Buying a new bike in the Netherlands? Getting a second-hand fiets in Amsterdam? Or thinking about renting a bicycle in the Netherlands?

Here you finally are, either an international student – some IT-expat or a regular tourist: it doesn’t matter that much. You saw the movies, laughed at the memes and now you want in – you want to ride that ‘omafiets’ through those Dutch streets like a proper Dutchman. But how to get a bicycle in the Netherlands?

Get a bike, and this can be you!!
Get a bike, and this can be you!!

Renting a bike for a day is a bit expensive when you need one for half a year and when you’re some Italian student in Amsterdam you want a cheap bigi pronto as well. So let me show you 4 ways (of the Dutch!) on how to obtain a bicycle in these low lands.

  1. Buy a bicycle in a shop.

    This one is a no-brainer. Throughout Dutch towns and villages, as common as freckles on a ginger kid, you’ll find wholesome Dutch bike shops. They’ll give you good advice on which bicycle to buy and will happily sell you a Batavus or Gazelle ‘fiets’  for around the same price of a shitty car. Heck, if they sell you that hyped electric bicycle then you might as well have bought a decent electric car.

    Advice: if you’ve got the money and want to bike around town for years to come, this is the way to go.

  2.  Get a bicycle second hand (legally)

    ‘Op een oude fiets moet je het leren’  is a famous Dutch saying which has nothing to do with second-hand bikes. Some bicycle repair shops sell second-hand bikes they ‘found’ and patched up for around 100 euros or more, which is a bit expensive for some.
    amsterdam-234527_1280

    And of course Marktplaats and numerous Facebook groups are also littered with second-hand bikes. But watch out, sometimes these bikes are stolen and the thieves sell em on at these online platforms.

    Advice: great deals can be found sometimes, but be prepared for some serious haggling and shady figures

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  3. Second-hand bikes (illegally)

    Ah, the way none of the official blogs or websites want to write about. For some of you wondering who the hell steals all those bikes, well the answer is: almost anybody. So you too can be a bike stealing person! Heck, that profession is non-discriminatory; everybody can join in. Bike theft is an even bigger thing in student cities. In cities like Leiden, Groningen or Delft lots of students replace their stolen iron horse instantly by boosting another bike. There’s a certain code of honor — supposedly one only steals bikes that are shitty and old (but because a code of honor among criminals is often violated many times, it might be a wise idea to get bicycle insurance).

    And then there’s the slightly less criminal (but still pretty criminal) option of buying a bike on the streets from a junkie. In case you’re still using foreign naiveté as a pretense — yes these bikes are always stolen.

    'Yeah, that bike is legit man! Only 10 bucks!'
    ‘Yeah, that bike is legit man! Only 10 bucks!’

    Advice: Don’t do it man! It’s not worth it to risk it. People ruin their careers because they’re being caught stealing a bike while drunk on a Tuesday night. 

4. Renting a bicycle in the Netherlands

It’s about time that these old ways of getting a bicycle in the Netherlands are supplemented by something better.

Renting a bicycle with Bimbim Bikes is a very easy way getting your hands on a bike in the Netherlands! Here are the steps:

  1. You go to Bimbim Bikes’ website
  2. You choose your location and the type of bicycle you would like to cycle with
  3. Their website then shows you a map of all the spots within your area where they offer Bimbim Bikes, as well as the prices for renting a fiets in a Dutch town
    renting a bicycle in Amsterdam
    Tons of choices to rent a bike in Amsterdam
  4. If you’re looking for renting a bicycle within a specific price range, you can always adjust that. And if you’re not sure what you’re getting for the different prices, Bimbim Bikes offer you images of the bicycles and their price so that you can make the best choice possible.
  5. Once you have chosen the bike you want to hire Bimbim Bikes asks you to pick the time and date of your bicycle reservation.
  6. Bimbim Bikes also gives you the option of selecting a gender, as well as filling in your height details, to make sure that the bicycle you get will be just the right fit for you (short people like me can relate).
  7. After that, you just have to fill in your details, complete your online payment, and voilà! Now you have a bicycle to ride around on in the Netherlands!

If you happen to change your mind and decide that you’re in no mood to ride a bicycle around Holland, Bimbim Bikes gives you free cancellation up to 24 hours before pick-up.  So you don’t need to worry about wasting your money, just because Dutch weather decided to be…well, Dutch.

rent a bicycle in the Netherlands
Cycling level: Ultimate Dutchness – Photo: Flickr/Chris Goldberg

What makes Bimbim Bikes even more amazing, is that they are a platform that cooperates with more than 1650 bike rental partners all over the world. So if you enjoy cycling and staying healthy while visiting other countries, then renting a bicycle in the Netherlands with Bimbim Bikes is the perfect option for you!

So that’s it! Hope my advice on how to get a bike in the Netherlands comes in handy! What are your preferred ways of getting a bicycle in the Netherlands? And how are your experiences with renting a bicycle in the Netherlands?

13 COMMENTS

  1. So you say that 100 euro for second-hand bike is expensive for some and recommend them to lease for 9 euro per month, when the guys require to lease at least for 1 year, which gives us 108 euro 😉 well, like any lease, it is not a bad option since it is care-free, but I do think that for 100 euro you can find a nice second-hand bike which will be all yours and will last – let’s say – 1.5-2 years, after which you will trade it in for 25 euro at the same second-hand shop. Well, you will probably spend some money on repairs, depending on your luck, maybe 50 or even 100 euro for these 2 years. So in total 100+100-25=175 for 2 years, comparing to 216 with EasyLease. Again, not saying that it is a bad option, the extra is for care-free service and for the fact that you do not depend on your luck. But financially speaking, you will probably pay more, which makes sense.

    • Good point, but if you’re staying in a city like Leiden for half a year (like plenty of Erasmus people) and have no idea how to fix a tire then this is I think the best way to go 🙂 Also just weird that there aren’t any more businessmodels like that around

      • Agreed, for short-term lease it might be a good option. But then again, these guys do not allow you to lease a bike for less than 1 year for this price. You will have to add extra 27 euro. So for 6 month they ask the total of 81 euro (excluding deposit which you will get back of course). This might be still reasonable, but it is really on the border… Maybe it’s an idea for the competition to target the short-lease groups better =)

  2. Nice article! But as it seems there are no good websites that directly focus on bikes. I mean yes there is Marktplaats but it is not bike oriented. Only good website I found for finding nearby bikes, bike parts and services in netherlands is http://www.qomli.com. If you guys know of any other websites like this please reply.

  3. What if you don’t live in Leiden? Are there any EasyFiets stores around NL?
    If not you should change your title to “How to get a bike in Leiden”. Just saying.

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