How Amsterdam became a bicycle paradise (video inside!)

Did you know you are around 20 times more likely to get injured while riding a bike in the US than in Holland?

In the Netherlands, almost a quarter of the population cycles every day, with most residents here owning a bike and most kids cycling to school each morning. In this article we’ll tell you how Amsterdam came to be the bicycle paradise it is today. 

If you’ve recently moved to the Netherlands, you might be considering buying a bike. And you should! Riding a bike is one of the easiest ways to not only reduce the risk of damaging your own bod, but also the environment.

It’s fun, healthy, and not to mention cheap, which is why it’s so great that cycling is given such importance in this country.

Levi Hildebrand made a nice video about the bike culture of Amsterdam:

Was it always this way?

Not at all. After WWII, cars were all the rage. The Dutchies (like many others) were scrambling to get their paws on shiny modern motors that they could brag about to their neighbours.

It is sad now to think how many bikes were left to rust away in garden sheds just so traffic could jam up the city’s lovely narrow lanes. They even proposed filling in the canals with concrete!?

In the above video, learn all about how the concept of ‘Living Streets’ (or Woonerf), was realised in the Netherlands in order to restrict traffic casualties.

As someone who came here from England, I can certainly say that I have never felt safer on a bike. We often joke about cyclists having the highest status on the roads here, but it’s true. The video makes a good point; it’s not just safety in numbers, it’s power!

READ MORE: Do’s and don’ts of riding a bicycle in the Netherlands

If you also love how accommodating the Netherlands is for bikes – if you, like me, know that it’s way better than cycling in your home country — then check out the next video:

Do you enjoy the biking paradise this country managed to create? Let us know in the comments!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2019, and was fully updated in October 2022 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Abigail Claire
Abigail Claire
Abbie, a writer from the UK, fell in love with the Netherlands when she was three years old. When she’s not spending her free time painting canals or playing the guitar, she’ll be off travelling somewhere (and probably getting lost).

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