Why are Dutch bicycles so popular? Where does this popularity around the whole world come from? Probably everyone here is at least familiar with a Dutch city bike, a spacious mother bike or a high-quality electric bike made in the Netherlands. I think that this is mainly because of both the design and top-notch quality. Dutch bikes are an extraordinary fusion of practicality, elegance and unique retro style. They are just perfect for shopping, carrying children, relaxing errands or even sports events. There are some Dutch bike brands you definitely should get familiar with.
Here Is a List of The Best Dutch Bike Brands:
- Van Nicholas
- Urban Arrow
Traditional city bikes
Around 60% of commuting in the Netherlands is by bicycle. The Netherlands is home of cycling culture. When you think ‘the Netherlands’, right next to canals and tulips you see traditional city bikes. What really makes a bike 100% Dutch is not only the design, it is geometry in particular. I mean the way your body is connected to a bike. Such geometry makes riding a bike more convenient and healthier at the same time. What is more, Dutch city bikes are extremely durable when compared to other traditional bikes.
What is Omafiets?
Omafiets is a common name of a traditional Dutch bike. Literally it means ‘a grandma bike’ and it describes all the features mentioned above – a higher-than-normal seat and also a diagonal-curved frame. There are many Dutch brands selling Dutch city bikes, but I would like to describe three of them that I think are the best.
Number one among the Dutch city bikes. Everyone has heard about Gazelle bikes at least once. Gazelle is now a market leader in the Netherlands, producing nearly 300,000 bikes a year. What makes Gazelle bikes truly unique is an outstanding quality. What is more, Gazelle is the only Dutch bicycle producer with ISO-9001 norms certification. This is really something. You cannot leave the design out too. True class is always trendy, and this is what you see in Gazelle’s traditional bikes. The frame and design have hardly changed since the company produced the first bike 125 years ago. Gazelle bikes are comfortable and look so luxuriously! Each bike is equipped with the dynamo-powered LED lightning, so you do not have to worry about buying components. Those are also the low-maintenance bikes, with a little effort you can enjoy riding your Gazelle bike for ages.
Gazelle bikes are quite expensive, but I can honestly say that they are absolutely worth their price. You will not regret your choice, believe me. I would even go deeper – as Gazelle city bikes are easily available in second-hand shops. In my opinion, it is much better to buy a used Gazelle bike than a low-quality new bicycle.
Batavus is Gazelle’s biggest competitor on a Dutch bicycle market. The company was set more than 100 years ago. While Gazelle is considered to be quite a traditional manufacturer, Batavus puts innovation first. The company constantly develops useful technical innovations and smart solutions. This way they make riding a bike even more convenient. The highest quality of the components speaks for itself – you can just enjoy cycling, with no worries or stress. Riding a Batavus bike is extremely comfortable and safe at the same time. I think that this is a perfect choice if you are looking for a nice-looking city bike to go through the city quickly and smoothly. Most of Batavus city bikes are also ok for a sporty tour outside the city. If I had to describe Batavus traditional bikes using just three words, I would say they are practical, sporty and cool.
When it comes to particular components, they are very similar to the ones Gazelle offers. LED lightning, a very durable kickstand, a very useful carrier. Stylish, elegant, highly recommended.
This is a bike manufacturer with a history. The idea behind setting up the company came from the need of creating a perfect bicycle. The company owner was looking for a perfect bike, but all were overpriced, low in quality or just ugly. This is why he decided to create his own bike. Timeless design. Amazing quality of components. A quite affordable price. Those bikes just stand out from the crowd. What is worth mentioning, Veloretti bikes are built by hand. You can even watch some cool movies right from European factories on the Veloretti website.
Veloretti city bikes are exceptionally light. This is because the aluminum of the highest quality. Most of them have a 1 or a 3-speed gear hub so this is just a perfect bicycle for commuting and everyday use.
Veloretti bikes for children are made with the same material as their adult version. They are sturdy, high quality and for sure stylish.
Sport and race bicycles
Sometimes you just need to leave everything and spend some time alone speeding through the forest or mountains. Or maybe you want to participate in a race? Either way, you need a bike you can really rely on. There are some Dutch bikes sportsmen choose for a reason. A race or trekking, they have got you covered!
