The network of national long-distance cycle routes - also know as LF routes - is to undergo a radical overhaul in 2017-2021. What does that mean for cyclists planning a holiday in Holland?
The Dutch Coastal Route is one of the most popular Dutch cycle routes. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
The first national long-distance cycle route (or LF route) in Holland dates back thirty years. The LF routes were designed as bike friendly, touristic routes for cyclists wanting to do more than a one-cay round trip. Now there are 26 LF routes that form a 4,500 km-network throughout the country.
As the LF routes are interconnected, cyclists can combine the routes in whatever way they wish. The network also connects with other European cycle routes, making them a gateway to the rest of Europe.
A lot has changed since the LF routes were introduced. In 2014 a far more extensive national network of bicycle friendly, scenic routes was completed: the numbered cycle network.
This 30,000 km-network offers cyclists an easy way to plan their own route around the country and from one LF route to the next. Without the need for the LF routes to form a network, it's time to reconsider which routes are no longer necessary and how the remaining routes can be improved.
The current 26 LF routes - which include a number of routes that are merely connections to complete the network - will be brought down to ten themed routes that will show you some of the best Holland has to offer, from rivers and coast to tulips, windmills, national parks and more. The new routes will continue to be signposted in both directions by a restyled version of the current signposts.
Please note that the LF2 City Route, one of the top three long-distance routes on our site, might be discontinued as it's less popular with Dutch cyclists. Popular international routes through Holland, such as the North Sea Cycle Route and Rhine Cycle Route might undergo some changes, but will continue to exist.
Planning your trip
So what will the overhaul of the LF routes mean for cyclists planning a holiday in Holland in the next five years? Our experience with previous revisions is that you can expect a transition period in which there is a discrepancy between the LF route given on a map and the actual revised route that is signposted on the road. You might also find your route is no longer signposted at all as it has been discontinued.
To avoid confusion along the route, try to get the most up-to-date map possible. Before your trip you could compare the version of your map with the online cycle route planner to see where you might come across a discrepancy. When in doubt, stick to the route on your map. This way you always know where you are.
To minimize the inconvenience for cyclists, the overhaul of the LF routes will be tackled in stages over five years, starting in 2017. Here is the schedule for the changes as presented in November 2016. Obviously, this schedule might change along the way, so make sure you check our the latest information before your trip on our National LF network overview.