Cycling in the Netherlands
You can find more bicycles in the Netherlands than people. There are 22.9 million bikes compared to 17.3 million people in the country. With a mostly flat terrain and dedicated cycling lanes all over the country, biking is an ideal way to get around in the Netherlands.
Which is why it is highly recommended to get used to cycling or learn to bike when you first arrive in The Hague region. There is a very good cycling infrastructure, including highly accessible parking facilities in the region, which encourages more and more expats and internationals to use this convenient mode of transportation in their everyday life.
Below is everything you need to know before you embark on your biking adventure.
Dutch cycling rules and tips
- Follow the same rules as motor vehicle drivers and adhere to traffic lights and signs.
- Always use the cycle lane! You are not allowed to cycle on the pavements. If a cycle lane is absent, cyclists must use the road.
- Use hand signals when you make a turn.
- Scooters, mopeds, and faster bikers must overtake on the left side.
- Use your bell; it is the best way to warn pedestrians who are not paying attention.
- Always have working lights on your bike. A large white light will go on the front of your bike, and a red one on the back.
- Cycling two abreast is permitted if there is sufficient space. Cycling in a group (and taking up the whole street) is not allowed.
- Make sure to pay attention to the tram rails so you do not get stuck.
- Dutch cyclists do not usually wear a helmet, unless riding long distance on sports bikes.
- Consider installing a basket or saddlebag on your bike if you plan on going shopping with it.
- Download the Safe Walking and Cycling brochure for more information on riding safely.
Learning to cycle
If you would like to learn how to cycle or need a refresher course, you can find an individual instructor or cycling school by following the links below:
- Learn how to bike at Het Fietscollege (in Dutch)
- Find a cycling instructor near you (in Dutch)
- Find a cycling school for beginners (in Dutch)
Children and cycling
All Dutch primary schools organises traffic safety ‘veilig verkeer’ classes for students from a young age. They will get a biking exam around the age of 11 or 12, where their skills and responses to traffic will be tested. This is to ensure that all children know the traffic rules and how to bike safely by the time they leave primary school.
If your children are too young to cycle, you can install a children’s seat in the front or back of your bicycle. Or consider getting a ‘bakfiets’, a cargo bike with a large box and seats for children.
Parking your bike
Some tips when parking your bike
- Park in the right spot. Make sure there is no ‘Geen fietsen plaatsen’ (Do not park your bike) sign.
- Use two locks. One attached to your bike and one thick metal chain.
- Secure your bike to a bike stand where possible.
- Keep a spare copy of your keys at home.
If you park your bike at the wrong spot, it may be removed by the municipality. In The Hague, you can pick up your bike at the Kranestraat (around the Grote Marktstraat) or the Bicycle Depot Haaglanden (Junostraat 24, The Hague). If you live in Delft or Leidschendam-Voorburg, you may find your bike at The Bicycle Depot Haaglanden as well. You will need to pay for the removal costs when you pick up your bike (only PIN is accepted).
Buying a bike
You can purchase a new bicycle for about €250 to €500, or a used bike for about €50 to €150. Most locals will advise you to go for a used bike, as this is more practical and affordable for city life. There are many small bike shops across the city where you can find an excellent bike. Make sure to pick a solid bicycle but be aware that the most expensive-looking ones will be the first to get stolen. It helps to make it stand out with bright colours or decorations to discourage bicycle thieves. You can also get an insurance for your bike, but this is mostly recommended for brand new bicycles.
Renting a bike
If you do not have your own bike, you may want to consider renting, or signing up for a bike-sharing scheme. These services are easily available in the city. If you will be travelling a lot by train, you may want to get an OV-fiets. This is a rental bike that is available at (major) railway stations. If you have an OV-chipkaart, you can rent a bike for €3.85 a day. Make sure to return your bike at the same location, or you will have to pay an extra fee.
You can also consider signing up for Swapfiets, a bike rental service that covers maintenance of your bike for a fixed monthly fee. They operate all over the Netherlands, and you can choose from basic to e-bikes starting from €16.90 a month.
With the mind-boggling number of bicycles in the country, you can easily find a local bike shop that also does repairs just round the corner. Or just go to the bike rental shops at the train stations. You may even borrow a bike while yours is being repaired.
Bikes and public transport
You are not allowed to take your bike into buses or trams. If you want to take your bike into the train or metro, make sure you are aware of the rules: