With 36% of all traffic movements done by bike, the Netherlands is the bicycle champion of the world. The country has a bicycle-friendly infrastructure that promotes a healthier, more active lifestyle. Moreover, one can genuinely say that the Netherlands is a veritable trendsetter when it comes to sustainable transport.
The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country in Western Europe. It is a wealthy country in which 1 in 2 people owns a car. Bicycle use, however, is higher than anywhere else in the world.
So how do the Dutch do it?
Cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands. Since the 1960s, however, car-ownership and car-usage have increased significantly and bicycle usage has fallen, reaching an all-time low in 1978. Cities began to struggle with congestion, air pollution, a poorer quality of life and many traffic accidents. As a result, the governments decided to develop a large array of measures to promote cycling, walking and traffic calming.
Bicycle use in cities increased. In 1975, 25% of all non-walking journeys in Amsterdam involved a bicycle. By 1995, this had increased to 35%. The Netherlands also managed to improve the safety of cycling and traffic fatalities fell from 3,200 in 1972 to 700 in 2010.