Amsterdam – The City of Bicycles

Amsterdam is well-known because it is home to many famous monuments and interesting historic sites, like the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank house because it is the city of liberalizations and one of the favorite travel destinations by young people, but it is also famous because it is the city of bikes. Bikes and bicycle paths are part of the daily life of Amsterdam, and you can realize that as soon as you arrive in the city: when you go out the train station you cannot but notice the huge three-floor bike park, which is always full of all types of bikes and which immediately gives tourists the idea of what they can expect from the city. The city has an extensive network of bicycle paths, which gives you the possibility to visit the city riding your bike instead of riding the car or using public transportation. There is about 400 km of bicycle paths in Amsterdam, and it has to be pointed out that the bicycle paths of Amsterdam were built many years before all the other European cities. A peculiarity that the city shares with many other cities in the Netherlands, also thanks to a flat terrain that makes it easier to ride the bike. As a consequence, there are many bikes in the city: for 724,000 citizens there are about 600,000 bikes, which means almost one for each person. And these are not bikes that are kept in a box and used only once in a while to make an excursion. The people of Amsterdam use the bike to go to work, to school, to do some shopping … they use it every day! As a consequence, also the tourists that visit the city are induced to go to one of the many shops that rent bikes and choose the model that they prefer to go to and discover the city and its surroundings. The city meets the needs of the tourists that wish to visit the city by bike providing them with a special map of the bicycle paths that also gives some hints about the safer places for cyclists. There are also special road signs, specially conceived for cyclists, and when you decide to stop you can easily find a park for your bike: throughout the city, indeed, there are many bicycle racks. Sporty people might enjoy going out of town and ride their bike to visit the cities nearby: Dutch bicycle paths, indeed, gives you the possibility to do that. And if during your trip you are too tired to keep riding your bike, or the weather is too bad, you can easily take the train or the metro: both means of transports, indeed, have special coaches for bikes. The culture of bicycles in Amsterdam originated in the 1960s when the environmental movement of Provos tried to promote the use of bikes providing the inhabitants with bikes that they could use and then leave in special parks. The aptitude for the use of bikes did not cease in the following decades, and in the last ten years, the municipality of the city has allocated about 14 million euros to build bicycle paths. For all these reasons Amsterdam is not only a beautiful and picturesque city, but it is also attentive to environmental problems and notably suitable for bicycle touring. Spending some days in Amsterdam and visiting it by bike means discovering a wonderful city having the possibility of doing that in a different way, to feel like a real inhabitant of the city.