Bicycles are everywhere in the Netherlands. I mean, everywhere! In fact, bikes are the most popular form of transportation in the country. From young children to elderly grandparents, you’ll find them riding bicycles in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and in the countryside. As an American expat living in the Netherlands, my family has fully embraced this Dutch tradition. If you want to live like the locals during a vacation here, then you must rent bicycles and hit the bike paths. Learn about bicycling with kids in the Netherlands.
The Dutch love of bicycles
A Dutch bicycle path through the woods (Photo credit: pikselstock, Depositphotos.com)
Bicycling is a way of life here, not just a form of recreation. It is how everyone gets around. With a country as flat as the Netherlands, biking to and fro is a delight. My family has found that warm summer weather brings out even the most novice of riders.
My husband and I love bicycling with our kids in the Netherlands. Every chance we get we’ll helmet up and hit the nicely paved bike paths. We love pedaling through the woods on an immaculate bike path, passing walkers, equestrians and even ice cream carts along the way.
Venturing further as a family
Bicyclists in Ameland, the Netherlands (Photo credit: Tasfoto, Depositphotos.com)
Our newest love is going for longer family bike rides on Sundays. During the week I shuttle my three young sons to school and run errands in our town’s small center, all via bicycle. We enjoy the peddling-lifestyle so much, we like to give ourselves a more of a challenge on the weekends.
Dutch cargo bikes
Cargo bicycle in the Netherlands (Photo credit: Nicknick_ko, Depositphotos.com)
Cargo bikes are a great option for parents cycling with young children. The most popular cargo bike here is the Bakfiets, which you will see all over the Netherlands and Germany. Ours is an American import. We bought a Madsen cargo bicycle with a back bucket seat for the kids. Our bike gets quite a bit of attention here, simply because it looks different from the front-bucket bikes that everyone else has. We have seat belts in ours, just like the Dutch versions. It’s also got benches for our children to sit on and enough room for a few packages to boot.
Bicycle safety in the Netherlands
I wasn’t kidding when I said the Dutch love their bicycles! (Photo credit: megashurik, Depositphotos.com)
Our American family gets some strange looks riding around with helmets since helmet-less heads are the standard in the Netherlands. However, I won’t compromise on safety even if we do look odd to locals. Interestingly enough, right next door in Germany, my friends have told me that helmets are required. Still, it’s important to note that the Dutch have created an environment where bicycling is typically safer than it is in the U.S. with plentiful well-marked, bike-only paths. Most serious bike injuries are caused by cars and other vehicles striking bicyclists.
Rent bicycles in the Netherlands
A mom and her kids bicycling past tulip fields in the Netherlands (Photo credit: shalamov, Depositphotos.com)
In the Netherlands, we have the luxury of well-maintained bike paths, car drivers who are used to sharing the roads with bicyclists, and no hills (for the most part). We’re lucky to be here and travel using such a healthy, environmentally friendly and fun way. It’s easy to rent bicycles of all sorts in the Netherlands. Take a look at Netherlands bike rental options here.
Bicycling on vacation
Parents and their children riding bikes near the famous windmills of Kinderdijk in the Netherlands (Photo credit: shotsstudio, Depositphotos.com)
Next time you go on vacation in the Netherlands or elsewhere, I encourage you to rent some bikes. Try out a tandem or maybe even get a cargo bike if they have one! You might be surprised by how much your family enjoys exploring the world via bicycle together.