Royal Cycle Chic a la Orange
July 15, 2008, 2:12 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos | Tags: , , ,

The Dutch Royal House of Orange. Not a subject I thought I’d let myself post about. But, as I want to highlight ALL aspects of cycling in these lowlands, I might as well include that too. If only to emphasize that you can’t speak of ‘a bicycle culture‘ here, as everyone rides and it’s not considered something extraordinary, exotic or fringy.

Enter our Royals. For generations, since the introduction of the bicycle (type) as we know it today, they’ve wholeheartedly embraced it, like the rest of the populace. From King Henry III, Queen Emma, Wilhelmina, Juliana to current reigning Queen Beatrix, each and everyone of them, including their spouses, have not just posed with a bicycle for photo ops, but indeed actively used it on a regular basis. It also made it easy for them to blend in sort of anonymously when they decided to escape the royal confines.

The next in line for the throne, Prince Willem-Alexander is no different. He and his wife Maxima proudly carry on the Dutch tradition of ‘act normal, then you act crazy enough’.

‘Nuff said. 🙂








Queen Wilhelmina










Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard on a tandem.









Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus.

Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander and offspring.

7 Comments so far
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Great pics. We just returned from Holland (my husband is Dutch) and I am always amazed at how much bicycling is a part of life there. Of course, Holland is much more biker friendly than So. Calif where we live now. Here, you feel as if you risk life and limb while biking.

By the way, we had fun dressing up in orange in honor of the House of Orange while watching the Euro Soccer Championships with all of our family. Darn Russians!

Great blog!

Comment by teeveebee

thanks, teeveebee and I can say that you will see a big change (and you can already see it happening if you look closely) for cycling, even in Southern California. Perhaps baby steps when compared to NL, but figure that it took us over 40 years of sustained political and planning efforts to get where we are today.

I’m not surprised you enjoyed yourself during Euro 2008 :). I’m glad we at least got some good games, but obviously bummed out by the ‘Dutch decease’ when it mattered…*cry* and *sigh*.

thanks for your kind words and hope you’ll keep taps of this little cycle project 🙂

Comment by amsterdamize

I’m no monarchist (not for “our” Queen either) but I very much enjoyed these – I have a postcard of Wilhemina on her bike.

Pity about southern California – one of the most beautiful places in the world, paved over in Auto-cratic madness. One day such wasteful urban forms and misuse of energy will no longer be possible. Imagine, with their climate! All one has to do is cycle early and stay out of the sun at its hottest – and plant more shade trees.

Yep, baby steps. Le Monde à bicyclette (Citizens on cycles) was founded here – back in 1975, I believe. It took over thirty years of campaigns for cycle paths, traffic calming and in general making our presence felt to get where we are today – and there is still a great deal more to do.

Look at the huge change in Paris – I remember when that city was particularly cycle-unfriendly.

Amsterdamize, are you familiar with the expression “bicycle monarchies”? It refers to the more low-key royal houses in Netherlands and Denmark (and elsewhere in Scandinavia). Often pejorative in UK media – but now much more in tune with modern thinking.

Of course it is not a matter of wealth or lack of it – the House of Orange has plenty of €€€€€€€ – but of style.

Comment by Maria Gatti

Oops – “here” is Montréal.

Comment by Maria Gatti

hi Maria, yes, I’ve heard of Bicycle Monarchies, often mentioned during my lifetime :). The vikings are even more level headed than the Dutch I think.

Le Monde a bicyclette, sounds like a similar approach, if not on par, it will be with this boom emerging, believe me !

Paris right now is THE benchmark for how easy and fast it can be implemented, no matter how car crazy a big city is.

Comment by amsterdamize

I LOVE this picture! Is there a US Naval base there? I am ready to move! BTW Hello!

Comment by Jillian

hi Jillian! Welcome back! There’s no US Naval base here, but I’m sure they dock at one of the many ports now and then. I’d file that request 🙂

Comment by amsterdamize

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