The Netherlands is known as the land of bicycles
around 15 million Dutch people regularly travel by bicycle and there
are an estimated 12 million cycles in use. The popularity of cycling
is perhaps mainly due to the country’s geography with distances
between the cities short and the countryside is almost totally flat,
except for a few rolling hills in the east and south (the highest
of which is a mere 321m/1053ft).
Cycling facilities are outstanding and there are approximately 17,000km
(10,625 miles) of special cycling lanes and paths. Detailed cycling
maps can be obtained for every province from local tourist information
offices, as well as indicating cycling routes and tracks, the maps
provide route descriptions and guides. Cycling lanes are recognisable
by a round blue sign with a white bicycle in the middle. Most itineraries
are circular routes, starting and ending at the same place.
The province of Gelderland has the highest number
of marked cycling routes. Landscapes vary from spectacular dunes,
on the Duinroute in the north of the country, to wilderness and
forests, on the route across the Hoge Veluwe nature reserve
in the Gelderland Valley.
Long-distance routes (such as the 270km-/169mile-North Sea route
LF1 between the Belgian border and the northern Dutch town of Den
Helder) are also available.
Bicycle Hires can be hired virtually everywhere and a list of local
hire companies is available from The Netherlands Board of
Tourism (see Contact Addresses section).
Netherlands Railways also offer bike-rental vouchers, which
can be bought at railway ticket offices. Vouchers can be used at
bicycle depots at over 100 train stations throughout the country.
Over 300 stations offer the facility to take bicycles onto the train.
The classic Dutch upright single-speed hub-brake bicycle is the
most frequent, but other types of bicycles (including mountain bikes,
children’s bicycles and tandems) are also available.
In The Netherlands, walking holidays are very popular, the 300km
(188 mile) long coast has a number of scenic walks through sand
dunes and nature reserves.
Visitors can obtain maps with walking routes from the Foundation
for Long Distance Walks (Stitching Lange-Afstand-Wandelpadsen),
PO Box 846, 3800 AV Amersfoort (telephone number: (33) 465 3660,
fax number: (33) 465 4377).
Visitors can also join the annual six-day walking event which takes
place at beginning of August, where participants walk from Hook
of Holland to Den Helder. At Wadden Sea National Park
(Europe’s largest continuous national park), there is also
the opportunity to take part in various types of mud walking trips
on the bottom of the Wadden sea, whose shallows fall dry at low
The Dutch coast on the western shore is well suited and well equipped
for all types of watersports, including swimming and windsurfing.
Sailing is popular on Friesland Lakes, the Ijsselmeer,
Loosdrechtse Plassen (south of Amsterdam) and Veerse
Meer. Boats can be hired in most places. Touring Holland’s
canals and rivers is also very popular.
Catamaran sailing and parachuting is possible on the islands of
Ameland and Texel. Water-skiing
is not permitted on inland lakes.
is popular throughout the country, but while no licence is needed
for sea fishing, inland fishing licences are required and can be
obtained at local post offices.