Bicycle - A Student’s Best Friend
As a student in the Netherlands, you will quickly come to realize the importance of bicycles in the Dutch lifestyle. In fact, your bike may very well become your best friend during your stay in the country. I will be starting my own study in September, so I decided to ask around and learn more about the Dutch bicycle culture.
Biking as a form of transportation
The Netherlands is the ideal place for biking because of its incredibly flat terrain. There are many factors that make the Netherlands the ultimate cycling nation. What I appreciate the most is the way that bicycles have been integrated into the traffic system. When I bike in other countries, the traffic lanes and signs for bicycles are not as clear or respected as here in the Netherlands. Bicycles are so incredibly assimilated into the lifestyle, that they even have their own special parking structures. In Amsterdam, you can even park your bike on a floating lot above the canals! If you go to a train station, you will also notice the bike racks where hundreds of people park their bikes before hopping onto a train. Because bikes are treated the same as cars, they have become one of the most efficient forms of travel.
A bicycle is also the most affordable way to travel for students. Instead of having to pay for public transportation, students can take their bikes and park them in their desired destination. Students even use their bikes to go out to the clubs in the evening. I discovered this a few weeks ago, when I joined my sister and her friends to the bars in Rotterdam. Since I did not have my own bike, I had to ride on the back of my sister’s one. At first, it was hard for me to jump onto the back of a moving bike. However, after having to do it repeatedly throughout the night, it became a lot easier. We could make as many stops as we wanted without having to worry about finding transportation by using the bicycle.
A bike can also be used to go grocery shopping. In the Netherlands, many students like to get a specially fitted box onto the front of their bikes. This box is fastened tightly so that it can hold groceries and schoolbags. After biking for a while, it will become easier to balance with a heavier basket.
Biking for Leisure
Along with being one of the most efficient forms of daily transportation, bikes can also be used to discover new locations in the Netherlands. In fact, a lot of the scenic areas of the country can best be seen when biking. Many of the famous biking routes in the Netherlands cross through beautiful natural environs. If you are looking for something to do over summer, I would recommend you: grab a bike and discover these travel routes!
As you prepare to begin your studies for next semester, make sure to set aside some time to find the perfect bike for you!