The Dutch have a strong passion for bicycle riding. 2,000 kilometers are pedaled annually by youths, who pedal twice as much as the average adult. Everyone rides a bike, regardless of age (even 25% of senior citizens do so!). Around 75% of all trips made by the nation’s young professionals are made on bicycles, making cycling a way of life here.
We won’t disagree with you if you believe the Dutch must possess some bicycle magic. In fact, we’ve come up with 15 explanations for why Dutch people adore their bicycles.
In the Netherlands, there are more than 35,000 kilometers of bike routes, so there are always wonderful areas to ride without a car.
With thousands of kilometers of picturesque bike paths to explore, it’s easy to see why the Dutch spend so much time riding their bikes. It’s just simple enjoyable to pass the time on a bike.
There are approximately 55,000 kilometers of bike-friendly routes, so don’t believe that cycling is just for taking in the country’s stunning countryside. Add in the designated bike lanes through towns like Amsterdam and Utrecht.
There are 22 million bikes in a nation with 17 million people.
In the Netherlands, there are 1.3 bikes for every inhabitant. You read that right. With 1.37 billion people, China has a lot more bikes than the Netherlands does (around 500 million more, to be honest), yet that country’s per capita bike ownership is still far behind the Netherlands. Do you wish to contrast that with America? There are just 70 million bikes in a country with 325 million people.
Dutch solar bike routes really produce electricity, making them even greener.
Have you ever cycled through Holland’s Green Heart? The Dutch are incredibly proud of their environmental credentials. But with their solar bike routes, they raise the bar significantly.
Normal bike lanes were actually replaced with solar panels as part of a pilot initiative in Amsterdam, which proved to be a fairly smart idea. The 70 kilometers of solar walkway generated 9,800 kWh of electricity in the first year.
From nearly birth, infants ride bicycles called “bakfiets.”
Bakfiets, which means “box bike” in Dutch, is simply a very common cargo bike that the Dutch use for almost everything, even riding their kids around.
It’s not unusual to see parents, grandparents, and even grandparents cycling a bakfiets while pulling two or even three young children around Amsterdam’s tulip-lined streets.
Since Dutch traffic laws are so bicycle-friendly, they don’t even require helmet use.
Because of the meticulous planning of the Dutch bike infrastructure, accidents are comparatively rare. Additionally, they employ unique traffic-calming techniques to maintain the safety of two-wheeled traffic in the shared areas.
A helmet would also be inappropriate given that the Dutch ride their bikes for almost everything, even attending elegant galas and weddings.
No one rides in spandex unless they are a racer.
When cycling on the road in the US, riders don a ton of specialized gear, much of which is made of spandex. In the Netherlands, individuals dress normally (after all, they do most of their day-to-day traveling on a bike).
Who has time to put on and take off their workout attire five or six times a day? Only a wielrenner, not a typical cyclist, wears lycra in the Netherlands.
Children are even required to take classes in bicycle proficiency at schools.
It is real. Dutch schoolchildren take their veerkeersexamen, or bicycle traffic test, each spring. Additionally, it’s a smart concept because the vast majority of secondary school kids (often 12 and older) cycle daily to and from class.
Furthermore, these aren’t quick trips—Dutch children pedal up to 15 kilometers each way to school. That’s a long time on the road!
They have the largest underground bike parking facility in the world.
Check out the sizable subterranean bike lot under the train station if your bicycle excursion takes you to Utrecht. About 40% of tourists to Utrecht arrive on bicycles, thus the city needed infrastructure to accommodate all of the cyclists.
When it is ready this year, the new Utrecht bike lot will have room for 12,500 bikes.
Bike riding is the safest activity there is to engage in.
Every year, the European Cyclists Federation compiles statistics on bicycle safety across Europe, with the Netherlands often coming out on top. Given the Dutch dislike of helmets, that’s probably a really good thing.
When it rains, they have incredible superpowers for holding umbrellas.
The Dutch are adept at biking while holding an umbrella; after all, the Netherlands experiences its fair share of rainy weather. However, it’s quite a sight if you’ve never witnessed this phenomenon in action.
However, if you’re not quite that coordinated, you can always go with something a little more conventional, like a plastic cape—or this really high-tech raincoat that, let’s be honest, only the Dutch would invent.
Rush hour on bicycles is a thing of odd beauty.
With a population of roughly 325,000, Utrecht has about 125,000 daily cyclists, including over 33,000 on one busy street alone.
It’s actually a beautiful, accidentally orchestrated spectacle that you really have to see to believe, far from being a scene of mayhem.
Let’s discuss the Van Gogh bike route.
The most renowned son of Eindhoven is Vincent van Gogh, thus it makes sense that a local artist, Daan Roosegaarde, would create a stunning, shimmering bike path in the likeness of van Gogh’s masterpiece, Starry Night. A walkway lined with tens of thousands of blue and green fairy lights is accessible by bicycle (solar powered, of course).
Biking is a sport that dogs enjoy almost as much as people do.
While many European towns allow dogs, the Dutch have a special affinity with their four-legged friends. You’ll see dogs traveling everywhere with their owners, including, of course, on bicycles.
Small dogs in baskets, large dogs in bakfietsen, and even dogs deftly balanced on a child’s bike seat are all common sight.
How about retractable bike racks?
Only a nation with as many bikes as the Netherlands would come up with such a brilliant idea for bike parking. A clever popup bike rack that disappears into the ground when it’s not in use was created by Eindhoven industrial designer Milou Berg because he disliked the way rows of empty bike racks clogged up public places at certain times of the day.
Then there’s the Hovenring.
On a cycling tour across Holland, there are many incredible sites and experiences to be had, but perhaps none are as incredibly futuristic and spectacular as the Hovenring in Eindhoven.
You may wonder what the Hovenring is. Oh, there’s just a stunning bicycle bridge floating above the city’s entrance that resembles a flying saucer. Who could blame you if you wanted to go there merely to go around it a few times?
Why do Dutch people cycle without helmets?
9 Marvellous Things Dutch People Do With Their Bicycles