Exploring the Netherlands by Bicycle: Cycling in the Beautiful Country of Canals

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The Dutch love their bikes! They’re so much fun that people cycle for exercise, transportation, recreation, and even competition. In the Netherlands, cycling has been an integral part of daily life since the early 20th century. It’s no wonder why they have one of the highest rates of bicycle ownership in Europe. Netherlands and bikes are nearly synonymous. 

Are you ready to experience the Netherlands like never before? Hop on a bike and enjoy some of the most beautiful cycling routes in Europe. Explore the Netherlands by bicycle to see everything from flatlands and rugged hills to scenic canals and quaint villages, you’ll find plenty of reasons to keep pedaling. Experience the Dutch countryside on two wheels – it’s time to go cycling in the Netherlands!

The Dutch Cycling Culture

Cycling is a popular form of transport in the Netherlands. People ride bicycles as a means of getting to work, school, shopping, and other places. There are also organized races and competitions throughout the year.

In the Netherlands, you will find two kinds of Netherlands cyclists. The first is called a wielrenner, which directly translates to “wheel runner”. This name implies someone cycling quickly or in special clothes for cycling. The other is fietser – literally meaning “bicyclist” – who tend to cycle at a much more leisurely pace on upright-framed bikes and without any kind of reflective gear or protection, especially for their head. Fietsers can typically be found riding on an omafiets, a specific Dutch bicycle design for comfortable social riding.

The vast majority of individuals biking in the streets of Dutch cities are fietsers and yet outside its home country this population seems absent due to intrinsic cultural and structural issues that benefit those who move faster over those who prefer to take it slow, for example, people who prefer to drive cars.

why is cycling so popular in the netherlands

Why is Cycling so Popular in the Netherlands?

Cycling in the Netherlands is so popular because of its extensive bike-friendly infrastructure, including well-maintained segregated cycleways and paths, combined with the country’s flat landscape. The Dutch also prioritize cycling safety by introducing laws that protect cyclists and pedestrians. Cycling culture here has also been fostered through years of campaigning by cycling advocacy groups, making it a preferred mode of transport for many. Amsterdam is consistently ranked as one of the top cycling cities in the world.

How Many Bicycles in the Netherlands?

According to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics, the Netherlands is home to over 22 million bicycles–that’s almost one for every citizen in the country. The Netherlands has long been a leader when it comes to two-wheeled transportation, and its bike culture continues to grow each year.

Dutch Bike Rental

If you’re looking for bike rentals in Amsterdam, there are plenty of options available. You can rent bikes at the train station, at major hotels, and even online.

Amsterdam bicycle rental

Exploring the Netherlands by Bicycle

There are many bike shops and rental spots around the Netherlands that can provide you with the perfect ride for your cycling tour. Whether you’re looking for a commuter bike or an off-road e-bike, there are options to suit every budget and every type of rider. For those looking to explore further out of the city centers, some larger towns and cities also have bicycle hire services, so you can enjoy an even more immersive journey without having to worry about bringing your own two wheels. Renting a bike is not only cost effective but it also allows you more flexibility in how far you want to go with each day allowing you total freedom of exploration!

Prepare for a Safe Journey – What to Pack?

To ensure you have a safe and comfortable journey, make sure to pack the proper gear and equipment. Even the most basic of rides require some essential items. At minimum, cyclists need a bike, helmet, locks for security, warm clothing for the weather conditions, fluids to stay hydrated and an emergency repair kit in case of mechanical failure. For more extended cycling tours, consider bringing additional items such as food, spare parts and cycling-specific navigation tools like maps or GPS.

netherlands cycling what to pack

Dutch Cycling Etiquette

If you’re visiting the Netherlands, you might notice that people here seem more relaxed than other countries. This is because there are fewer rules regarding how cyclists behave. However, there are still some guidelines to follow.

Cycling Safety in Netherlands

When cycling in the Netherlands, safety is of the utmost importance. It is recommended to wear a helmet while riding and use lights at night. To ensure visibility to other commuters on the road, you should stay in the same direction as traffic so you will be able to anticipate any changes ahead. Additionally, it is important to remain alert while cycling as hazards may appear quickly when biking in urban or congested areas.

Bike Lanes, Traffic and Safety on the Roads

The Netherlands is known for its extensive network of dedicated bike paths and lanes, making it an incredibly safe place to cycle. The cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands is among the best in the world. The streets and highways in the Netherlands are well-marked with special signage and signals informing both drivers and cyclists of appropriate road safety rules. Pedestrians also need to be mindful that pavements are shared by cyclists in some parts of the country.  Although cycling can be a safe experience, cyclists should remain aware at all times, take extra precautions when riding at night or in unfamiliar areas, and obey all traffic laws.

cycling in the Netherlands

Choose the Best Route for Your Cycling Tour

When it comes to cycling in the Netherlands, there’s no shortage of routes. Over 22,000 kilometers of cycle paths wind their way through the country, offering plenty of opportunities for exploration. Netherlands bike paths are safe and diverse. If you really enjoy cycling, a Netherlands biking journey should not be skipped. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just starting out, there are easy and more challenging routes that will fit your skill level. Make sure to plan your tour accordingly and choose a route that is suitable for your experience and fitness level.

explore small dutch villages

Enjoy the Culture and cuisine of Dutch villages, towns, and cities. Discover hidden gems along your route with your bike!

As you explore the Netherlands with your bike, you’ll get to enjoy unique cultural experiences. From mouthwatering traditional cuisine to long-standing traditions and picturesque villages, there’s something for everyone at every turn. Stop in quaint cafes and try local dishes or pull over for a picnic in a park. Bike alongside canals for stunning views of rural life or seek out hidden gems along cobblestone streets in the bustling city centers of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam. Wherever your bicycle tour takes you, the stunning sights and friendly locals will make it a memorable journey!