Bikes squeezed out in the Netherlands, cars still rule the roads

Photo: Meredith Glaser via

Bikes may be very popular in the Netherlands but in reality they are given precious little space, a report by environmental organisation Milieudefensie shows.

According to the report, which looked at the division of space in the 20 largest cities in the Netherlands, some 55% of the available square meters goes to cars while around a third is taken up by pedestrians. Cyclists are left with only 12%.

Cars consistently took up most of the space in all 20 cities, with Apeldoorn, Haarlemmermeer and Amersfoort taking up pole positions with 61%.

Milieudefensie says local councils must make an effort to reserve more space for cyclists and pedestrians in order to make cities liveable and improve air quality.

‘Cities are becoming increasingly choked by traffic and the most polluting means of transport of all is taking up the most space,’ Milieudefensie spokesperson Anne Knol told the AD.

According to director of cyclist’s organisation Fietsersbond Saskia Kluit, the fact that cars take up more than half the space is ‘truly bizarre’. ‘Things were humming along fine for quite a long time. Bikes don’t take up much space. But now you can see that the limited space for cyclists is becoming a problem,’ Kuit told the paper.

‘We’re seeing lots of new types of bike, from slow carrier bikes to speed pedelecs which can go up to 45 kilometres per hour. It’s not a problem on cycle paths that are wide enough but parked cars get in the way.’

Here is where you can see the who rules the roost in your area. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
Donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.