Amsterdam is known for sex and drugs, but it’s a cyclist’s paradise

Dutch cycling Infrastructure
Amsterdam loves its bicycles. You might too by the time you leave.
Credit: Getty Images

Amsterdam is arguably best known for its red light district and cannabis coffee shops, but the city on the banks of the Amstel River is also home to a lot of bike enthusiasts.

The Dutch as a nation love to bike. Amsterdam has a population of about 750,00 people and an estimated 600,000 bicycles within its city limits. The 250 miles of dedicated bike paths and relatively flat terrain make it ideal for biking. The city’s many narrow, one-way streets add to its biking appeal.

Amsterdam’s cyclists have a reputation for ignoring traffic rules and riding with little regard for life or limb. Travelers would be wise not to apply “when in Rome” logic here, because cyclists don’t have the right of way in traffic. Unless otherwise indicated by traffic signs, the right-before-left rule applies.

Word of warning: Amsterdam has a high rate of bicycle thefts, so it’s recommended to secure your bike with two locks to thwart zwijntjessjagers (a centuries-old Dutch term for bike thieves that translates to “piggy hunter”).

Bike here

The Rijksmuseum
One of the more than 50 museums and galleries located throughout Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum reopened in 2012 after an 18-year restoration effort. The Dutch national museum houses more than 1 million objects in its collection, including the Netherlands’ national painting, Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch.” Not to be missed by bikers: the museum’s famous underpass, which takes cyclists directly through the museum under ornate vaulting and large windows. Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam

Stay here

The Dylan Amsterdam
After a long day of biking around the city, what better way to relax than to treat yourself to The Dylan’s five-star accommodations. The Dylan opened in 1999 as the world’s first high-end, boutique hotel. Book a night in one of its 40 individually designed rooms, such as one that has been recently renovated by famed Dutch architect Remy Meijers. Then, enjoy High Wine and French cuisine at Vinkele’s, the hotel’s Michelin star-winning restaurant. A bonus: The Dylan contracts with its own private bike tour guides. Keizergracht 384, 1016GB Amsterdam


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