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Interesting facts

  • Most shops, except for some shops in big cities, are closed on Sundays.
  • Many shops are closed on Monday morning.
  • Shops close at six in the afternoon. Large supermarkets are open till 22h00.
  • It’s easy to find a cash machine.
  • There are ample opportunities to make use of the Internet.
  • Mobile telecom coverage is excellent.
  • In several harbours is it possible to use WIFI hotspots for free: Free wifi hotspots in harbours


Health and safety

  • The Netherlands is a safe country.
  • Be aware of cycle theft! Especially Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag and Utrecht are notorious for it. You’ll find some useful tips at www.m-gineering.nl/touringg.htm .
  • Cycling in cities is safe compared to other countries. The main roads have cycle lanes, and car drivers are used to cyclists.
  • You’re not obliged to wear a helmet.


Places to stay

Campings


Ho(s)tels


Home-stay


It can still be cold in march
 


Food and drinks

  • Because of the large number of immigrants, it’s easy to find a good restaurant. (Although the Dutch cuisine is also not too bad.)
  • Every town has at least one Chinese restaurant, which is usually cheap and good. By the way: most Chinese restaurants mainly offer Indonesian dishes, including saté, loempia (spring roll), nasi goreng (fried rice), bami goreng (fried noodles), babi pangang (pork), and pisang goreng (fried bananas). Absolutely worth a try!
  • Great food for cyclists are the Dutch pancakes (pannenkoeken).
  • Popular among cyclists is apple pie (appeltaart), which is especially great with whipped cream (slagroom). You’ll find one in every “café”.
  • Don’t expect apple pie on the menu in a “coffee shop”. Even coffee might not be available here: a coffee shop is a hash bar where you can legally buy hash and marihuana (up to 5 gram). According to connaisseurs, they are the best in the world.
  • Most bakeries and supermarkets are closed on Sundays, except for some tourist villages and big cities.


People and language

People

  • The Dutch are very fond of cycling: most people have at least one bike.
  • People are happy to show you the way in the unlikely event that you lose your track.
  • Don’t expect spontaneous invitations for a drink, let alone that the Dutch will spontaneously invite you for a home-stay unless they know you.
     

Language

  • The official language is Dutch.
  • Most people speak surprisingly fluent English. Many also master German, French, and/or Spanish up to some degree.


Cycle routes

  • Landscape-wise the most interesting areas are the coastline (including the Frisian islands), national parks “De Hoge Veluwe” and “De Veluwezoom”, and the hills in Limburg (the south-eastern corner of the country). If you want to see typical dutch landscapes (polders) then you can bika almost everywhere in Holland. In Noord-Holland (Province) there are some beautiful old polders, with many waterloops and bikeroutes.
  • Sign posted cycles routes abound all over the country. 20 “LF” routes form a dense nationwide network of bicycle friendly roads. More information on http://holland.cyclingaroundtheworld.nl/WhereToGo-LongDistance.html .
  • Knooppunten: All through the Netherlands you can find "knooppunten". Little signs with numbers and regional maps give you the possibility to make a route on sight. Just write down the numbers and follow the signs.
  • Some cycle routes: www.fietsen.123.nl/cycle%20routes%20netherlands.htm .
  • Esterbauer publishes several cycle guides with well described routes in the Netherlands (in German): www.esterbauer.com .
  • Kettler-Verlag publishes the German cycle guide “Holland per Rad” with 93 well described routes in the Netherlands. More information and updates on www.kettler-verlag.de/holland.htm .
  • The Northsea cycle route: www.northsea-cycle.com .
  • All cycling routes from Benelux on Cycling Friends, in cooperation with Fietsnet (print routes, export to GPS, etc): www.CyclingFriends.net  
  • ReCreatief Fietsen (= ReCreational Cycling) has published some Dutch cycling-guides for Germany, Belgium and France.
  • Routeplanning (with printed directions or download for GPS) can be done via http://www.fietsersbond.nl/fietsrouteplanner


LF-routes

Knooppunten-routes

Overige


Travelogs

On the internet there are many travelogs from people who travelled around the Netherlands by bike:

When to cycle 

  • The best cycle season is from May till September.
  • From October to April the weather’s generally not very pleasant for cycling. You can expect cold, rain, snow, and wind.

 

Roads, traffic, sign posting 

Roads

  • The quality of most roads is excellent.
  • Many long distance roads have a cycle path (fietspad) separate from the road.
  • You’re not allowed to cycle on the highways.


