Below you can find some of the finest examples and practices Dutch cycling has to offer. With this selection we want to inspire and provide you with insights, background and learnings of famous and perhaps less-famous examples. Besides motivating you, we want to offer some perspectives that may help you in taking first steps in implementing similar examples in your locality.

Best Practices

Data & Innovation

The Dutch are pragmatic, especially when it comes to mobility planning. People cycle because it’s the easiest way to get around. The same approach is also applied to data and innovations. The Dutch look beyond the bells and whistles of the “Smart City”, knowing the real goal of data and innovations to improve quality of life for all.

Bicycle Streets
For decades, urban cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands looked pretty much the same: painted lane or segregated path on the side of the road. It was good for cycling, but the car still received the majority of space in our streets. The bicycle street flips this paradigm with a smart twist. Instead of cyclists feeling they are a guest in the car realm, the design and rules state clearly: the car is the guest.
Multimodal projects
Great bicycle design is about breaking the silos between planning worlds. The idea behind multimodal projects is to allow users to seemingly change modes of transportation, while always choosing for the most convenient way of moving around. Do you want to cycle to the station, take a train, and then walk to work? These multimodal projects have got your covered.
At the end of the journey, you want to leave your precious bicycle in a safe place. One can find bike racks all around Dutch cities, but with the growing number of cyclists, it never seems to be enough. In recent years, cities in the Netherlands are participating in a peaceful arms race: creating the biggest, smartest, and most innovative bicycle facilities, although companies can also be competitive players. Simultaneously, the management of these facilities is a key element to its success.
We like to say that Dutch bicycle infrastructure is state-of-the-art. But sometimes, Dutch designers take this idea literally. They give roads, parking stations, and bridges a spectacular design, making an ordinary trip feel like a visit to a museum. Bicycle infrastructure can be a boring topic, but once you see some bicycle landmarks in the Netherlands, you’ll understand why the Dutch celebrate their love for the bike.
Cycle Highways
The bicycle is not only the most efficient way to move around cities, it can also be an attractive mode of transportation between cities. In recent years, the Netherlands has been developing a network of fast, super high-quality connections between cities, making recreational and functional cycling even more attractive. Better be careful with the wording however: a ‘cycling highway’ fits into the car narrative of building multi-lane highways, sparking fears of noise, reduced safety, and other detrimental effects.
Training & Education
The bicycle is so integrated in Dutch society, that it is not a surprise that it has a big role in the school system. Dutch children have to pass a cycling exam during primary school. But it doesn’t end there: around the Netherlands, there are plenty of training programs that help newcomers to learn how to ride a bicycle. The great thing about it is that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget!
City Hall
The bicycle touches every field of life: urban planning, economy, health, mobility, quality of life, and so on. When you cycle in the Netherlands, you do it next to doctors, politicians, teachers, sanitation workers, bankers, and even footballers. That’s why municipalities in the Netherlands are seeing the bicycle as more than just a question of infrastructure. City halls around the country are using the bicycle as a promoter of a variety of programs, such as health, education, economy, and inclusivity.
Network Planning
Not all roads lead to Amsterdam, but with such an advanced bicycle infrastructure, there are plenty of routes one can take to their destination. This is exactly where network planning comes to play: divides different modes and speeds into a variety of networks, allowing people of all ages and abilities to reach their school, work, the café or the museum safely.
“If you build it, they will come” is a famous phrase in the planning world. When cycling supporters say it, they refer to the need of safe and attractive cycling infrastructure to get more people on the bike. In the Netherlands, lack of bicycle infrastructure is not a problem, and yet many people don’t cycle. That’s why the role of campaigning is so important: how can we raise awareness to cycling, and attract more people to do so?
Imagine cycling along a state-of-the-art bicycle route and arriving at an intersection. To which direction shall you turn? Left, or right? That’s exactly where good wayfinding systems come into play: signs, marks, and boards show cyclists their way, guiding the users along the route. The best wayfinding elements are so intuitive that you hardly feel them, but they help you get to your destination safely and comfortably.
“A network is as strong as the weakest link” is probably the best idiom to describe the importance of intersections in cycling planning. You can build the best bike lanes and tracks, but if they stop when cyclists approach the intersection, the entire journey becomes less safe and comfortable. Luckily, over the years Dutch designers have developed great examples of safely dealing with intersections. Dutch Bicycle Intersections: a clever way to bring all street users together. It is applied to regular intersections, but also roundabouts and unique situations.
To promote cycling culture in the Netherlands, professionals and like-minded people meet often to exchange ideas, challenges, and best practices. The spirit is that to create great bicycle cities, we need to work together. These networks connect professionals, decision-makers, researchers, and activists around a variety of topics: from education, through logistics and to technology.

Want to find out how the Dutch can help you in realizing similar examples in your locality? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Your Dutch example as part of this overview? Share the main information from your project via this link so we can include this in this dynamic database!

Want to know more? We are happy to help.

Stay updated, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter

Nicolaas Beetsstraat 2A
3511 HE Utrecht, The Netherlands

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PHONE: +31 (0) 15 202 6116

Due to Covid-19 (Corona-virus) the DCE-team is working from home, therefore this phone might not be answered.
Please leave a message with your phone number through our contact form on the left side of this page, and we’ll call you back as soon as possible!