The company was founded in 1974 by Andries Gaastra (who quit his job at Batavus by the way). He started his own company together with a Japanese manufacturer Miyata. 6 years later the company started to sponsor the cycle team and then Koga development boosted to finally become one of the most producers of sport and racing bicycles. In Koga’s offer you will find a wide variety of bikes, starting from town and country bicycles, through commuting and mountain ones, to touring and race models. All components are of the highest quality and the big plus of Koga’s bikes is that they are all equipped with all the accessories you might need. That’s why you do not have to buy anything else and pay any extra money. Koga sport and racing bikes are quite expensive though.
What I can say about Koga models, it is just a perfect workmanship. I love Koga’s attention to details – everything is just as it should be. Probably this is why the company was rewarded with a number of design awards.
Van Nicholas started as a small family company. The family’s mission was to start creating modern, extra durable bikes that would connect innovation, design and passion for biking. I think they did it perfectly. The Van Nicholas bikes meet the highest possible standards – these are bikes for several ages. What is worth mentioning is an excellent craftsmanship. Each Van Nicholas’ model is an example of state-of-the-art quality. Even if company designers stick to the old-fashioned, rather a simple style, the company is evolving all the time. Van Nicholas is the first introducer of an innovative Seamless Hydroformed Titanium Frame.
In Van Nicholas offer you will touring, mountain and high-performance bicycles, as well as accessories and components. You can also choose from a variety of advanced apparels. All products manufactured by Van Nicholas are simple but outstanding, modest but modern at the same time. I would also like to highlight the titanium accessories. They are nothing but cool!
Sensa also started as a Dutch family company. Recently they have had a 25th anniversary as a bike manufacturer. The main idea behind setting up Sensa was to ‘make excellent sportive bikes for excellent prices’. With this vision in mind the company has been designing high-quality sport bikes, making it possible for almost everyone to enjoy cycling. You may not know that Sensa also has some Asian roots – after the company was set in the Netherlands, the company founder (Pieter Stiggelbout who used to be a road cyclist) traveled to Asia. He wanted to purchase some mountain bikes. Thanks to this journey he was able to create some more innovative models and finally in 2000 he introduced a carbon fiber frame. He is now thought to be a pioneer when it comes to ‘wonder material’.
Now, Sensa is mainly known as a manufacturer of road racing bikes, as well as mountain and trekking bicycles.
Mamafiets – perfect for Mums
You have not probably heard the word ‘Mamafiet’ in your life. And this is one of the most popular Dutch words when it comes to bicycles in general. If you are a parent in Amsterdam, there is not a better option for transporting your children than using a bike. A mamafiets is a mother bike and it is widely used either my mothers or fathers. If you are pregnant, have a newborn baby or a toddler, you might be scared to cycle through the city with a full confidence. This is why a solid, convenient and reliable bike is key if you want to dodge cars, taxis and tram tracks same as before.
Why is a mother bike different than a city bike?
A mamafiets is a solid bicycle with a lot of space between handlebars and saddler. This solution will let you get on and off the bike much easier. Besides, mother’s bikes have double kickstands which is just perfect if you want to get off with your children or groceries still on the bike. Believe me, there is no chance the bike will tip over. Besides, family bikes have an extremely strong frame and wheels so that they can easily carry about 100 kilograms.
It might be difficult to choose a perfect mamafiets but there are two manufacturers I would like to mention about in particular. Both of them produce comfortable and safe bicycles you can rely on.
This is one of the most famous Dutch brands when it comes to family bikes. BSP bikes are just perfect for carrying children conveniently and safely. Most of them are designed to easily carry two children or one child and some groceries.
What is often associated with BSP bikes it is their lightweight(when compared to other family bikes). They are easy to transport and very durable at the same time. Most models have a low instep and also a super-cool Bobike mini front seat. BSP bikes are made from the steel of excellent quality. The frame is extended so that there is a lot of space between your seat and the front seat. In most cases, there is also a dynamo-powered LED lightning and integrated wheel lock (cable extended included).
