Going Dutch: Biking or Hiking?

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Holidays in the Netherlands

Biking or Hiking

At the end of our visit to the Netherlands, I finally had to concede defeat. We were leaving the country in the sad realization that the Dutch will never take to hiking in a major way. Never will hiking be the preferred choice of the Dutch for moving about their cities or their countryside: for the simple reason that the big beast which hiking would – to use the terms of Sir Alex Ferguson – have to “knock off its effing perch” is simply too big. No….

The Dutch will never get off their bicycles.

"Biking or hiking in Utrecht? A bike lane"

Exhibit one: cycling lanes are everywhere – which does not mean that the Dutch do not insist on taking bicycles to places where they clearly do not belong …

"Biking or hiking in Utrecht with a red bike?"

… or where they seem somewhat out of their element.

"Biking or hiking in Kralingse Bos?"

Even when they go hiking, the Dutch go biking first – as we found out on our walk in Kralingse Bos

"Biking or hiking in Kralingse Bos? Both"

… where virtually anywhere you go, people on two wheels outnumber people on two feet.

"Biking or hiking in Kralingse Bos? Bikers more than pedestrians"

Two feet good, two wheels better – that seems to be the unofficial motto of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (what would that be in Latin?).

Particularly so when you approach anything with young people in it – such as Utrecht University.

"Biking or hiking for students in Utrecht?"

Now, to the cursory observer it might seem that bicycles have taken over the country and are running it in their own interest. The actual truth, however, as we found out, is much sadder….

Bicycles are born free, but everywhere, they are in chains.

"Biking or hiking in Utrecht? Biking with a pink bike"

… or worse…

"Bike garage in Rotterdam"

Bicycles of the Netherlands, unite!

"Bikes in front of RedKen salon in Utrecht"

Check out what else we were up to in the Netherlands on our recent visit there.

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7 comments to Going Dutch: Biking or Hiking?

  • I’m with Leigh in that I find biking to be easier on the body and I can control my speed to be either leisurely or at a faster pace to get someplace further. I was so captivated with how the Dutch have integrated biking into their county and their lives during our visit to Amsterdam. The Danes were just as bike-centric too. Love all the bike shots here.

  • Marcia, I also grew up in the part of Germany that borders on Holland, Muenster, and there, everybody bikes too. My own mother, who’s now 84, still gets on her bike occassionally

  • It’s really amusing to see how the Dutch love their bikes. And yes, young and old were at it.

  • Oh the Dutch do love their bikes don’t they? Biking is a wonderful activity and great for young and old. They say riding a bike is something you never forget how to do!

  • I love seeing bike racks, they remind me of my high school. We had an enormous bicycle shed that could easily fit about 300 bikes as almost half the student body (it was a small school then) rode to school. Bikes were very popular back then in the part of Jamaica where I grew up – even my grandmother had one. I still remember the look on our new Math teacher’s face when she told our class how shocked she was to see so many bikes under the bike shed — it had a top that protected the seats from rain. Her part of the island was very mountainous so no one rode. Sadly, they tore down the shed several years ago – students had graduated from taxis or buses, even more were driving to school.

  • Biking is certainly less hard on the body. Unfortunately, I’ve not been on a bike since I was young.

  • I love cycling – sometimes more than hiking as I love the distance you can cover in a day. And sometimes I think it’s less hard on the body so I’m happy enough to do as the Dutch do in The Netherlands & bike. I’ll save my hiking for places where it really makes more sense.

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