Cycling in Amsterdam


The Netherlands is a real cycling country. The bicycle is also very popular in Amsterdam. There is almost no city in the world where there is as much cycling like it’s done in Amsterdam. About forty percent of all journeys in Amsterdam are done by bike! That makes sense, because no other means of transport makes it easy for you to move through the city.

Video impression of cycling in Amsterdam

Watching the video below (almost) can’t be skipped, to be prepared for you biking experience in Amsterdam. With many thanks to the Dutch Survival Guide for creation the video below! It provides an impression of what cycling in Amsterdam is.

Note: some parts in the video are of course a bit gushy. In addition, it depends where you cycle in Amsterdam. It’s definitely not everywhere in the city very crowded.

Funny tutorial how to cycle safe in Amsterdam

Cycling in Amsterdam

For foreign visitors it is sometimes incomprehensible, but cycling is the most logical way for true Amsterdam locals to get from point A to B. The 17th-century city center of Amsterdam is in fact poorly geared to cars. The narrow streets and canals are especially suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. Add to that all cycle paths — with a total length of 400 kilometers — and it may be clear that Amsterdam is a real cycling city.

Like a true Amsterdammer

Almost every Amsterdammer has a bicycle. The 750,000 inhabitants of Amsterdam together have around 600,000 bicycles. The city is therefore full of it: cyclists on their way to school and work, shopping cyclists, bicycle couriers, police on bicycles, cargo cyclists, delivery cyclists, pedal cyclists and of course tourists on bicycles.

For tourists, the bicycle is an attractive and adventurous way to explore the city and surroundings. The bicycle is often faster and cheaper than public transport and moreover you can easily combine different activities. And funny is: on the bike every tourist suddenly feels a bit like an Amsterdammer.

Tips for cycling in Amsterdam as a tourist

  1. Take others into account and give each other the space
  2. Always stop at zebra crossings
  3. Park neatly
  4. Follow traffic rules
  5. No use of mobile phones while cycling
  6. Lights on in the evenings or at night
  7. Always signal when making a turn

Bike rental Amsterdam

Renting a bike in Amsterdam is the fastest way to get around in the city. The entire city has bike lanes that are specifically designed to get safe around in the city. Well known bike stores are Yellow Bike and Mac Bike. There are also a view smaller bike rental shops around the city.

Check out the bike rental page for more information on renting bikes in Amsterdam.

Tips for renting a bike

  • Longer rental periods make better prices
  • Insurance is not abligatory, but might be wise to have
  • Some bike rental companies also offer to bring the bikes to you accommodation
  • In high season June till August , we highly recommend making a reservation, to avoid dissapointments

Cycling safe in Amsterdam

Ridding a bike in Amsterdam is a serieus deal. It can be experienced as hectic. Take a look at the points below to ensure yourself to remain safe. These are the basic rules and the most important things to keep in mind.
Don’t worry be happy! According to research of the local government of Amsterdam 84 % of the people rate cycling in Amsterdam as very enjoyable.

Ttay on the bike paths. Most bike lanes have a white bicycle image on it. Lastly, many cycling paths can be recognized by the red asphalt.
Stick to the traffic rules, only cycle on the bike paths. Obey traffic lights, respect the traffic controllers.
Use your hand as an indicator. Signal other traffic where you’re going.
Use your eyes and ears to prevent dangerous situations.
Be curious towards other traffic. Especially scooters and taxi’s are often in a hurry. In addition, trucks have a blind spot, avoid this position.
Make sure your bike has proper lights for the nights. Front and back lights are mandatory.
Be careful with the tram tracks. Try to cross them at an angle. Be cautious when wet, they can get slippery.
 Avoiding rush hour is strongly advised for inexperienced cyclists. Rush hour is between 08:00 and 10:00 or 17:00 and 19:00. Bike paths are crowded and cyclists in a rush.
 Always lock your bike or it will stolen. Make sure you to use a chain lock, so you can attach your bike. A bike rack is the best place to leave your bike.
 Many locals don’t obey traffic rules, by crossing the red light or cycling on footpaths etc. We cycle every day in Amsterdam and it’s a common thing to see. Our advice for tourists: ‘don’t do as the locals do, but stick to traffic rules to stay safe and keep others safe!’

