Amsterdam cyclists 1970s

If you think cycling has always been normal in the Netherlands, think again.

Cycling was at an all time low in the 1970s and that becomes very clear from these images. The scenes of rush hour look promising enough but they are from a 1970 film for which the shots were probably taken in the late 1960s. Later in the video it is clear that cycling was declining rapidly. The video ends with 1978 images in which single cyclists amongst numerous cars give a sad image of a car sick city.

Some shots from the suburbs do show some separated protected bicycle infrastructure even then, but in the old center non of that is to be seen.

The Dutch have come a very long way since. From 1975 on it was made increasingly difficult to use the car in the city centers. Some of the 4 lane roads and squares in this video has been car free for years now. At the same time cycling was made more convenient. Separate cycle infrastructure was built throughout the country in cities and in the countryside. This eventually resulted in the highest cycle rates in the world and very different looking cities!

People cycling in the 1970s in Amsterdam

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