All about cycling in the Netherlands
The second day of Pentecost a.k.a. Whit Monday is a holiday in the Netherlands. This year it was beautiful cycle weather! So I placed my camera on a tripod next to a cycle path somewhere between ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Vught and filmed for about half an hour in the afternoon.
This is what the camera caught, a very high number of passers by on bicycles!
This cycle path is part of one of the national recreational cycling networks.
In the 2009 brochure Cycling in the Netherlands by the Ministry of Traffic we can read the following about recreational cycling in the Netherlands:
Cycling and recreation
Around 70% of the Dutch occasionally take to the bicycle for a recreational day trip. This means that after walking, cycling is the most important recreational day activity. The bicycle is used on a massive scale to reach other recreational destinations: around 232 million times a year. For recreational trips in the Netherlands, there are various types of routes and networks available to the cyclist:
• National bicycle routes. A national network of routes enabling substantial circuits. The listed total distance of such bicycle routes is 6,500 km; of these some 4,500 km are signposted in both directions.
• Round trips: The round-trip regional circuits. These are of all types and distances, including long theme routes. In addition there are eight signposted long bicycle circuits. Round trip circuits are less flexibly usable, and in most cases it is necessary to complete the entire circuit in order to arrive back. Round trip circuits are only in the form of day trips. Municipalities, regions or provinces (also private initiatives) are responsible for these routes.
• Regional (junction) networks: An intricate regional network which enables many of the circuits in the region. This network now comprises some 3,700 km, signposted in both directions. Municipalities, regions or provinces (also private initiatives) are responsible for these routes.
It is often difficult to differentiate whether facilities are intended primarily for recreational cycling or also for other purposes. Thus a cycle path network in the country will certainly also serve a recreational purpose rather than simply conveying the cyclist from A to B. And bicycle/pedestrian ferries intended for recreational purposes in the summer are also used gratefully by commuter cyclists.
In other words: bicycle policy often serves both utilitarian and recreational bicycle use.
From various surveys it appears that 40% of recreational cyclists use marked routes. The availability of routes is enormous and extremely diverse, both in length and in signposting. Of the route cyclists, 60% use signposted routes. The number of bicycle route networks is thus also being expanded, both in the Netherlands and Belgium.