Dutch Quirk #2: Bike with an umbrella

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #2: Bike with an umbrella

Ah, autumn in the Netherlands. Every year, we get excited about buying fairy lights, cosying up under a blanket, and eating hutspot. However, the season of gezelligheid comes as a package deal with — you guessed it — rain.

So, let’s look at how to brave the autumnal weather like a true Dutchie: Step one, bike (duh). Step two, level up and bike with an umbrella. Wait… what?!

What is it?

As we know, the Netherlands is a cycling country, so during your time here, you’ll meet many different types of cyclists.

None, however, impress us as much as the people who bike with umbrellas. 🤯

You’ll see them whooshing by with one hand on the handlebar and the other clinging to an umbrella, which they use as a shield to face the wind and rain head-on.

The real pros even have a special cycling umbrella in an elongated shape to unlock those extra aerodynamic powers.

Why do they do it?

One answer is that the Dutch battle against water cannot stop at dikes or even raingear.

They must assert their power over the elements by braving them and finding new tools (cue, the cycling umbrella) to do so.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #102: refuse to drive drunk, but biking drunk is fine (of course)

Another answer is to, well, protect themselves from the rain. 💁‍♂️

Why is it quirky? 

Considering that the Netherlands has a (relatively) well-functioning public transport system, that good raingear would keep them just as dry, and that it must slow them down, biking with an umbrella honestly just seems like a lot of unnecessary effort.

But we must commend the Dutch for trying. It’s a brave move.

Translation: “Give me the confidence of people who cycle with an umbrella”.

Should you join in? 

If you want to master a true Dutch quirk, sure! Maybe biking with an umbrella could be seen as the ultimate integration test. 🤔

Otherwise, we’d stick to just biking in slightly better weather or investing in some top-notch rain gear.

Have you experienced this Dutch quirk? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2021 and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).


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