An underground bicycle parking garage in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Beursplein (“Stock Exchange Square”) has been restored in a beautiful way. The 1903 square had been used as car parking space until 1982, after which it had been a sea of parked bicycles. Now the square is clear of most vehicles and its space can be used by people.

The impressive entrance stairs to the underground bicycle parking. All the material is natural stone, the steps, the grooves and the walls. The railings are glass and stainless steel.

The big change took place last year. In July 2018 the underground bicycle parking garage was opened. (History repeated itself in a different form; in 1982 the cars were sent off the square when the parking garage of the Bijenkorf department store was opened in a corner of the square.) Beursplein was named after the stock exchange that was first located in the building designed by architect Berlage who also designed the square. That building was also used by other trade markets. Already in 1912 the Stock Exchange moved to a new, dedicated building at number 5. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange was the world’s first official (formal) stock exchange when it began trading the VOC’s freely transferable securities, including bonds and shares of stock in 1606.

The Amsterdam Beursplein in November 1980 when it was still a parking lot for cars. (Picture Amsterdam Archive)
The Square is now almost completely free of vehicles and can be used by people instead. (Still from the Beursplein webcam that you can see 24/7.)

Now that the north-south metro line was finally finished the streetscape from Central Station to the Dam and further south could be beautified. On this square the monumental street lanterns returned as well as the original benches, fountains (which were actually mangers where horses could drink) and other street furniture. All of it made from natural stone. Some trees had to be removed to dig the underground parking garage, so new trees were planted. The object was to create more space for walking and cycling and so most obstacles (including parked bicycles) needed to go. It is unfortunate that the car parking garage is still here, because that is almost the only reason cars can still use this city centre street and square.

Signs inform people that there is a strict on-street no-parking zone around the new bicycle parking garage.
Wrongly parked bicycles are tagged and removed two hours after tagging. They can be collected at the city’s bicycle point but you have to pay a fine.

The new bicycle parking garage entrance was also created from natural stone, to go well with the original street furniture of the square. The stairs and its walls look very luxurious because of this material. The garage is managed by the city and it is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. It is guarded and the first 24 hours of parking are free. If you park longer you pay €1.25 per day. If you want to park your bicycle here on a regular basis and also for longer periods, an annual subscription may be more attractive. This costs €75 per year. There are two-tier racks for 1,700 bicycles. The only further amenity in this garage are toilets. You have to pay to use them but they could still be very convenient because for some obscure reason public toilets are rare in the Netherlands.

You have to push your bicycle down the stairs to the underground garage.
The parking garage is very bright and clean (even on a rainy day). The walls are shiny and there are two tier racks with space for 1,700 regular bicycles.

To make sure people park their bicycles here, a strict no parking regime for two-wheelers is in place in the streets in a wide zone around the square. This area includes nearby Dam Square. The parking ban is indicated with lines on the ground, no-parking signs and even cones on the street. Other signs guide people to the bicycle parking garage. Wrongly parked bicycles get tagged and they are removed within two hours after tagging. Wrongly parked scooters get a fine. I saw traffic wardens on the square doing this even on a rainy Wednesday almost a year after the facility was opened. When they saw people parking bicycles they told them to go to the garage instead. Only cargo bikes and bicycles for people with a disability (who wouldn’t be able to go down the stairs) are allowed on the street, but again only in designated spaces.

The entrance sign shows how many places are left. In this case 1,293 of the 1,700 spaces, which means it was mainly empty on a rainy Wednesday morning in June.
The only bicycles that may still be parked on the street are bicycles for disabled people and these cargo bicycles. But they may only be parked in these dedicated spaces.

This was the first underground bicycle parking garage in the city centre of Amsterdam. There are already some others near the Amsterdam-Noord and Amsterdam-Zuid station for instance. More underground facilities are being constructed (such as the one near Leidseplein for 2,000 bicycles that should be finished in 2021). A huge bicycle parking garage at Central Station under the water is also under construction. That garage for 7,000 bicycles should also be finished in 2021. The local newspaper does wonder whether the Amsterdammers can be enticed to use these garages. Thanks to the enforced parking ban on Dam and Beursplein there are hardly any bicycles to be seen there, but on the other hand the garage is almost always only half full, a reporter wrote.

My video showing the underground bicycle parking garage of Beursplein in Amsterdam.

15 thoughts on “An underground bicycle parking garage in Amsterdam

  1. Why do the Dutch insist on making bike garages where cannot ride straight to the parking?

  2. Don’t forget a new underground garage (structurally already there) will be built right next to Rokin metro station at Spui. You can already see the entrances on google maps. There’s no opening date as far as I know, but they’re working on installing the car parking garage (above Rokin station) as we speak.

  3. If you’re ever near Amsterdam Zuid, the bike parking at Stravinskylaan is probably the nicest parking I’ve seen.

  4. What about if you only need to spend a quick 15 mins in a shop? Rather than all day, before going off somewhere else.

    1. Since parked bikes are only removed after two hours, after being tagged, that shouldn’t be a problem.

      1. Thing is, there are very little places left with an object you can attach your bicycle to with a chain. No bicycle racks, only a handful of lamp posts.

    2. There are still options for that. When I go to a Nieuwendijk shop I park along the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal where you can usually find a spot on the street. If for some terrible reason I would be forced to go to something along the tourist hell that is Damrak, I would just park on the opposite side of the street (across from the water) there – there is a very wide sidewalk and it still seems to be tolerated to put bikes there for a short time. Not sure how legal it is but you usually see quite a few, and I never had trouble with it.

  5. It’s great that they have aboveground cycle parking spaces for persons with disabilities; is there a system for tagging or indicating that a parked bicycle is used by a person with a disability and therefore should be exempt from the no-parking-zone?

    Second, the underground cycle park has some kind of paper tagging system with the date; surely there is a temptation for tag theft here? What happens if somebody steals your date tag and you have nothing to show when you go to the guard to check out?

  6. Unfortunately, scooters (the moped kind) can not be removed like bicycles. They are too heavy to lift. Last time I was there (May or June?) many were parked on the square. Perhaps because the legal part went into effect on July and the scooter owners do not change their behaviour without serious legal enforcement. The bicyclists already changed their behaviour with the threat of removal.

    Since the parking ban I avoid the area. I used to go to the bank nearby on Dam square for a cash deposit, but it is too much hassle to park underground. This is designed for people who go shopping for fun, the vast majority.

  7. Unfortunately, they didn’t bother with a lift or rolling ramp. So indeed anyone with a transport bike or disability (like my COPD) can’t use the bike park. There are several other similar places with dysfunctional ramps (OBA and MuziekGebouw). It’s a real shame.

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