When compared to other countries The Netherlands has a unique cycling ‘culture’. Three years ago I showed you some typically Dutch cycling traits. Mannerisms you certainly won’t see in countries with a more ‘racing’ type of cycling culture. Even in Denmark or Germany, however, the countries with a culture that comes closest to the Dutch, you will not find people who are always cycling side by side, or together on one bike, holding up an umbrella, or with a dog running alongside of them. To open this new year I would like to show you new peculiarities that could be seen as typically Dutch.
Dutch couples do not only love cycling side by side, they like it even more to cycle hand in hand. And what about cycling with a suitcase in tow? That’s what those suitcase wheels are for, aren’t they?
In the first video I showed you how people cycle with a passenger. It is perfectly legal to ride with someone sitting on the back of your bicycle in The Netherlands. But that back seat of a bike is not so comfortable. For a passenger the blood circulation in the legs quite quickly suffers from the hard metal seat. So especially children choose to stand upright instead. Is that also legal? Probably not, although I cannot imagine the law describes how you need to ride as a passenger. So I doubt you will be stopped while you ride in town with a passenger standing tall on the back of your bike.
The Dutch are also masters in cycling with large(r) objects. A guitar in a case is just child’s play. A chair, a double bass or a surf board, now that’s more like it!
The music with this video is also typically Dutch. Street organs can still be seen and heard in many of the cities in the Netherlands, but this 1979 disco hit features the most famous of them all. It is called “De Arabier / The Arab” and its sound is considered the archetypal Dutch street organ. Built in 1925, it toured various cities across the Netherlands in its first decade. From 1935 it was owned by well-known Amsterdam organ family Perlee and they roamed the streets of Amsterdam with the organ until 1952. Then it was moved to Groningen, to be played by Hendrik Elderman. He made the organ really famous. It featured on numerous hit records and it was a familiar sight in the streets of Groningen. It also toured the world and could be seen in New York and London. But in 1977, when the Groningen organ player passed away, the organ was brought back to Amsterdam by the Perlee family. There it livened up the streets again until the organ found its final place in the Dutch organ museum in Utrecht in 2008, where it now plays its well-known tunes. Amsterdam, Groningen and Utrecht must be familiar names to anyone following cycling in The Netherlands. Three cities with a very strong cycling culture. With that connection it was the perfect organ to play the music in my cycling video.
With this video showing some more eccentric habits of the Dutch on their bicycles, I would like to festively start the new year of my cycling blog. Wishing you all the best for 2015 and I hope to entertain you yet another year with informative and positive videos about cycling in The Netherlands.
Video: Eccentric Cycling Mannerisms of the Dutch