No paywall and let's keep it that way. Support reader-funded journalism, subscribe today.

DUTCH CYCLING SERIES: This is the first in a series of articles on Dutch cycling and what we can learn from their experience, culture and design.

The series follows a week-long trip to the Netherlands on a bicycle media tour, which the Embassy of the Netherlands in Dublin was kind enough to send on.

Barefoot: For starters, barefoot cycling may not typify Dutch cycling but the feeling of freedom seems to, and the bicycle is typical Dutch — mudguards, chain guard, rear carrier, and wheel lock, all adding up to a practical bicycle for everyday use:


Gender split: The male/female balance of cycling in Ireland, the UK and the US is skewed firmly towards men, but it does not have to be that way. In the Netherlands, it’s close to balanced and slightly skewed towards woman.


It’d be nice if we had the weather! We do. For example, Amsterdam has around the same climate as Dublin, but, according to some yearly records, the Dutch capital has slightly more rain. Snow is more common in the Netherlands, while Ireland can go winters without notable snowfalls. Like those who cycle in Ireland, the Dutch adapt to conditions, in their own way:


But the wind: Wind is more problematic in the Netherlands. So much so, some cycle paths require warning signs like this one:


The Netherlands is flat. Isn’t it? It mostly is. But if the wind mentioned above does not make up for hills elsewhere, Amsterdam’s canals has a load of sharply curved bridges which locals cross with style:


Cargo on board: These bridges — which you can cross a few of when cycling into Amsterdam city centre — can be a killer on single-geared rental bicycles if you lose momentum just before crossing one of them. We’re guessing it’d be something similar if riding a cargo bicycle full of children and shopping as many locals do:


And they start off young: Like most of what’s pictured here, cycling while pregnant is everyday stuff. It’s normal:


A seat with a view: Front-of-bicycle child seats are also typical:


Out on their own bike: It’s not long before Dutch children are on their own bicycles:

Dutch cycling

Hop on: Older children, if not on their own bikes, often just sit on back carrier of their parent’s bike:


Social: Giving a friend a backer is also common:


Cycling with a friend: And cycling side-by-side is standard by design:


Suit you: The lack of helmets and high-vis is the norm in the Netherlands. Yet, the country has a higher percentage of its population cycling than any other country in Europe and the best safety record.

These are not selective images, while traveling across three providences, high-vis stood out as we only spotted it used once away from construction sites and motorcycle police officers. Helmets clearly mark out sporting cyclists and tourists on rental bicycles; the only other place hard hats are visible is on the odd child. Suits are more common:


Risk takes: It’s not the Dutch don’t take apparent “risks”, like cycling under a museum where bucket loads of tourists are walking all around only half aware of the cycle path:


Hands on: Phones in the hands of people cycling can be seen all around:


Double act: Listening to music on your phone and you get a call but your headphones does not have a microphone? No problem:


Did we mention umbrellas? On a rainy mid-week morning in Utrecht we woke up to rain and locals on bicycles cycling in every direction with umbrellas — at times, up to 1 in every 4 or 5 people had an umbrella up while cycling:


This series on Dutch cycling will continue, covering issues such as cycle routes, bicycles made for carrying stuff, mass bicycle parking and more. is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

September subscription drive update: has reached its target of 270 subscribers by the end of August -- thank you to all who have helped! Our new target is to have 300 subscribers by the end of 2022 -- originally this was hoped to be exceeded by the first year of running the site full time (end of October), but this is unlikely and so the new target is the end of the year.

If you can help push above 300 subscribers, please subscribe today for €5 or more. If you have already done so -- thank you!

Please remember, every month there's a natural drop-off in subscriptions due to people getting new cards, cards stolen, Revolut not topped up etc.

*** is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.

There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for, it just needs enough people like you to believe!

Monthly subscriptions will give's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.

I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.

The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of June 2022, 250 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!

But currently, it's only around 1.6% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via

Cian Ginty


  1. In the south of the Netherlands there is a Hilly part in a Country area where it juts into the Ardenne area dont ask me what it is called,I read an article on it once on Cycling there.

  2. Great post! Another reminder that I should write up my study tour to the Netherlands, Copenhagen and Malmo from almost a year ago. Actually, I could just copy yours and replace “Ireland, the UK and the US” with “Australia” as the same applies.

    Looking forward to the next post in the series.

  3. Its fantastic to see so many bikes being used every day. But here at home there is still a LONG way to go before it is a reality here. Get the infrastructure sorted out first then see what happens.


Leave a Reply to John Power Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.