On the move in Amsterdam

Locking down my bike: Amsterdam

We never saw it coming. Even though our driver from the airport in Amsterdam (where we began our trip through The Netherlands and Belgium) told us about the bikes, we never guessed the volume, speed, and daily dose of cycling we’d see first-hand.

But as soon as we arrived in Amsterdam, we were especially grateful for the driver’s warning: Don’t walk on the red path.

Red path for bikers: Amsterdam
The red path in Amsterdam: reserved for cyclists!

According to a 2020 article Cycling in Amsterdam, “The Netherlands has a population of 17.1 million people and about a quarter of those (4.25 million) cycle every day. There are actually more bikes than people – 22.8 million bikes or about 1.33 bikes per person.” And we believe it!

After walking in and around Centraal Station, we noted people locking up bikes, taking down bikes, getting on bikes, and sometimes wondering where the heck they parked their bikes!

Bicycles locked up: Amsterdam
Bikes stowed away for another day: Centraal Station, Amsterdam

But then we fell in love with the whole biking phenomenon. Aside from the fact that we’re older and haven’t ridden in years, there was a nostalgia factor going on here. We loved seeing cyclists — young and old — passing by gorgeous Dutch architecture in pursuit of the good life. And, if you ask us, we think they’ve found it. No wonder the trend has caught on!

On any working day between 8am and 9am almost 2 million bikes will be on Dutch roads.

Cycling in Amsterdam

Some even line up for the ferry so they can bike in new places. Or reach a work destination.

Centraal Station, Amsterdam
Lined up at Centraal Station, waiting for the ferry.

After all, the ferry’s free, frequent, and full of interesting people!

Amsterdam Ferry
Amsterdam’s free ferry — for bikers, walkers, strollers — well, anyone!

Walkers and cyclists line up with bikes, babies in baskets or whatever they need for good times on the other side. And they seem pretty patient and understanding: When the horn blows, it’s too late to board. No pleading or sorrowful faces seem to matter. But another welcoming ferry comes along in only a few minutes.

The best thing about being in a city of cyclists? Watching people have fun.

Some are on a mission. But many are just cruising along the canals, taking in art at the galleries, or searching for an open-air cafe.

Riding past an open-air cafe: Netherlands
The joy of cycling in Amsterdam!

So, when in Amsterdam, watch out for red lanes. In fact, avoid them altogether when you can.

Or join the millions: rent a bike yourself to discover side streets, shops, and people enjoying life in The Netherlands. Feel the breeze blowing through your hair as you pedal yourself to new adventures.

Bicycle in Netherlands

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.

John F. Kennedy

Travel by bike,

Rusha & Bert

This post is one in a series prompted by a recent trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. Thank you to Viking cruises (Holland & Belgium 2022) and our travel agent, Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors, for the arrangements and free time to enjoy the scenery!

24 thoughts on “On the move in Amsterdam

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We were shocked to see so many bikes. Just as we were overwhelmed by motorcycle traffic in Hanoi! People are definitely on the move in different ways than we are here in Knoxville. And we love it!

  1. travelgarb

    We stayed in Haarlem to visit Amsterdam. The train station had secure parking for more than 5000 bikes but just 200 cars. I think that says something about Dutch priorities!

  2. Wetravelhappy

    Thank you for the tip – we will not walk on the red path. 🙂 Maybe I should bring a pair of rubber shoes and see if my hubby and I could rent bikes.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You may be right! We thoroughly enjoyed this trip, a second time to see Amsterdam over a 40-year span! But what fun to soak up the art, architecture and now the bicycles in this unique city! Thanks for traveling with us!

      1. Oh, the Places We See

        Thanks! We’re slowing down some, but still enjoying the moments together. We hope you and your wife are loving where you live now, but we miss your presence in Knoxville!

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