Everyone somehow knows about how much they like to cycle in The Netherlands but you don’t really realise how serious this is until you experience it. I came to Leeuwarden by train and even before getting to the city where I would live, before actually standing for more than five minutes on Dutch ground, I was already surprised. On my way from the airport to the station, the train passed somewhere next to a three-floor bike parking garage. What a thing! It may sound like the most common thing for Dutch people, and I’ve seen a few more since then, but you need to know that’s really shocking at the beginning for foreigners. I had never seen such a thing before.
In other countries the bike lanes, which are less frequent, aren’t really useful since they don’t properly connect different places of the city, so that may be the reason why others don’t move around by bike as much as Dutch people do. Of course, I think the fact that Holland is such a flat country has also facilitated the development of the bicycle lanes and the use of these.
Leeuwarden has a bike lane almost in every street and where there’s no lane, bikes can still always drive. In my home city – Girona, Spain – you get a line if you cycle around the old town. How crazy is that. Let’s also remake the fact that bikes have the absolute priority when driving. Ahead of cars and pedestrians, unimaginable in my country. Besides, it’s quite normal to leave them anywhere in the street or even in the middle of a square, which may be because they are perfectly integrated in society since they are daily tools. Again, for Dutch people I may sound obvious just listing facts about bicycles but it’s such a contrast for those who are not used to it.
Everyone needs to know how special and unique this is, I would like you lovely Dutch people to appreciate it and realise you’re lucky to be able to drive your bikes everywhere, enjoying such a healthy and positive lifestyle.