Netherlands By Bike


Rent, Bring or Buy?

Option:  Rent

Perfect for convenience and short distances

A touring bike needs to be rugged, comfortable, sized properly and well maintained in order to handle the long miles and weight of you and your gear. You may find it difficult to locate a bike shop that offers such a bike to fulfill your needs. Most shop owners are not willing to carry the liability of theft and damage to rent out quality touring bikes to foreigners, therefore making this an unprofitable business.


You will, however, be able to find bike shops that rent bicycles that are acceptable for light duty use and shorter trips. If your situation requires this, just be sure that your expectations are clear. Most rental bikes are city and commuter grade bicycles and are generally not dependable or comfortable enough for long distance trips.


Option:  Bring

You love your bike and want to bring it

If you feel comfortable with the process of boxing your bike, transporting it by air and re-assembling it on your arrival, this is the option for you.


Let’s face it, you have the luxury of fully outfitting and testing your bike and gear long before you get over there and you have the added confidence and familiarity of having your own bike. A major advantage of bringing your own bike, despite the hassle of transporting it, is that you are ready to go on day one... or two. You can eat up a lot of precious vacation time trying to outfit a rental bike in order for it to meet your needs.


Schiphol is one of the most bicycle-friendly airports in Europe and provides a safe and convenient location to unbox your bike, store it if needed, and even purchase a new box for your return trip. And better yet, you have a modern and safe bike pathway system out of the airport to your first holiday destination.


The cost of flying with your bicycle just got cheaper on some major US airlines as your box is now treated as part of your standard baggage allowance as long as it meets size and weight limits.

Bicycle boxes for sale at Schiphol

Option:  Buy

Purchase a new Dutch touring bike and bring it home

Buying a Dutch touring bike is an investment that may appeal to you if you want the ultimate experience and also have the extra time available to explore The Netherlands and points beyond.
Here is how the process might work...
  • You could start by taking a look at two of the finest Dutch-made touring bicycles, Santos and Koga. They both provide a detailed online customization form allowing you to pick and price every possible option they offer. These are amazing bikes that are worthy of your consideration.
  • You order your bike through an authorized dealer at least 6 weeks in advance. Be prepared to wire transfer a deposit directly to the bicycle shop in order to begin the ordering process. Bring your own panniers and handlebar bag from home to save time and avoid paying VAT taxes. Just be sure to order your bike with fenders, kickstand and the traditional rear wheel lock.
  • Tour around The Netherlands and Europe for up to 90 days.
  • Assuming you are departing from Amsterdam, have your sales document stamped by Dutch Customs at Schiphol and then email a copy to your dealer, where they will arrange for a full refund of your VAT to your bank account via wire transfer.
  • Enjoy the memories and your new best friend from Holland!

Concierge Service

If you purchase a bike in the Amsterdam area, consider a bike shop offering a concierge service where they will box your bike for a modest fee and arrange for a taxi van to transport you and your bike to Schiphol for your departure.

VAT Refund Warning

If purchasing a new bike in the Netherlands, you'll pay a 21% VAT tax up front which is fully refundable, but only if you work with a bike shop that is authorized to refund your full VAT directly back to you.


We recommend that you only work with a bike dealer that offers this service and that you do not attempt to go it alone in trying to recover your VAT.

OV-fiets Rental Bikes

You will see these popular Blue and Yellow OV-fiets in and around the NS train stations for rent but unfortunately these are not available to tourists. These require a membership and a Personal OV-Chipkaart which is only available to Dutch citizens or other Euro approved residents.

Don't get too excited about renting one...