I am sure you have heard about Cortina bikes many times! It is almost as popular as Gazelle throughout Europe. The company was set up in the 1970s, with a vision of a reliable, quality bike in mind. The mother bike series (bicycles and accessories) was introduced in 2008. It is extremely practical and meets the standards of the most demanding mothers in Europe. A big plus of Cortina’s mother bike is mounting and dismounting system – it is so easy to use because of a great amount of space between the saddle and the seat! As most of mother bikes, Cortina models also have a double kickstand so there’s no risk that a bike will tip over. Cortina’s mamafiets can take even 100 kilograms which is easily a parent + a child + some groceries. This is because Cortina’s durable design supported by a very strong frame and tough wheels.
They are more and more popular in the Netherlands. It is estimated that the Dutch e-bicycle market grew by 3.2% last year and their sales increased by 8.7% to almost 300,000 last year. And experts say that this is not a maximum yet – we can still expect that e-bike sales will be increasing. There is one rule regarding electric bikes in the European Union – each e-bike produced in the EU has a speed limit of 25 km/h. If you try to ride faster, the engine will just turn off.
There are two e-bike companies (in the Netherlands) I would like to focus on.
As already mentioned in this article, Gazelle is a company with history of 125 years. As the company has been always reflecting the technical innovation, as well as modern design mixed with some retro look, there must be also some electric bikes in Gazelle’s offer. The company is famous for its passion for cycling and complete dedication, this is why Gazelle e-bikes are just a masterpiece. No matter if you need an eco transport, a mean of transport for your weekend errand, you will for sure find a perfect model here. Gazelle offers four different types of electric bikes, depending on a system that was used during production:
- Bosch – this is the most effective system when it comes to transforming power into the drive. Bikes equipped with the Bosch system are extremely stable while driving. The frame and housing are reinforced which makes the bicycle really hard to damage. There are also 4 support modes (Eco, Power, Sport and Turbo). They enable you to adjust the way you’re driving to weather conditions and the type of terrain you’re driving on.
- Shimano Steps (Shimano Total Electric Power System) – simple and light but at the same time 100% reliable and durable. Equipped with a really powerful engine located in a center of a bike which makes the bike easier to handle and exceptionally maneuverable. 3 support modes – Eco, Normal and High.
- Impulse – the easiest to drive and maneuver. The engine is located in the center of the bike and there are three support modes – Eco, Sport and Power. This system is just perfect for mountains and hills. The Impuls is also equipped with the ‘Walk Assist’ feature. Once you enable it, your bike will be selfdriving (3 km/h).
- Panasonic – the simplest of all 4 systems. Extremely tough though. The engine is located within a front wheel. There are 3 support modes – Eco, Power and High.
VanMoof designers say that their bikes are created with a city in mind. They are created for commuters and speed freaks in one. Their revolutionary model – Electrified S – is a perfect combination of design, power and innovation. VanMoof is famous for light frame that makes all Electrified models extremely easy to transport and maneuver. There is also a cool smartphone app, created as a security system. Together with the alarm and integrated speaker, the app is a perfect anti-theft feature for all tech nuts. I think that VanMoof bikes can be easily described as revolutionary. To me this is the best proof that it is so much better to invest in a quality bike than a cheap bike in the long run.
When I first came to Amsterdam I was surprised how many cargo bikes I saw on Amsterdam’s roads. What is actually a cargo bike? These are just bikes with a large box on the front. Their biggest advantage is that you can park them anywhere, so they are just a perfect replacement for a second car. In the Netherlands cargo bikes called ‘Bakfiets’ very often. You can translate it as something like a ‘box bike’. People in Amsterdam usually use bakfiets to carry children to and from school, to carry groceries and also for some leisure activities. In Amsterdam, it is not an unpopular view to see a parent biking with two children (one sitting up front and another in the back) and sometimes the third child biking on their own.As studies show, cargo bikes are the most popular among urban, highly educated families where both parents work on a daily basis.
You can see cargo bikes in all colours and sizes. I would particularly focus on two Dutch manufacturers of cargo bikes.
An original Dutch company with a brilliant designer – Maarten van Andel. Bicycles designed by Bakfiets.nl are just the wonderful machines. One might say that here the practicality meets an exceptional design. These bakfiets are created to carry bulky loads especially. They have many practical features and they are extremely durable. What is interesting, it is hardly possible that you will find a Bakfiets.nl bike in a second-hand shop. Why? The answer is surprising. These bicycles are such a high standard and quality, that they retain their value even better than motor vehicles.