Traffic

  • You can rather safely cycle around cities because most main roads in the cities have an adjacent cycle path and car drivers are used to cyclists.
  • Bas van Oudheusden summarizes the traffic regulations in the Netherlands: http://www.aero.lr.tudelft.nl/~bvo/fiets/nlbybike.htm .


Sign posting

  • In the country side, you’ll find sign posts shaped as square “mushrooms” about 30 centimeters in height


Spare parts and repairs 

Bike shops (rijwielhandels) abound. Every town of 10,000 inhabitants or more has one. It’s easy to obtain spare parts and/or have your bike repaired.

The following shops (but there are loads more) cater to the bicycle traveller:

  • Bikefeeling; Geijzestraat 6; Oudenbosch
  • Van Herwerden; Laan van Nieuw Oost Indië; Voorburg (close to Den Haag); http://www.vanherwerden.nl .
  • De Vakantiefietser; Westerstraat 216; Amsterdam; http://www.vakantiefietser.nl
  • Bike4travel: Elandstraat 83; Capelle aan den IJssel (close to Rotterdam); http://www.bike4travel.nl
  • Rob's bikecenter; s Herenstraat 3A ; Maasland
  • Sector 2 bikes & tandems; Nieuweweg 26; Veenendaal
  • m-gineering; Dorpsstraat 132; Kiel Windeweer
  • Snel: Amsterdamsestraatweg 414 a-b-c; Utrecht; http://www.sneltweewielers.nl
  • Vittorio Maatfietsen; wm Dudokweg 13; Heerhugowaard



Transport 

Getting there and away

  • Plane: Amsterdam is easily accessible from all over the world. Some low costs carriers fly to Rotterdam, Eindhoven or Düsseldorf (a German airport not far from Nijmegen). If you land at Amsterdam Airport, and you plan to stay in Amsterdam during your first nights, this site could be valuable: http://www.wereldfietser.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=54 .
  • Boat: You can travel by ferry from the UK to the Netherlands or Belgium. Some routes: Rosyth – Zeebrugge, Hull – Europoort, Newcastle – IJmuiden, Ramsgate – Oostende, Harwich – Hoek van Holland. You’ll find more information on http://www.worldtravellers.net/seatravel/ferries.html or www.seabridges.com .
  • Train: There are a lot of direct international trains to The Netherlands. From Germany: you can take the intercity train from Berlin and Hannover to Amsterdam.

You can also take the Night train From Zürich to Amsterdam, because it also stops in southern Germany. From the Czech Republic: there is an night train from Prague to Amsterdam. From Belgium: Between Luik/Liege and Maastricht runs a regional train. In Maastricht you can change on a national train to Amsterdam. From Brussel/Bruxelles and Antwerpen/Anvers to Rotterdam and Amsterdam is a intercity.



Getting around

  • Train: Bicycles may only be carried during non-peak hours (not from 6h30 till 9h in the morning and from 4h30 till 6h in the afternoon, this restriction is lifted in the summermonths). You have to buy a ticket for your bike before you enter the train. The rate does not depend on the distance. Timetables can be found at http://www.ns.nl .
  • Bus: Bikes are not allowed on Dutch buses.
  • Boat: You can use ferries to cross the main rivers in convenient places. Bike transport is no problem and very cheap. For more information, click http://holland.cyclingaroundtheworld.nl/Gettingaround/GettingAround-Bikeandboat.html

Internet sites


Organisations


Books and travel guides

  • Esterbauer publishes several cycle guides with well described routes in the Netherlands (in German): www.esterbauer.com .
  • Kettler-Verlag publishes the German cycle guide “Holland per Rad” with 93 well described routes in the Netherlands. More information and updates on www.kettler-verlag.de/holland.htm .
  • Katherine Widing (2005) "Bicycle Touring Holland". Published by Cycle Publishing San Francisco. This book can be bougt in some travel bookshops in the Netherlands or ordered at www.fietsgidsen.nl .
  • Lenore Kennedy (1999) "Full Circle in the Low Countries". Online book, available on www.geocities.com/Yosemite/9732/nl98/index.htm .


Maps

  • Michelin (1:200.000) The Netherlands South.
  • Michelin (1:200.000) The Netherlands North.
  • Various regional ANWB maps at scale 1:50.000, 1:75.000, and 1:100.000. These maps contain campings, ferries, and all cycle lanes.
  • Maps are amply available in most petrol stations.

  • For GPS: http://www.openfietsmap.nl/downloads/bnl_full