While, the Netherlands is famous for many things, it’s low and flat landscape is one famous aspect that makes it perfect for cycling. In addition to this, almost a fifth of the country is made up canals, lakes, and rivers, making cycling extremely enjoyable. Consequently, there are actually more bikes in Holland than residents, and in cities like Amsterdam and the Hague around 7 out of 10 journeys are made by bicycle.
Why are there so many bikes?
Prior to WW2, journeys in the country were mostly made by bike, however car ownership skyrocketed in the 50’s and 60’s and this squeezed out cyclists. However, it also had the consequence of skyrocketing the number of deaths on the roads, with there being 450 children killed in 1971 alone. This led to a social movement named Stop the Child Murder calling for safer cycling conditions for children. In addition to this, around the same time oil-producing companies stopped exporting oil to Western Europe due to the Middle East oil crisis of 1973, and this made the Dutch question the sustainability of motor vehicles. These two combined factors led to the government massively investing in infrastructure for bikes, and this is why so many people cycle there today.
Why is cycling still so great today?
In most cities cycling paths are segregated from traffic, and where space is scarce and bikes and cars have to share, it is bikes who have priority. This is even true for roundabouts, as cars have to wait for cyclists to pass before they can go.
Cyclists are actually accommodated in the same way car-drivers are in other countries, with bike facilities being widespread across the country. There are parking facilities complete with electronic counters that register how many spots are still available.
This is why so many people choose to go on cycling holidays to the Netherlands. It’s scenic, its flat and the Dutch have made it very easy to get around by investing greatly in infrastructure for cyclists. There are also many places where you can hire a bike from, with bike rental Amsterdam being particularly great for prices and bike options. So, if you’re looking to get away from the noise and stress that is usually impossible to get away from in places like the US and the UK, a cycling holiday in the Netherlands may the perfect way to do it.