The myth of cycling in Holland

HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

No other country in the world is so closely associated with cycling as the beautiful Netherlands. But we are talking less of cycling as a sport and more as a means of transport. Or is it just us? We wanted to get to the bottom of this myth. How did it come about that the bike became the most important companion in local transport and why are our cycle tours in Holland some of the most popular in the Eurobike range? Is the thought of cheese-eating children with tulips in their hair pedaling through the streets of Amsterdam on old bikes a cliché or a reality? Find out with us!

Wind mills along a cycle path

The cycling paradise of the Netherlands

It is an undisputed fact – no country in the world does so much for its cyclists than the Netherlands. So it’s no coincidence that there are more bikes that people in Holland, it’s much more of a plan that worked out perfectly. Because here the bike is optimally integrated into everyday life and represents a national cultural asset and is not a status symbol. Here you can see the school children in the morning, as well as the banker, cycling to school or to work. But it will not be the expensive racing bike or modern trekking bike that you hop on, but rather the old bike with three gears. Almost everywhere in Dutch cities you can find perfect cycle paths that make cycling safe and pleasant. There are separate roundabouts, expressways, traffic lights, tunnels and bridges for cyclists only. And recently the city of Utrecht is home to the largest bike parking garage in the world!

Traditional houses next to the river

A couple of facts

You have to let it sink in: The Netherlands has around 17 million inhabitants. For these 17 million inhabitants there are over 22 million bikes that not only gather dust in the basement but are actually used. Almost half of the population leaves the car in the garage in the morning and hops on the bike to get to work. And that is not only good for your health, it also has an impact on your wallet. Because not only do you save money on petrol and the wear and tear of a car – many employers also support cycling financially. And the way to work by bike can be tax deductible in the Netherlands to the same extent as by car.

Bike on bridge in Amsterdam

How did cycling become so popular in Holland?

One would think that the bike has always been the most popular mode of transport in the Netherlands. That was until prosperity and progress slowly pushed the bike to the side and replaced it with the car. The land was designed to be car friendly; concrete was poured, green space gave way to wide streets and the cities of Holland were noticeably graying. But not only the cityscape suffered from this change – the sudden increase in car traffic resulted in an enormous increase in road accidents, the victims of which were often children playing on the streets or who were on their way to school. There were protests. Parents demanded a safe environment for their children and found the Dutch authorities were open. Soon there was a rethink and the cities of Holland were made bike-friendly once more.

Tips for cycling in Holland

  • Always give clear hand signals when you want to turn. The Dutch cyclist is fast and wants to know where the cyclist in front is going.
  • The Dutch cyclist expects to be overtaken, which is why it is annoying when you ring the bell beforehand.
  • Please don’t be surprised – the Dutch usually cycle ‘topless’, that is without a helmet. Since the perfect cycle lanes hardly come into contact with traffic, Dutch cyclists feel so safe hardly anyone uses a helmet. We recommend you wear a helmet anyway. Safety first!
  • Unfortunately, rain can be expected on every cycle tour in the Netherlands! But with the right clothing, cycling in Holland is fun even in the rain!
Old bicycle

Perfect conditions for unforgettable cycle tours

You can imagine how welcome you feel as a cyclist in a country where cycling is almost a way of life. Here the cyclist stands above the car driver and you notice that with every turn of the wheel and it gives you a feeling of security. The charming and friendly nature of the Dutch, the proximity to the sea, the sight of colourful tulip fields, the taste of delicious cheese, the wonderful cityscapes and the perfect cycling conditions on mostly fat cycle paths create and ideal basis for a cycle trip in Holland. We wish you a good trip and look forward to your inquiries about our cycle tours in the Netherlands or our Bike & Boat tours in Holland!

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Dutch Water Landscapes

7 Days | Self-guided Tour
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8 Days | Self-guided Tour
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8 Days | Self-guided Tour
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Highlights of the Netherlands

8 Days | Self-guided Tour
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Northern Holland and Friesland, MS Serena

8 Days | Self-guided Tour
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South Holland with bike and boat, MS Normandie

8 Days | Self-guided Tour
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