Holland as the Netherlands is known colloquially is a flat land. The highest point is 110 metres above sea level. This makes the Netherlands perfect for riding bikes, which the locals use as one of the main forms of transport. To make it easier for the Dutch there is an extensive network of bicycle lanes to get around. It is a great way to keep fit.
The whole mixture of the population get onto the bicycle lanes to get around. From young to old, immigrants to businessmen, in all kinds of attire. As the Dutch can tend to be very tall people, one of my fond memories is seeing the blonde long-legged Dutch woman riding around the streets, sometimes dressed in her finest clothes. She would certainly hope her chain is not too greasy and doesn’t rub against her pants.
Keep in mind the difficulties for riding in a country like Holland. Being flat and by the sea there are often winds around which would make it hard to cycle around without some form of wind resistance. But this is something that the Dutch are accustomed to, and if you are not in a hurry, especially given the conditions, they will let you know that they want to overtake you.
Video bike riding around Nijmegen
Below is an article that describes the bicycle riding standards in the Netherlands;
“The Road Company. The population of Holland is 16 million; the total number of bicycles, according to official counts, is slightly over 16 million. More than one bicycle per citizen, that is, including the newborn and the infirm. While you are on your bicycle you will be overtaken by the following persons, all of whom will pedal more aggressively than you and will clang their handlebar bells impatiently to shoo you over to the right: leggy blond women in miniskirts and four-inch platform shoes; businessmen in pressed white shirts and ties; teenage boys with girlfriends balancing sidesaddle on the back; teenage girls with boyfriends balancing splayed-legged over the handlebars; pale Turkish grocers carrying full crates of bottled beer; coffee-colored Indonesian women carrying full sacks of market vegetables; black boys in soccer jerseys arguing furiously in Dutch; elderly white-haired men with their wool trousers tucked into their socks; elderly white-haired women with long-stemmed gladioluses pinioned under one arm; Orthodox Jewish boys in yarmulkes; Islamic ladies in chadors; and a 300-pound tattooed man, bare-chested under his denim overalls, with one child on his handlebars and another clinging to him from behind.”
To view the original article about riding a bike in the Netherlands click this link
The bicycle culture forms a big part of the culture of the Netherlands, as a form of transport and also combined with a leisure activity. While in Holland, it is a great possibility that you will see one of the spectacles above, of people and they way they use and abuse their bikes, and how many people they can fit on them, and in what ways the fit them on.
Maybe if you are there long enough, you can make up your own bike from parts of bikes left behind that are still chained to the place their owners left them.
For some Dutch slang and other important phrases you might need in Holland click on the link.
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