Bike parking in Holland: Installment 1

People often ask where to store big, tough Dutch bicycles and trikes. After all they don’t fit inside doll-house sized Dutch apartments and certainly cannot be carried up the ladder-like stairs common in Amsterdam buildings. Answer: Dutch bikes are outdoor dogs. Like cars you just leave them outside, ready to ride… after unlocking the massive chain that protects in from the bicycle thieves. That’s why the good Dutch bikes are made simple, tough and understated, with thick, strong paint and lots of stainless steel parts.

Dutch bikes on an amsterdam canal pile of dutch bikes danish bikes in a pile Smashed bike in amsterdam

The challenge is that Amsterdam is an extremely densely packed city of 800,000 people and the average resident has more than one bicycle. This means that many areas of Amsterdam are simply overflowing with bicycles. The bikes are locked to ubiquitous bicycle racks, canal railings, stair railings, streetlight poles, signpoles, fences, scaffolding and anything else that stands still long enough. That might not sound ideal but its heaven if you figure that one car takes as much space as about 20 bikes. If the bikes were replaced by cars Amsterdam would spread to cover an enormous area of land that doesn’t exist, losing most of what makes it so wonderful.

But in some places there are so many bicycles that special bicycle storage facilities are necessary. There are many examples but the best known is Amterdam Central Station (train station) which counts the following bicycle storage facilities:

fietsflat amsterdam station bike parking facility bicycle parking garage in amsterdam Amsterdam bicycle parking garage

Fietsflat: Built a few years ago as a temporary facility to hold 2500 bikes while work progresses on a permanent garage to hold 10,000 bikes. In fact its estimated that there are often 4000 bikes crammed in to the present “fietsflat”. Parking your bike here is free but its usually filled by mid-morning.

Bewaakte fietsenstallingen: two manned, underground bicycle parking garages, each with a capacity of about 500 bikes. For about €1.50 per day you can leave your bike here.

Bicycle parking on ferry in amsterdam old ferry used as bike parking at amsterdam station fietspont, bicycle parking behind amsterdam centraal station

Fietspont: this a a brand new bike storage facility for 350 bikes on a decommisioned ferryboat in the Ij river behind the station. It was painted and decorated by homeless people (who ride bikes too). Its free bike parking here.

Underground bike garages: Enormous new bike parking facilities to house 10,000 bikes at the station by 2009 are in the works.

dutchbike hanging from a bridge fietsfabriek bakfiets hanging from a pole bike in a danish canal

Everywhere else bikes can be fit: As everywhere else in Amsterdam, there are bikes locked to every centimeter of fixed object and ground space possible in the station area. People can be very creative about how they find a place to store their bicycle: in a canal, hanging by a cable from a bridge, vertical on a pole… anything goes!

14 Responses to “Bike parking in Holland: Installment 1”

  1. Doedes Journal Says:

    Amsterdamse fietsenstallingen…

    Ik schreef hiervoor al over de weblog van Henry waarop hij schrijft over bakfietsen, transportfietsen en verder alles wat nog met fietsen te maken heeft. Dit artikel gaat over de plaatsen waar Amsterdammers hun fietsen opbergen. Henry is Amerikaan van …

  2. Bakfiets en meer » Blog Archive » Dutch Bike Questions Says:

    […] Bike Parking in Holland 1 Bike Parking in Holland 2 […]

  3. Ronald Simmelink Says:

    Surfend op het internet kom ik jullie site tegen. Ik denk dat wij het fietsparkeer-probleem in Amsterdam niet kunnen oplossen maar wel een stukje vriendelijker kunnen maken voor de oudere fietser en fietsers met kinderzitjes.

    Wie weet er een goede proeflocatie in Amsterdam om het een te proberen?

  4. henry Says:

    Hallo Ronald,
    Het is absoluut waar dat fietparkeren een stuk moeilijker is voor o.a. oudere mensen, kleine vrouwen, mensen met kinderzitjes of voordragers op hun fietsen. Mijn vrouw heeft al veel moeite mee met vele fietsenrekken.

    Bedoel je dat je bezig bent met oplossingen? Ik denk dat de gemeente hard bezig is om het fietsparkeerprobleem op stationeiland op te lossen. Maar dat gaat het voornemelijk om volume en niet zogenaamde “uitzonderingen”. Ik ken wel mensen die veel van de amsterdamse fietsenstallingen runnen. Mischien hebben ze interesse.


  5. henry Says:

    Hallo weer Ronald,
    Ik zag pas dat je wel bezig mee bent met een fietsparkeer systeem, maar had geen link achtergelaten. De Bikeeper zier er wel mooi en degelijk uit, maar vast wel iets duurder dan de typische rekken en nietjes. Heb je al wat succes gehad met gemeentes enz?

    Hier is een link voor iedereen:


  6. Ronald Simmelink Says:

    Hallo Henri,
    De Bikeeper is wel duurder dan een starre stallen fietsenstalling. Echter het voordeel dat je voorwiel niet kan beschadigen maakt een hoop goed natuurlijk.

