From bicycles chained against bridges and lamp posts, to multi-story bike parking facilities with ingenious bicycle racks: you find bikes parked everywhere in Holland. Not surprising as the country is home to more bikes than inhabitants. Unfortunately, bicycle theft and vandalism are a real issue. So if you don't want your bike to go missing, it's advisable to use guarded bike parking facilities.
Where to park your bicycle
Basically you're allowed to park your bicycle anywhere, as long as there are no signs saying it's a no bike parking area. You are expected to make sure your bike is not in other people's way and won't do any damage if it gets blown or knocked over. It won't be the first time a bike goes through a shop window!
Being allowed to leave your bike practically everywhere doesn't mean it's a sensible thing to do. Unfortunately, bicycle theft and vandalism are common occurrences in Holland. So you need to look carefully where you park your bicycle: vandalised bikes and broken locks are never a good sign.
Train stations and places where thieves are not likely to be disturbed are also not the best places to leave your bike. In big cities bicycle theft is more common than in the country, so be extra careful.
Never leave valuable objects such as GPS, water bottles, or bicycle pumps on your bike. Read more about how to park your bike securely on: Bicycle theft - how to avoid the pitfalls?
Guarded bicycle parking
In city centres and at train stations bike theft is a real issue. Even if you've locked you bike properly, you might find it missing on your return. Especially if you have an expensive bike, it's advisable to use one of the guarded bike parking facilities. In some places it's free of charge, but usually you pay a small fee. Some city residents who don't have a safe place to leave their bike at home, get a year ticket at a guarded bicycle park near their home. It works out cheaper than constantly replacing stolen bikes! Look out for signs saying Fietsenstalling or Rijwielstalling. You can also go the online cycle route planner. Click on the tab locations and select the box ‘Guarded bicycle parking’. All the locations with guarded bike parking will appear on the map.
Different types of safe bicycle parking facilities at train stations
- Guarded bicycle parking - this can be either manned or self-service, in which case there is camera surveillance. You can buy a ticket for a day, a month or even a year. Remember to check the opening hours otherwise you might find yourself stuck without your bike. Bewaakte fietsenstalling = guarded bike parking.
- Bicycle lockers - at many train stations that don't offer guarded bicycle parking, you can rent a locker for your bike on a yearly basis. The number of lockers is limited, so there might be a waiting list.
To find out the bike parking facilities at a specific train station, follow this link to the website of Dutch Rail and enter the name of the station (only in Dutch, but the icons are pretty self explanatory).