Dutch Cycling Embassy Releases Inspirational Video, Launches Website

Cycling For Everyone from Dutch Cycling Embassy on Vimeo.

Last week, a team of Dutch experts led a series of Think Bike workshops in four U.S. cities, including San Francisco, to help advocates and planners design the bike infrastructure of the future. Cities across the globe continue to look to the Netherlands for inspiration, and guidance, and that demand is being embraced by a unique organization known as the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

The embassy is comprised of bike ambassadors from non-profits, private companies, bike manufacturers and local and national governments in the Netherlands. It recently released a new video that beautifully tells the story of how the bicycle became a part of everyday life in the Netherlands. It’s an inspirational seven minutes by Marc van Woudenberg and a must-see for elected officials and planners in the U.S.

The goal of the embassy, which has also launched a new website, is to “to support, facilitate, contribute to and inspire international cycling projects and policies helping countries, cities and its people to move forward in a safe and healthy way.”

As the video illustrates so well, cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands, but there was a time when cars ruled and the transformation to bike-friendly streets didn’t happen overnight. As the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Leah Shahum pointed out in her timely Streetsblog essay last week, “the arc that we are on in San Francisco right now is surprisingly akin to that of Amsterdam 40 years ago when engaged citizens led by passionate advocates convinced local leaders to solidly commit to making bicycling the easiest and most favored way to get around the city.”

In addition to the video, you can download this great brochure [pdf] from the embassy, which has a lot of important and fun facts about bicycling in the Netherlands, “where 16 million inhabitants own 18 million bicycles.”

  • Jarrett M

    I loved the cheery video. Does anyone know what station is pictured during the fiets bike share segment? I want to check it out. 

  • That was shot in Houten, which built a new station with a so-called Transferium, aka huge bike parking garage right underneath the platform. Good to hear you liked that, great taste 🙂

    PS: I wrote, produced and directed the video 🙂

  • It’s all so calm and civilized. While bicycling in San Francisco is definitely rewarding, calm and civilized are rarely the adjectives I apply to my rides.

  • A M

    I don’t think I saw a single helmet in the whole video.  It makes sense, why would one need a helmet to go 10mph on calmed streets?  If you’re not mountain biking or riding fast on roads, and cars are not a threat to safety you wouldn’t need a helmet. 

    Someday I hope to live somewhere that I can comfortably ride about town without helmet. 

  • Matthew Heberger

    I, for one, welcome this foreign invasion. Thank you Holland!

  • Megan Kelly Smith

    This is fabulous.  SO inspirational.  I wish the new Bay Bridge would have a bike lane…
    The Dutch really know how to travel in style.

  • That’d never work here

    “For most big cities, bikes are not a practical way for people to move.”
    Jim Walden

  • Clarence

    I saw this a few days ago.  I want to be friends with the star.

  • The new Bay Bridge will have a bike lane.  It’s the half of it that isn’t being replaced that unfortunately won’t.

  • Louise Painline

    Look at all of those emaciated, starving Dutch people! And the rags they are wearing! My goodness! How on earth do they manage to move goods through their cities without double parking, speeding trucks, and delivery vans blocking bike lanes. What a positively third world society!

  • Ahh!!!

    Nice to see someone else that understands the circumstances when a helmet is truly needed.  I’m sick and tired of getting grief from people when I tell them that I don’t wear a helmet when I cruise over to the bagel or sub shop only a half mile from my home.

    I felt that Davis CA approached the same level of civility as the Netherlands when I last visited in 2007.  After a few days I ditched my helmet when simply riding around town.  So liberating!

  • fj

    great stuff. broad implementation of zero carbon mobility will be the premier mitigation and adaptation method dealing with climate change with bicycles as early-stage technology.  this change over must happen rapidly and now.

  • Cberthet

    Here we go …”New Amsterdam”….

  • NYC Guy

    It looks great. I only saw courteous and careful drivers and cyclists. How do we make our drivers and cyclists act so civilized?

  • Jarrett M

    Amsterdamize, thank you for the info! I visited the Houten station and the surrounding new development just yesterday. The attendent was proud to tell me that there was space for 3500 bikes along with special cargo bike parking and the ov fiets bike share. There were many persons out riding and enjoying the great weather. I don’t want to leave!

  • Cyclingdutchman

    What about visiting The Netherlands on an inspiring cycling holiday! Check it all out for yourself with this new guidebook on cycling in The Netherlands. It features the finest rides of the country and everything you ever wanted to know about cycling in this cyclist’s paradise! For more information and orders see www.cyclinginholland.com.



ThinkBike San Jose Workshops

From Royal Netherlands Embassy: The Netherlands’ US Embassy works with cities throughout the US to share best practices and develop environmentally-friendly transportation networks through the ThinkBike initiative. On October 22 and 23, the City of San José and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition will host the ThinkBike Workshop San José. The two-day workshop brings Dutch bicycling […]