    Er staat een opstelling in Utrecht op de Laan van Puntenburg ter hoogte van het ns-kantoor. We hopen natuurlijk dat de gemeenten massaal kiezen voor de gebruiksvriendelijke Bikeeper.

    We doen ons best om ze te overtuigen.



  7. Gap Says:

    Fietsen parkeren moeilijk voor kleine vrouwen, kinderzitjes, etc? Sterker nog,: Zelf heb ik als 26-jarige jongeman nog moeite mijn fiets op een behoorlijke manier te parkeren. Meestal kies ik maar een boom of lantaarnpaal uit ipv zo’n onhandig fietsenrek.

  8. henry Says:

    Helemaal met je eens hier; Parkeren in fietsenrekken veroorzaakt ongetwijfeld de meeste schade die we zien in onze werkplaats: kromme voorwielen en gebogen spatbordstangen zijn heel typisch. Onder de gebruikelijke fietsrekken lijken de allereenvoudigste “nieten” de beste te zijn.

    Het is ironisch maar de bakfietsen, transportfietsen en stadsfietsen met grote voordragers en kratten blijven mooier want ze passen gewoon niet in de rekken.

    Wij keizen meestal ook een lantaarnpaal, brug of trapleuning om een fiets vast op slot te zetten… maar niet iedereen wordt er zo gelukkig van. Er was recentelijk een artikel in een van de grote kranten hoe mensen klagen over de bakfietsen geparkeerd op stoep. Maar dan is eigenlijk een beetje belachelijk want vele van die fietsen vervangen autos die veel meer ruimte in beslag nemen.


  9. J.H. Crawford Says:


    I need a photograph of the bike garage at Amsterdam C.S. You have this one on your site:

    I was wondering if I could make arrangements to use it in my forthcoming book, Carfree Design Manual.

    Thanks & regards,


  10. BAKFIETS EN MEER » Blog Archive » New Bakfiets parking area at Amsterdam Centraal Says:

    […] parking area for bakfietsen. This will be directly across from the famous and much photographed fietsflat. There will only be 40 parking spaces but that’s better than the zero available now. […]

  11. Amsterdamse fietsenstallingen « Doedes Journal Says:

    […] hij schrijft over bakfietsen, transportfietsen en verder alles wat nog met fietsen te maken heeft. Dit artikel gaat over de plaatsen waar Amsterdammers hun fietsen opbergen. Henry is Amerikaan van oorsprong […]

  12. Tobias Says:

    Sorry to revive an old thread, but this issue has been bugging me for a while now. I often compare Copenhagen to Amsterdam, but have lived in 5 European countries so far, and can simply not resist comparing different places.
    In Copenhagen (as in Amsterdam) we have a well developed system of bike lanes, but lack any sort of bike parking infrastructure. This is mainly (although chicken and egg), because people in Denmark only internally lock their bikes with one of the locks fixed to the frame, which block the back wheel. Where bike parking exists, it ALWAYS only allows the front wheel to be supported, and does NOT support any locks that fix the frame to a metal object. I am always amazed by this, because IMHO it means that:

    – stealing bikes is extremely easy. Between 65-80 000 bikes are stolen every year (according to the only figures I could find). A recent attempt to introduce chips glued to the frame was abandoned after it was shown that several million kronor investment had not lead to a single returned stolen bike.

    – Most people ride relatively simple and cheap bikes because of the risk of theft. In fact I would bet that this is the main obstacle for bike stores to sell any high quality and expensive bikes or bike parts

    – Finding a place to lock your bike to something solid (such as I do) is easy, because people tend to do it only for their expensive tricycles. So in a way I should not complain too loudly about this.

    – Given current infrastructure it would be impossible for any considerable proportion of danish bikes to be locked in a safe way

  13. henry Says:

    Tobias, It might be an old thread here but will only become a steadily more relevant topic in these cities.

    The Copenhagen vs. Amsterdam (or better every Dutch city) comparison comes up periodically because it’s hard not to marvel at some of the considerable differences between two places that much of the world population probably doesn’t even realize are in separate countries. I think just a couple weeks ago we discussed the strange Danish preference for family trikes. Yes, of course I do realize that they probably wonder exactly the opposite… but I happen to know that I’m right 😉

    During my visit to Copenhagen a few years ago I also noticed the lack of bike parking racks and structures and even more strikingly the pathetic locks people expected to keep their bike safe. Here in Amsterdam people are gradually coming to accept that not only does any rideable bike have to be locked with 10mm thick hardened steel shackles… but that you also have to affix it with said chain to an immovable object if you want it to be there when you return. That said, old habits die hard as witnessed by the recent rash of cargobike thefts here. Thieves are cruising family friendly neighborhoods at night with vans, carting away cargo bikes not locked in place. But if you lock your bike properly there’s very little chance it’ll be stolen, thanks to the large number of people still unclear on this concept. I assume the thief figures “Why go to the trouble of grinding through locks on the street when you can do so in the comfort of your own subsidized apartment?”.

  14. hussam abu cell Says:

    dear sir
    we are company in jordan looking for used bikes specailly mountain bike and road bike

    hussam abucell

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