Bike fishing: a Dutch occupation you never knew existed

It’s no news that the Netherlands is a bike country. It is one of the main forms of transport and every household owns at least one bike (or 10). People go to work, carry their groceries, bike with their children (it doesn’t matter how many), move furniture and basically live with their bike. There is even a whole ‘do’s and don’ts‘ list when it comes to cycling in the Netherlands.

On the other hand, the Netherlands is also a country where water is part of life and there are hundreds of canals all over the country. So with this many bikes and this many canals around them, ever wondered “what happens to the bikes once they end up in the water?” Well, that’s why there is such thing as bike fishing! If you are clueless about what we’re talking about, here is all you need to know about this pretty awesome job.

Bike fishing: what the heck is it?

The rough number of bikes in Amsterdam is a whopping 881,000 (you heard that right) and each year Waternet (Amsterdam’s Water Authority), fishes between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles from the canals. The reason? These bikes were either thrown in deliberately, or they end up in the canals due to the weather. And with all the storms and strong winds that accompany autumn and winter in this country, it is not hard to imagine this happening.

biking through Rain netherlands
Bikes must brave the weather even while we’re cosy indoors. Image: Free-Photos/Pixabay

So as a result, the profession of “bike fisherman” was born. Their job is to keep the canals clean and safe for the boats. Hey, it is also a full-time job with benefits!

The job consists of going through the canals with a pretty awesome looking boat with its own hydraulic claw, connected to a crane that sits on the front of the boat, looking for bikes! Once you pull the bikes from the water, they all eventually end up at a recycling center. Some become beer cans and others become soda cans.

Photo-of-frozen-canal-the-Netherlands
A perfect day to go bike fishing! Image: DutchReview/ Supplied

If you see any bike fishing in action, stop and watch!

Bike fishing: see it in action!

Long story short, it’s a perfectly quirky job and we have the video to prove it! So here are “bike fishermen” on the job:

Did you know that “bike fisherman” is a job? More importantly, have you ever seen one in action? Share with us in the comments!

Feature Image: Great Big Story/YouTube
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2018, and was fully updated in October 2020 for your reading pleasure. 

Ceren Spuyman
Born and raised in Istanbul, Ceren moved when she decided to follow her own Dutchie. Being restless by nature, she is now busy with everything Dutch by majoring in Dutch Studies at Leiden University while living in Delft. Her hobbies are petting as many cats as possible.

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