By Kate Whiting, David Knowles
With its sweeping views over the sparkling Hofvijver pond, the Binnenhof — the Gothic castle in the heart of The Hague that houses the States General of the Netherlands — is quite something.
Cycling Craze<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTE1OTg4Mi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjY5MDYyNX0.JYaQYQi9wnnZxb40I8Do5EYfULDN6DbaEB1qSSYIA2E/img.png?width=980" id="18251" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4a1213b3b20e2e2848672f70d5975477" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
More than a quarter of trips in the Netherlands 2016 were made by bike.
Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis<p>The Dutch are famous for their love of cycling. In 2018, the country had <a href="https://www.bovag.nl/nieuws/fietsverkopen-na-jaren-weer-in-de-lift;-omzet-naar" target="_blank">more bicycles than people</a>: 23 million to 17 million. More than a quarter of all trips in the country <a href="https://english.kimnet.nl/" target="_blank">are made by bike</a> and of those, a quarter are for getting work, like Rutte.</p><p>He explains why it's long been such a phenomenon: "The Dutch love cycling because we are a small country. We have to get from A to B. And of course taking a car, yes, is an option, but you have congestion plus the environmental impact. From the old days, almost from the late 19th century, we're used to taking a bicycle."</p>
Enabled by Infrastructure<div id="8860f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="556HT81576661395"><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"> </div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/By0o1KUImHw/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">Mark Rutte on Instagram: “Ter voorbereiding op de Europese Raad ontving ik mijn Letse collega Krišjānis Kariņš op het Catshuis. Nederland en Letland staan vaak zij…”</a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>The country's flat landscape is perfect for trips on two wheels. But it has also carefully designed its transport infrastructure to promote cycling.</p><p>There are more than 35,000 kilometers (21,750 miles) <a href="https://www.government.nl/topics/bicycles/bicycle-policy-in-the-netherlands" target="_blank">of cycle lanes</a> and the city of Utrecht is home to the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/6-reasons-why-it-s-time-to-take-up-cycling/" target="_blank">world's biggest underground bike park</a>.</p><p>Rutte admits he was impressed with how well-oiled the system is: "I was amazed how many specific biking traffic lights and biking lanes we now have – and so many more than 10 years ago.</p><p>"They're not only in the city but also in local communities between cities, which makes it very safe and easy, particularly for small children when they go to school."</p>
Healthy for People and Planet<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2bda75e7ec908f1b5da11f7561abb4ef"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/EcoWatch/videos/685187655317752/" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>The <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/cycling-for-beginners/" target="_blank">health benefits of cycling</a> are well-known: it reduces the risk of illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and can help boost mental wellbeing.</p><p>A 2015 study found more than 6,000 deaths in the Netherlands are prevented each year due to cycling, and it <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280004362_Fishman_et_al_AJPH2015302724_for_research_gate" target="_blank">adds six months to the average life expectancy</a>.</p><p>This saves the country's economy more than $20 million a year.</p><p>The benefits to the environment are also huge: switching from a car to a bicycle saves an average of 150 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre, according to the <a href="https://english.kimnet.nl/" target="_blank">Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis</a>.</p><p>As Rutte says: "The whole system is nudging people to make use of this very healthy alternative."</p><p><em>Note: This article is part of the </em><em><a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/sustainable-development-impact-summit-2019" target="_blank">Sustainable Development Impact Summit</a>.</em><a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/sustainable-development-impact-summit-2019" target="_blank"></a></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from our media associate <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/09/why-i-ride-my-bike-to-work-by-the-prime-minister-of-the-netherlands?utm_source=Facebook%20Videos&utm_medium=Facebook%20Videos&utm_campaign=Facebook%20Video%20Blogs&fbclid=IwAR1TzqBDFOlNp-im89KlBH9CTn6NiNJT14snG1WHbEGTK22T4CQwNKZlBZU" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></p>
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