Places to avoid while cycling in Amsterdam

Due to the Netherlands – and therefore Amsterdam – being a real cycling country, it is always busy with cyclists around and in the city. Amsterdammers also prefer to avoid some places because cycling is not pleasant due to the amount of people and traffic. If you are going on a bike tour on your own, you naturally would also like to avoid these roads, so that you can enjoy Amsterdam to the maximum without too much stress.

We have listed 3 places for you to avoid during your bike ride:

Spuistraat and Kalverstraat – here you have to pass the many pedestrians by bike and this is no fun especially on Saturdays. If you would like to see these streets, it’s better to do that on foot or just park your bike somewhere.

The Rijksmuseum Bicycle Underpass – it’s really cool to be able to cycle under the Rijksmuseum, but once you’re out of the passage you have to be careful. The hustle and bustle, especially with all the tourists in the summer months makes it quite difficult to cycle in this popular part of Amsterdam.

Piet Heinkade – if you cycle here you will always be cycling against a headwind. Not just that, it can be a disappointment if you have to cycle 1 km with a headwind.

Hopefully with this information, you can plan your perfect bike tour, whether with or without a guide. It’s all up to you! Let us know what your cycling experience was like or share your tips.

Cycling facts on Amsterdam

So cycling is a big thing in the city of Amsterdam. In fact, it’s the transportation of choice for many inhabitants of the city. The city is well adapted to these amounts of people riding their bikes. For a better understanding of this concept we’ve highlighted some staggering facts concerning biking in Amsterdam;

  1. More bicycles than inhabitants; Amsterdam is known to have more bikes than inhabitants – 881,000 bicycles vs. 834,713 inhabitants to be more precise.
  2. 63% of the Amsterdam citizens cycle on a daily; where in other countries cycling is more of a hobby, something to do on a day off, for the Amsterdam citizens it’s the prefered form of transport in daily life.
  3. An estimated 2 million kilometres is cycled by Amsterdammers on a daily; that’s correct on a daily, all Amsterdammers together cycle a distance equal to approximately 5 times the distance to the moon.
  4. 767 kilometres is the total length of all Amsterdam cycle paths and bicycle lanes together; in Amsterdam, almost all roads are fitted with either bicycle lanes or a piece of the 513 dedicated cycle paths.
  5. Over 10,000 bicycle parking spots at Amsterdam Central Station; believe it or not, you’ll still have a very hard time finding a spot as there’s still a shortage of parking spots.

Source: Iamsterdam

Bike thefts popular in Amsterdam as well

Please bear in mind to always lock your bike and lock it well! We can’t stress this point enough, no matter what kind of bike; rental or owned or how fast you’ll be back to pick up your bike. With bikes being so popular, so are bike thefts among criminals. Bikes are fairly easy to steal and sell. Therefore, bicycles are a popular quick score amongst sneak thieves, pilferers and junkies. Exact numbers of bike thefts are difficult to calculate; many victims don’t bother filing a stolen bike as it’s such a common practice and chances of getting your bike back are slim. According to the Amsterdam newspaper Parool, based on numbers provided by the police, in 2017 there were 8113 reported bike thefts. On that same year, the Dutch Cyclists’ Union reported that nationwide, only one out of three bike thefts is actually reported to the police. Our expectation is that this percentage in Amsterdam is lower than the nationwide average, somewhere between 25% and 33%. Based on this estimation and the factual information somewhere around 24,339 and 32,452 bikes are stolen every year. Make sure not to become a victim!

Cycling is way better with pretty weather. Via our Amsterdam weather page you find the most accurate and up to date weather.

Combine your cycling experience with other things to do in Amsterdam. Take a look at all the interesting museums, see Amsterdam from the canals and find a proper place to spend the night. Just click on the navigation below:

Museums in Amsterdam

Museums in Amsterdam

Discover all museums of Amsterdam. Most of them are open for the entire year

Canal cruises in Amsterdam

Canal cruises in Amsterdam

Experience Amsterdam from the water, and make a canal cruise through this romantic city

Hotels in Amsterdam

Hotels in Amsterdam

Find a place to stay in one of the great hotels of Amsterdam. The overview shows you all the different options in prices