Netherlands By Bike
Getting a closer look...
A selection of news and short documentaries on Dutch life, bicycling and historical events.
If you are thinking about a bicycling holiday to the Netherlands, this is the place to start!
Some trips to consider...
Allow us to introduce you to some of our favorite bicycle tour routes.
Here are some bike travel ideas we think you should know about.
Notes about frame locks:
Amsterdam and other large Dutch cities have crime like anywhere else. North American visitors don't typically think about bicycles as a major crime target but in the land of bicycles, they are easily trafficked. They are a cheap commodity that is stolen and sold. Thieves look for easy targets... especially high end bicycles. In fact, many Dutch bicycle commuters in large cities ride clunkers to work and keep their nice weekend bikes at home. Don't give them the opportunity. Be smart and always consider your situation.
Tip: We recommend you never leave your bike locked outside on the street overnight (under any circumstances) and that you choose a hotel that will provide a secure location to store your bike inside. Asking a hotel to securely store your bike is common in the Netherlands and is not considered an unreasonable request, especially in large cities. Always ask! Most hotels prohibit keeping bicycles in your room so always verify secure storage when booking your hotel. This problem is not an issue in rural areas but you should always be vigilant to protect your vital holiday asset.
Choosing a cable: Here is one place where saving valuable weight doesn't pay off. You really need to purchase a heavy duty chain lock. A cable lock doesn't provide an adequate safety rating and you are taking serious risks if you use one as your primary lock. Cable cutters are a common tool for thieves.
Tip: You'll be jumping on and off your bike a lot so make convenience an important part of your decision. Locking up is a constant annoyance that you must live with. Fumbling around with multiple locks, cables and keys will drive you crazy! If considering a rear wheel frame lock, select a non-removable key version. You will be glad you did.
ABUS Chain Lock with integrated lock and protective sleeve.
All modern Dutch bicycles come with a rear wheel frame lock eliminating the need for a separate cable or chain for the rear wheel
Frame locks are common in Europe and they are meant to be screwed directly to mounting bosses which are welded on the bike frame by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, most North American bike frames don't have these mounting points. Not to worry as ABUS sells the LH adapter strap kit sold separately so be sure to order this. The adapter utilizes two thin stainless steel straps (not plastic) with tamper-proof screw mounts which secure the lock to the bike. Once the lock is engaged, the wheel is not going anywhere!
The lock is available in either a R (key retaining) version or NR (non-key retaining) version. A retaining key (R) is one that stays physically locked within the key tumbler until you lock your bike. Once locked, you can remove the key. Otherwise it stays with the bike while it's in the riding position. The advantage to this is that it saves you from looking for they key each time that you want to lock your bike as it's always ready to go.
You need to be cautious when ordering from US suppliers as our research has found that the default style is typically "NR" (non-key retaining) yet this is not always clearly stated. If you want key-retaining (recommended) then consider purchasing from a European supplier such as bike24.com in Germany that clearly provides this information and options when ordering.
Never park your bike overnight on the street regardless of locks.
Always ask hotel in advance for secure indoor or outdoor storage at night.
Heavy chain lock only. Never use cable lock except as a secondary lock.
Always secure your frame to a rigid fixed post or railing. Never allow freestanding!
Look for this sign
"bikes will be removed"
A properly locked bike on a canal bridge
There has been a huge investment in public bicycle parking facilities throughout the Netherlands over the last decade and they are constantly modernizing and expanding capacity to satisfy the never ending demand for more. These parking facilities are run either by city municipalities or by train provider NS and typically offer the first 24 hours for free. You will find both Self Service and Guarded facilities. We only recommend a staffed guarded bicycle storage facility (Bewaakte Fietsenstalling) and advise staying away from free self-service unguarded storage.
As is common in most of Europe, the train stations are located in the heart of most cities so it makes sense to concentrate most parking facilities in and around NS train stations. For overnight storage be aware of the hours for each facility as most open very early in the morning and close very late or just after the arrival of the last train of the night. Some locations are now starting to offer 24-7 hours.
A new modern bicycle storage facility at Utrecht Centraal Station Opened in 2019
Tip: Stay away from the outdoor commuter parking lots located outside most large train stations. Many of these old style parking areas are a jungle of bikes squeezed into very confined parking spaces and the bikes are prone to damage from inconsiderate bicyclists who are in a rush to and from their jobs each day. You deserve better!
A quick Google search for "Bewaakte Fietsenstalling" (Guarded bike storage) in your current city will point you in the right direction and provide better alternatives.
Outdoor bicycle parking at Amsterdam Centraal Station
The NS Fietsenstallings are the fastest growing segment in public storage facilities in the Netherlands right now as they currently have the deep government funding and a mandate from the traveling public. They are constantly being modernized in order to provide more efficient and ergonomic bike storage technology as well as keeping up with the overwhelming demand for more storage.
It's impossible to provide a truly up-to-date list of guarded bike storage locations for NS as they don't publish a comprehensive list. For example, we are aware of two such locations, Rotterdam and Delft, which are reported by local press as being over utilized and at near full capacity which could explain why they are not advertised. We encourage you to do your own internet research.
Available at these NS Stations
Updated: January 2020
Payment: These Fietsenstallings are optimized to process bicyclists in and out quickly through use of a personal ov-chipkaart. Unfortunately, it will not work with the anonymous card. You will need to see the manager to process your payment directly. No cash. Chip and Pin credit card or ATM with Pin should work.
image Angeliek de Jonge
A multilevel rack system at Utrecht Centraal Station
Image Raymond Rutting / de Volkskrant
Entrance station at Gustav Mahlerplein in Amsterdam Zuid
Free guarded storageGratis bewaakte stallingMunicipal parking is provided in most cities and is operated by either the municipality or run in cooperation with a private business. They can be found scattered around cities but especially near shopping districts and transportation hubs. The city of Amsterdam maintains the largest parking system by far.
Tip: It is essential to have a kickstand on your bike in order to use many of these facilities. Make sure your chain lock is long enough to allow you to lock your frame to a front wheel-style rack. A chain lock that is too short makes it impossible to lock your bike in these situations.