The bike of

Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands. In fact, this bike-centred culture has the highest density of bicycles in the world. With roughly 18 million bikes in the country, there are about 1.3

bikes per person old enough to ride. It’s not unusual to see people ranging from 5 to 85-years-old pedalling down the bike path, wearing everything from business suits to stilettoes. Once in a while you may even witness the seemingly impossible feat of a cyclist toting two children, a load of groceries and a potted plant, while talking on a cell phone.

Once every month, the back page of Delta features an international at TU Delft who has forayed into the Dutch world of cycling. Here they share the adventures and goof-ups they face as they try to get the hang of what most Dutch people are seemingly born to do.


Did you know?

  • The term fietsenmaker literally means a person who sells and repairs bikes. It is also a nickname for a TU Delft student, originally used to refer to mechanical engineering students.

  •  You can be fined for cycling on the sidewalk.

  • It is compulsory to hold your handlebars with at least one hand when you’re cycling.

  • There are over 35,000 kilometres of cycle paths in the Netherlands

  • In 1942 the Nazis planned to confiscate 50,000 Dutch bikes to help mobilise their troops. Amsterdammers were tipped off and they hid and/or dismantled nearly every bike in the city.


Things readers have spotted on bikes

  • A guy riding a bike with a baby on the front seat and a woman riding sidesaddle at the back. She was breastfeeding. And talking on the phone.

  • Two guys carrying a whole drum set, 3 guitars and a microphone stand between them on their bikes.

  • A 3-meter rocket on the back of a bike near the EWI building.


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