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.


Bicycle Statistics, A Question And The Answers
July 5, 2008, 3:48 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, news | Tags: , , ,

The Netherlands
Population: 16,5 million
Bikes: 18 million
New bikes sold a year: 1.7 million 
Bikes stolen a year: between 1.2 and 1.4 million

But the number of bikes in the Netherlands has been at that level, thus stable for years, so what explains this gap? According to the chairman of the Dutch Bicycle Union it boils down to this: 

  • broken bikes are taken off the streets by city services
  • abandoned bikes are taken off the streets to be recycled. Read: shredded.
  • illegally parked bikes are taken off the streets and are registered to be picked up by the rightful owners, but that hardly ever happens. If so, they are shredded, including perfectly new bikes. Suggestion: resell them.
  • Gangs in vans drive around neighborhoods, pick up parked & locked bikes and drive them abroad to be sold. Mostly in Germany and Belgium. It sounds odd, but I’ve experienced the bad end result of this twice myself.

[Update: a related story]

Dutch vintage bike scenes
July 5, 2008, 12:09 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, photos, special | Tags: , , ,

I just have to post these vintage photos. The first one, a color(!) photo from 1953, depicting a group of cycling boy scouts pausing at a windmill, presumably reviewing the next stage of their trip. The second is from the 1930’s, part of the Zylstra family album, capturing two family members riding side by side, along an Amsterdam canal I can’t yet place, but I’m on it.

One observation: bicycling and accompanying attire hasn’t really changed at all.

As a history buff, I dwell on this stuff.

(click on the photo to see it full scale, as my blog template cuts it off by about 15%)