikes, but no accidents ( thank goodness).

  5. shoreacres Says:

    As you say, their country’s more suited to biking. We’re just as flat here in Houston, but for the next six months we’ll be coping with heat and humidity that even the spandex crowd doesn’t like to ride in.

    And there are problems with being both spread out (in Houston’s case) and congested. Amsterdam has 820,654 people in an urban area of 277 square miles. Houston has roughly 2.5 million people, in an area of 620 square miles. The Houston Metro area has about six million people in 8,778 square miles, The Netherlands has only 13,084 square miles of land!

    None of this is to say that we shouldn’t encourage biking, but with so many folks around here living 30-45 miles from their jobs, there are practicalities to consider.

    I’ll say this – if I lived there, you can bet I’d have a bike!


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