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Published on December 9th, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan

20

#1 Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Great Bicycle City Photo Tour

Topping yet another bicycle list, Amsterdam is #1 here because of the great bicycle photos to follow along with the fact that 40% of traffic is bicycle traffic in Amsterdam and the city is full of bicycle facilities, including a 10,000-bicycle parking garage at its train station.

Amsterdam may not have as high a percentage of bicycle commuters as its Dutch neighbor to the north, Groningen, or as much bike-crazy counter-culture as Portland (Oregon), or the largest bicycle sharing program in the world like in Paris, or naked bicycle rides like in Barcelona and Portland, but compared to these and other world cities I think it is pretty well established now that it and Copenhagen are in a tight competition for the top position. Amsterdam tops this list because of the great photos to follow.

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The photos here show love and kisses on bikes, tons of bike parking, creative family bikes, flower bikes, and various cargo bikes, among other things.

Everyone rides a bike in the Netherlands, even Santa Clause (or Sinterklaas). Riding a bike doesn’t take away from women’s fashion at all either, but adds to it here. Biking is a part of normal life — perhaps that is why the Dutch are so calm.


As the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, a major global city, and a major transportation hub, Amsterdam is the most well-known bicycle city in the Netherlands. But it is really a representation of the country as a whole — the country is filled with wide, colored bike lanes (I think it is a requirement in every municipality and you even see them in the countryside), bike garages and bridges, bicycle short-cuts, and very high percentages of trips being made by bicycle in cities large and small. As the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam represents its country well.

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” ~John F. Kennedy

“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.” ~H.G. Wells

The pages to follow cover:

Page #2 Tons of Bike Parking in Amsterdam
Page #3 Bicycle? (known as a Penny-Farthing, High Wheeler or Ordinary Bicycle)
Page #4 Tons of Bike Minivans and Family Bikes
Page #5 Bikes, Rain, and Canals
Page #6 Bike Taxis
Page #7 Women’s Fashion and Bikes
Page #8 Creative Bikes and Flowers
Page #9 Interesting Cargo Bikes
Page #10 Love & Kisses & Bikes

The final top ten list of great bicycle city photo tours is:

#1 Amsterdam, (the Netherlands)
#2 Beijing (China)
#3 Portland, Oregon (USA)
#4 Copenhagen (Denmark)
#5 Paris (France)
#6 Groningen (the Netherlands)
#7 Berlin (Germany)
#8 Barcelona (Spain)
#9 Bogota (Columbia)
#10 Basel (Switzerland)

Image Credit 1: Baptiste Pons via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: Baptiste Pons via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 3: * mario * via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 4: Vitorio Benedetti via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 5: PjotrP via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 6: aloxe via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 7: ansik via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 8: Zachary Shahan
Image Credit 9: Zachary Shahan
Image Credit 10: mandiberg via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 11: joto25 via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 12: dibaer via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 13: FaceMePLS via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 14: joiseyshowaa via flickr under a Creative Commons license






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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Gerard Vaughan

    yes, bikes must come back – if they were ever “here”. British cities were never crowded with them, and there is just Me with veliko Tarnovo all to myself most times I look for another. I see no effort- serious or otherwise – on the part of government of either uk or Bulgaria to right this wrong. Try getting a bike on a bus !. I managed it on only one lucky occasion, when the bus was nearly empty and I was far from home. Meanwhile they continue to “invest” in the completely un-self-sustaining “technology” known as Windfarms.
    The world needs
    “Bike-busses”
    Electric propusion units fittable to bikes, like there were petrol ones in the 1950’s. I could design the prototype if they could pay .0001% ? of what they are on their window-dressing “Windfarms”.

  • Don

    But I saw on Fox News that the Netherlands in general, and Amsterdam in particular, is a hell hole of socialized medicine, drugs, prostitution, and the depravity that we all must resist. How can you depict this Gomorrah in such a favorable light?

  • Zachary Shahan

    Well, the Netherlands has one of the highest standards of living in the world (‘3rd most pleasant country to live in’ out of 193 according to a 2007 Quality of Life Index — http://www.nfia.com/qualitylife.html — and 5th according to the UN — http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/local_news/netherlands-placed-5th-in-un-quality-of-life-report-9597.html). I lived there for 5 months and can say it is much nicer than living in the US, and much more civil in my mind. Not sure what Fox News showed, but I was surprised at the great quality of life there, so maybe it is the actually Fox News’ agenda or coverage.

  • rick

    Fox news is owned by Murdoch. He has an agenda to be sure. If this were the 40’s in Germany he would be a hitler youth. He owns alot of media and if he had his way there would be only one network and one world view (His). He has been caught using using old election tapes of palin and using them in the background to show crowds at her book signing for only one instance. John Stewart is his most hated enemy because his team catches stuff nobody else seem to.

  • rick

    These are wonderful pictures of a great place. I have it on my places to visit. Great article. By the way, wind generation has a whole new twist. Check out the future starting in 2010 by windtronics. I will be installing these and do what they say. As of December 2009 they are producing product!

  • Suzanne

    Hey Don, do you really believe that? To me (Dutch) it is avery weird that anyone could believe that. Come and visit our country (at a moment we’re not too high on bikes) !

  • http://www.planetthoughts.org David – green thoughts

    This reminds me of my first trip to Europe, which was to the Netherlands and the three northern Scandinavian countries. I was so impressed by the bicycle traffic in Copenhagen and Amsterdam! It seemed to me even then, at age 15, that they knew something that we had forgotten in the United Stated, that using one’s own energy and determination was superior to being carried along. As with many intuitions that we all feel as youths, it was 100% correct.

  • Ben

    To Gerard, for your info many large bike manufacturers are producing bikes with electrical motors to assist you. I work in a bike shop here in Amsterdam and we sell quite a few. Perhaps in more hilly parts of the world they would be more use. However, when you have two kids and a week’s worth of grocery’s on your bike it can be helpful even in a place as flat as this. The bridges are pretty steep!
    To Don, the utter ignorance of some people amazes me. In a time when the average American is consuming so much of the Earth’s resources I find it startling that you find yourself on such a moral high ground. I have lived here for the past year and consider it to be a very beautiful and happy place to live. I think that just the fact that you can get around by bike helps to large extent. I have only spent a very short time in the US and I didn’t have a car. If there was to be a competition for “hell hole of a place” I would say Houston would have to be much higher up the list, even with its arcane drugs policy and health care for the rich. Give me Amsterdam anyday….

    Nice photos by the way….

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  • BikeFan

    Don was kidding. Viva bikes!

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  • xblaster3

    I need your support. The traditional bicycle has a less than 1 mechanical advantage, say, a gear ratio of 12:48 means .25 mechanical advantage for speed. However, one cannot keep going for long on this gear ratio and one would simply slow down exhausted in short time. Imagine my bicycle with more than 4 solid mechanical advantage. This means one can go on high gears and proceed on his/her top speed without having to work hard on the pedals. You save your energy while going distances in short time. Kindly visit my site: http://www.higheasepeedbicycle.weebly.com

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