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Dutch cycling culture

2 June 2016 - Anthony Laplagne

The Netherlands has to be one of the best places in Europe for a cycling holiday. The country’s infrastructure has been developed with the cyclist in mind and so it is perhaps fitting that there are more bikes than residents in the Netherlands. At Europe Active, we offer two cycling holidays in the country, which are based on two of the best Dutch cycling routes. Cycling in the Netherlands is one of our all time favourite adventure cycling holidays in Europe. Here’s a taster of why we think the Dutch cycling culture is fabulous:

How the ‘cycling paradise’ came about
Before World War II, most journeys in the Netherlands were made by bike. But by the 1950s and 1960s, there had been a substantial increase in car ownership and therefore, the number of journeys made by car.  The Dutch noticed a correlation with the number of deaths on the roads, and the proportion of those fatalities that were children. So, a social movement was born called ‘Stop de Kindermoord’, or Stop the child murder’. This, along with the oil crisis of 1973, motivated the Dutch government to invest in and improve the Netherlands cycling infrastructure.

Cyclists at the heart of road system
There are 35,000km or 20,000 miles of Dutch cycling paths. And the country’s road rules have cyclists at their centre. Drivers are automatically liable for any accidents involving cyclists. And given that most drivers are cyclists too, there’s very little room for not understanding cyclists’ needs. It is one of the lowest risk places to cycle.

Cycling in the Netherlands

Where cycling is a passion
There are more bikes than residents in the Netherlands. And it seems that everyone loves cycling. What’s fascinating is that although cycling is a passion, you rarely spot anyone in lycra. And an old bike full of character is more of a status symbol than the latest model!

A great location for cyclists of all levels
The Netherlands is well suited to bikes because the country is mostly flat. Added to this the journey times between one point and another are usually quite short, so it’s a great place for bicycle holidays and cyclists of all abilities.

Great for families
Given that it’s so flat, it is an easy country for children to explore by bike. The routes are safe and are well thought out and are usually for bikes alone. Added to that there is a lot to see on a family cycling holiday in the region.

The sights you can see by bike
The Netherlands is beautiful and peaceful. And when you are on your bike, you are even closer to your lovely surroundings. Our five-day Europe Active trip in the Northern Netherlands is a great option for cyclists of all abilities, and you’ll experience tulip fields, farmland and authentic Dutch villages like Edam and Volendam as well as the city of Amsterdam. The tour also takes in the plethora of windmills and wooden houses of the Zaanse Schans area.

Our Europe Active Dutch Nostalgia trip of the Ijsselmeer is extraordinary, peaceful and picture perfect. Starting in one of the most beautiful, natural regions in Veluwe, the route will take you on a cycle around the Ijsselmeer Lake and take in the beautiful Dutch polder landscapes and its romantic and historical villages. It is one of the best Dutch cycle routes.

Cycling Netherlands

If you think the Netherlands is your ideal location for your bicycle holidays, take a look at the Europe Active website at  for more information on our Dutch cycling trips. They offer something to cyclists of every age, stage and ability. Check it out.

And whilst you are there, have a look at the Europe Active blog for a whole host of cycling information from thoughts about what to pack for cycling holidays through to  how to best prepare yourself for a cycling holiday. Our blog is a cycling goldmine!

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