Bakfiets from Bakfiets.nl are quite expensive, that’s true. However, in my opinion this is a good investment as each Bakfiets.nl bike is a great cost-effective transport option for many years. Going back to features, they are extremely stable and ease to maneuver. What is more, thanks to the extra wheels they can carry exceptionally massive loads.
First Babboe bicycles were created by parents. A couple living in the Netherlands were looking for a convenient family bike they could afford. It wasn’t easy and none of the existing family bikes met their expectations. This is why they decided to pursuit their dream of having a perfect cargo bike and design their own bike. They sold their first bike in 2007. Now, Babboe is one of the most popular manufacturer of Dutch cargo bikes.
Babboe bikes are safe and amazingly comfortable. Besides, the price is quite low when compared to other brands. I especially like their design – for example, there is a cargo bike with retro wooden panel or an extra box decorated with accessories. Looks really cool.
Urban Arrow bikes
And what if a cargo bike could be an electric bike at the same time? This is now possible thanks to Urban Arrow. The first Urban Arrow bike was designed and introduced in 2010. Since then, the company has been considered to be a frontrunner when it comes to urban mobility. Urban Arrow cargo e-bikes are like vehicles of the future. If you want to speed through the city in the most ecologic way, this is the option for you. Urban Arrow bikes combine the latest technologies with components of the highest quality so that your cycling experience can be as amazing as possible. Not to mention they are durable but light at the same time (in particular because of the iconic aluminum frame).
For their cargo e-bikes the company was awarded many international merits.
You have probably seen many kid bikes, but have you ever heard about ‘kinderfiets’? This is a Dutch name for a bike created especially for kids and youngsters. The most popular brands designing Kinderfiets in Amsterdam are Azor and Volare.
Azor kid bikes
Once upon a time two guys were working in a big bike factory. They weren’t satisfied with the quality of products they were manufacturing. In 1997 they decided to quit their jobs and establish their own company. Now, Azor is one of the most recognizable Dutch brands, famous for the highest quality for reasonable money.
Shortly after the company was set up, first kid bikes were designed. And that was a bull’s-eye. Azor created a tough kid bike, a bike that didn’t break easily and had very strong wheels. However, the quality components weren’t all Azor offered. The bike also looked cool and hardly required maintenance. Kinderfiets designed by Azor are the same now. They have exactly the same standards as the adults’ bicycles. They are made of stainless steel and aluminum and have some extra thick spokes. They do not resemble some regular kid bikes, made of plastic and weak. All Azor kid bikes are equipped with ringlock, kickstand, rear rack, frame protector and metal mudguards. They are just perfect for leisure cycling as well as school runs.
Among all the children’s bikes in the Netherlands, Volare is one of the most famous and largest producers. No matter the age of your child, this manufacturer has got you covered. A variety of sizes and colours – even the most demanding parent will find a perfect model for their kid. It is worth mentioning that Volare kid bikes were originally created for those children who started their adventure with biking. They are just perfect for learning how to bike. Balance bikes are not as popular in general but at Volare you can find the one that will meet all requirements you may have. Volare understands that safety is key while choosing a bike for a child. This is why all components are made carefully with attention to details. The quality in general is very high but the price is quite normal – I think that anyone can afford such a bike. All Volare models are equipped with durable reflectors and professional lightning. If you kid starts their biking adventure in the most convenient way, you have come to the right place.
A Few Words to Sum Up
I hope I have helped you get familiar with the most popular Dutch bike brands. No matter if you are looking for a traditional city bike, a mother bike, a sport bike or an electric bike, you will for sure find a perfect one at one of the Dutch manufacturers. Dutch people definitely made bicycles their national culture and most models just speak for themselves. An amazing quality, low maintenance and trendy design come with durability, toughness and striking look. I think that you will not find such great bicycles anywhere else in the world. I cannot even imagine myself buying a bike that wouldn’t be a Dutch bike now. I hope my article has also helped you make a decision. Are you ready to find a Dutch bike of your dreams?