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The Netherlands: a (recreational) cycling nation

Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Fietsplatform collects data on recreational cycling and cycling holidays in the Netherlands. National figures just confirm: the Dutch love their bikes, always! No less than 76% of the Dutch population cycles just for fun. Read on to learn more about the recreational cycling habits of the Dutch.

Fietsplatform is the reference for cycling tourism and recreational cycling in the Netherlands, and is also the National EuroVelo Coordination Centre. It has just recently released two factsheets in English with existing figures on recreational cycling and cycling holidays in the Netherlands. They confirm that the country is one of the biggest cycling nations in Europe, and not only for daily cycling.

EuroVelo 15 in the Netherlands: Kinderdjik.
EuroVelo 15 in the Netherlands: Kinderdjik.

76% of the Dutch cycle just for fun, accounting for almost 700 million cycling trips a year. 35% of the population cycles for leisure at least once a week! Interestingly, the e-bike is the protagonist of most of these trips, signalling how it is more and more present in the life of people of all ages. The e-bike opens access to leisure trips also to people who, for any reason, are not fit or confident enough to rely solely on their legs for a cycle trip.

Despite the rise of routing apps, GPX tracks, and other digital tools, the good old route signs and panels are still the most important reference for leisure cyclists, who do not want to look at their phone or device all the time, but also enjoy the surroundings, the water and the large, green spaces of the Netherlands.

Fietsplatform’s analysis further elaborates on the Netherlands as the domestic destination for cycling holidays – and the figures, again, confirm how the Dutch love cycling at any time. 3 million people choose the bike for their holidays, with 7.2 million cycling holidays in the Netherlands in 2021 – and we need to keep in mind that it was a pandemic year. The research differentiates two types of cycling holidays: the ones from one vacationing spot (from point A to point A), and the ones from one place to another (from A to B). The people choosing to return to their starting point are quite different from the ones who stay overnight in another place: more than 50% of those who go from A to A are older than 50 years and travelling without children, while people who cycle from A to B are largely under 40 years of age. It is a curious division, as younger households may be more attracted to taking a longer trip and sleeping out, and tend to spend more on accommodation and services (51 euros per day compared to 38 of the A-to-A cycling tourist).

EuroVelo 12 signs in the Netherlands.
EuroVelo 12 signs in the Netherlands.

To conclude the analysis, here is the most interesting fact for EuroVelo and long-distance bike travel: more than half of cycling tourists in the Netherlands take long-distance cycle routes… and the most popular are LF Maasroute (part of EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route) and LF Kustroute (part of EuroVelo 12 – North Sea Cycle Route). These two national long-distance cycle routes are well-signposted, convenient, and in general, better suited to a longer cycle trip. Not a surprise!

Consult the factsheets in English:

Curious to learn more? Visit the website of Fietsplatform (in Dutch).