If you’ve never been to Amsterdam, you’ll have probably seen the city depicted in photos and movies and wondered “do the Dutch really ride bikes everywhere, or is it completely exaggerated?”
Actually, they do. Amsterdam is even called the bicycle capital of the world. When you come to Amsterdam for the first time, you’ll probably notice that it’s the best-smelling, cleanest-feeling city you’ve ever been in. And this is partly because the residents of Amsterdam and most of northern Europe in general ride bicycles more often than people from most other cultures. Besides, this city offers you different bike tours that shows you the city center.
And while this is a wonderful, positive Dutch trait and keeps the city clean and fresh-smelling, it can take some getting used to for tourists.
The first time my husband and I visited the city, my husband was nearly run over by bicycles about 75 different times, I’d say. He still owes me big favour from all the times I pulled him to safety. If you come from a city with a lot of car traffic, you’ll find the silent but abundant Amsterdam bicycle traffic hard to manage. Always remember to look for bicycles before crossing the street, not just cars. And pay attention! The bicycle lanes are often right next to pedestrian walkways. Walking in bicycle lanes is seriously annoying to bicycle traffic, and could get you hurt if you’re not careful. Also, you’ll have to learn to consistently look right and left pretty darn quickly if you accidentally step aside into the bike lane without checking, you could get run over.
Sounds dangerous, huh? Well, it’s really not. You just need to pay attention but with both cars and bicycles to watch for, it’s more complicated than you might expect.
Fortunately, a city full of bicycles does more than just create risk for tourists. It’s also a great way to get around, both for locals and visitors. Amsterdam is quite a small city, and renting a bicycle is one of the easiest, most picturesque, and convenient ways to get around. And don’t worry if the weather isn’t nice – the locals ride their bicycles in sun, rain, snow, and fog, all of which you can get in Amsterdam (bicycle capital of the world) in the course of an afternoon.