Het Blijefietsenplan (the happy bike program)

bike with flowers and dogs in a crate in amsterdam holland

This site called “Het blijefietsenplan” plays on an inside joke in Dutch. The Dutch love “plans”, especially with regard to bicycles. These “plans” are always something serious: They can be political or have something to do with reducing your taxes.

Back in the idealistic 60’s a highly progressive Amsterdam politician and bicycle promoter by the name of Luud Schimmelpennink proposed the idea of “het witte fietsenplan” (the white bike program) whereby thousands of white bikes without locks would be left in depots around the city for communal, free use. Urban legend has it that the bikes were all stolen within weeks or days, depending on who tells the story. In reality the plan was never put into action. Many other cities are now putting such bicycle loan programs into use but perhaps its just not needed in Dutch cities

More recently the Dutch tax service has allowed the purchase of bicycles with pre-tax salary. Because quality transportation bicycles are expensive and the tax rates are high this translates to considerable savings. Its a straightforward tax rule that every employee can benefit from but that hasn’t stopped businesses from meddling. There are thus a number of “bedrijfs fietsenplannen” (business bicycle programs) that handle this administration for employers. In fact its a totally bogus service; these bicycle programs are actually set up by major bicycle manufacturers such as as a means to extract another revenue stream from their dealers. Nationale Fiets Projecten, the biggest such program has their office at Industrieweg 8 in Heerenveen. The Batavus factory is at Industrieweg 4. That’s my bicycle conspiracy story for today.

While I’m at it I’ll even add that there are a couple bike shops (fietsenmakers) in Amsterdam called “Het Zwarte Fietsenplan”, I guess as a wordplay on both the wittefietsenplan and the bedrijfsfietsenplan. Why they chose to split the words instead of just Zwartefietsenplan like the others I can’t answer.

So anyway Het Blijefietsenplan has nothing to do with such serious topics. Its just a forum for people (mostly women) who like to decorate their bikes with plastic flowers, stickers, colorful brushed-on paint jobs and whatever else does the job. Nothing could be more Dutch bike than this. There are lots of great photos and you can even add your own!

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