Typically, when looking at the traffic in Amsterdam, you’ll see nothing, but bicycles. Most of them- heading to work, transporting children and pets, carrying groceries and flowers in their baskets or transporting some large size objects like furniture, in a ratio that would not be possible in any other city but this.
Even though, it might seem like the Dutch people have always been riding bicycles, the truth is- there has been massive work done by the government and an impressive willpower from the locals, to turn Amsterdam into the cycling-friendly city we know today.
Most visitors are still shocked in a good way by the amount of bicycles parked everywhere, and the wide variety of cyclists: from students to police officers and from bank staff to couriers, cycling is the most common choice of transport. It really is THAT common- even King Willem-Alexander also cycles regularly.
Here are some more interesting and fun facts about the cycling community and bicycles in Amsterdam:
1. Rolling rebellion in wartime
Cycling was the main mode of transportation in pre-war times, so when the German occupation in 1940 started, Amsterdam cyclists purposely slowed up convoys and refused to give way to German vehicles.
2. Amsterdammers bicycle about two million kilometers every day.
In 767km of cycle paths, locals manage to bicycle all combined around 2 million kilometers per day!
3. There is a museum where you can cycle through.
Amsterdam has the world's only museum ”Rijskmuseum”, where you can cycle through the passage underneath it. In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors. It is also the largest art museum in the country.
4. There are more than 881,000 bicycles in Amsterdam
And there are only around 200,000 cars. The bike usage in the city has grown by almost 40% in the last 20 years! On average, around only 19% of citizens use private cars on a daily basis. Weird, but fact, that at least one car gets pulled out of Amsterdam's canals each week.
5. 75% of Amsterdammers ride a bike on a daily basis all year round.
Even though the average temperature in winter is above zero degrees, there are snowy days too, but it does not stop the locals from pedaling their way to work!
And, by the way, did you know you can get free access to all major museums in winter in Amsterdam?
6. 100 000 bicycles stolen each year
Some estimate around 100 000 bicycles being stolen each year, so locals always use extra security on their bikes and keep an eye on them. Check how to secure your bike on our recent blog post HERE.
7. Between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles are pulled out of Amsterdam’s canals each year.
Where do they come from?- one may wonder. Well - the owners won’t throw them into the water so quickly (even though 881 000 bikes could create a lot of bike-waste), it’s more likely either theft or vandalism is the reason for the bicycles to end up in the canals. So the government organizes a yearly canal clean up to fish out all the bikes.
8. Most photographed spot in Amsterdam- the central station bike parking.
One of the most photographed sights in Amsterdam is the bicycle parking at Amsterdam Central Station with 10 000 velo parking spaces. Local bicyclists usually calculate extra 5 minutes to find a bike parking spot.
9. Dutch cyclists don’t wear helmets
You might wonder how is that safe, but for almost 17 years every car driver has been sharing roads with cyclists (which take 27% of the traffic), so they are very aware of how bicyclists tend to drive and respect them. Dutch car users are so used to sharing the road, which in itself leads to far fewer fatalities. Also- the dutch children get traffic lessons from age 5!
But nothing can be more exciting that experiencing the culture and extraordinary aspects of the bicyle metropolis. There is no other city like Amsterdam, so if you're a velo-lover it is a "must-see" and "must-cycle there" city!
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