Promoting Cycling in the Netherlands

They are perhaps not entirely politically correct, but I found these amusing ads to promote cycling in the Netherlands in the 1980s. I even remembered seeing them on national television at the time.

After some investigations I found out all three were from 1985.

Apart from the use of stereotypes some things are striking:

  • Even in 1985 the Dutch needed foreigners to point out how good it is to cycle in the Netherlands.
  • The English lady tells us there are cycle tracks that “crisscross the country side”. So they were not so common in cities yet.
  • This promotion is especially for every day cycling and focuses on all the positive things cycling gives you.

These ads were by a –to me– unknown foundation in Amsterdam called “Stichting Fiets!” (bicycle Foundation!) I found very little information about this foundation. But one news article tells that this organization was founded in 1960 to promote cycling. They did that by advertising campaigns but also by lobbying for it in national politics.

Cycling promotion 1972
"Cycling gives you back nature" promoting cycling on a 1972 poster by "Stichting Fiets!"

I also found a 1970s poster and according to Wikipedia in 1987 Stichting Fiets! co-founded a new organization together with big organizations like ANWB and the Cyclists’ Union for the development of the now famous national long distance cycle routes. In 2004, after 44 years, the foundation announced a step back. They didn’t cease to exist, but since their tasks had been taken over by other organizations they were stopping their activities.

3 thoughts on “Promoting Cycling in the Netherlands

  1. Yes, I remember the American and the moaning cow! It’s true, we take our unique cycling infrastructure for granted but it takes constant remembering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.