Amsterdam is a city of bicycles. People don't just cycle everywhere, they also park their bikes everywhere. Unfortunately, bicycle theft and vandalism are a real issue. So use a guarded bike parking facility when possible. There are many of them in the centre of Amsterdam.
Bicycle flat at Amsterdam Central train station. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
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 and your bike is not in other people's way. Unfortunately, bicycle theft and vandalism are common occurrences in Holland. So look carefully where you leave your bike and lock your bike at all times.
Amsterdam has a strict bike parking policy. Signs indicate where it's forbidden to leave your bike. Look out for signs saying Verboden fietsen te plaatsen (Forbidden to park bikes). There are also zones - e.g. around train stations - with a 'no parking outside the designated facilities' policy. The city of Amsterdam has its own sign for these zones that reads 'Geen (brom)fietsen plaatsen buiten de fietsvoorzieningen'.
Be warned: abandoned and wrongly parked bikes may be removed by the police. To retrieve your bike, you need to go to the Fietsdepot (Bicycle Depot), where you'll have to pay a small fine. For more information on where and how to collect your bike, go to the Amsterdam City Council website.
Unfortunately, bicycle theft is a common occurrence in Holland. Every year, hundreds of thousands of bicycles are stolen - especially in the big cities. Whether you’re just popping into a shop or enjoying refreshments on a terrace, leaving your bicycle unlocked is never an option. Anybody might grab your bike and cycle off and rest assured: somebody will.
If you're bringing your own bike to Amsterdam, make sure it has good locks (preferably two) and use them at all times. Here are some top tips from the police for preventing bike theft.
Guarded bicycle parking
Bike theft is a real issue in the centre of Amsterdam. Even if you've locked you bike properly, you might find it missing on your return. Especially if you have an expensive bike, or depend on it for your holiday, it's advisable to use one of the guarded bike parking facilities. It is not possible to book a place in advance.
Amsterdam City Council provides guarded bike parking which is free of charge for the first 24 hours. After that you pay a small fee. The Amsterdam City Council website has an interactive map with the guarded bike parking facilities in the centre of Amsterdam (in Dutch). There are also commercial guarded bike park facilities which always charge a small fee.
Amsterdam residents who don't have a safe place to leave their bike at home, often get a year ticket for a guarded bicycle park near their home. It works out cheaper than constantly replacing stolen bikes! To find a guarded bike parking facility near your home, go to the Stalling Amsterdam website (in Dutch).
Fietsamsterdam.app offers an interactive map with all the bike parking facilities, for both public and residential use.
For more general information on parking your bike in Holland, go to Bicycle parking.