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Outdoor Activities in the Netherlands

Cycling

Reasons to cycle in the Netherlands
1. The cycle lanes
The Netherlands have got the best cycle lane network in the world. You can cycle on more than 19.000 kilometres of bicycles paths and lanes. It makes cycling in the Netherlands enjoyable and safe (The Netherlands are the fourth safest country as far as traffic concerns. Only the U.K., Sweden and Norway have lower numbers of fatalities)
2. The cycling routes
There are hundreds of cycling routes to enjoy a day, a week or a months of bicycle rides. By following a route you will avoid busy roads and uninteresting parts. Have a look at the where to go-section for inspiration on the subject of cycling routes.
3. The size of the country
The Netherlands is small enough to cover in a holiday. From north to south the distance is only 350 kms, east to west it’s 200 kms. On this scale you will travel through a variety of landscapes.
4. It’s flat
The country offers easy cycling terrain. That makes it suitable for any cyclist, even children.
5. Interesting mix of culture and nature
You’ll encounter a little bit of everything in a day of cycling: nice landscape, interesting cities, small scale villages, historic buidlings plus much more
6. No language problems
As long as you speak some English (or German) you’ll get around fine.

One of the curious facts about the Netherlands is that there is more bikes than people. Nearly 85 percent of the population own at least one bike. They use it regularly, often daily. There are about 16 million bicycles in the Netherlands, slightly more than one for every inhabitant. About 1.3 million new bicycles are sold every year.
the Netherlands must be the most cycle friendly country around. It seems that everyone, no matter of age in the Netherlands rides a bike, they use them to commute, to do the shopping, for sport or just for recreation. Nearly every road has a cycle path called a ‘Fietspad’ which links most villages and towns. These ‘Fietspads’ are mostly separate and away from the road itself (unlike most of the ones in the Uk). They are generally well sign posted giving distances in Km, only occasionally in the bigger towns is it possible to get lost and then the Dutch people are so helpful, you’ve only got to ask and someone will be willing to give you directions!
the Netherlands are a good place to tour if you are new to cycle touring and in particular new to cycling because of its flat terrain, its many cycle paths and its friendly people.

Cycle Paths
Generally on minor roads the cycle paths have priority and these are marked with give way triangles on the road surface. On major roads the priority is for the vehicle traffic and you will need to give way at the triangles marked on the cycle path surface.
Be aware that in the country side and forested areas the sign posts change from being the traditional type on a post to an ‘paddestoel’ a small square ‘mushroom’ like structures about a foot and a half in height. These not only have the directions and distances marked on them but they also have a unique 5 digit number. These numbers are marked on some of the cycling maps and are very useful aid to checking your position.

Cycle Routes
There are currently 26 long distance routes known as LF-routes (‘landelijke fietsroutes = long distance routes’), they stretch throughout the country.
Cycle Networks
In some regions of Holland they have now installed a system of cycle network routes known as ‘Knooppuntroutes’ This is a system of marking each intersection of the cycle network with a unique number. Signs are then placed along the route giving you directions to the next number intersection of the cycle routes that radiate from the last intersection. At each intersection there is a map showing you all the numbered intersections, once you get the hang of it, it is quite easy to navigate, you just look at the map, decide your route, note down the numbers and then follow the well marked signs.

There are companies all over the Netherlands where you can hire bikes and also get maps and trails.

Theme Parks

Dolfinarium Harderwijk

Dolfinarium Harderwijk is the largest marine mammal park in Europe. The park is open each year from spring to autumn. You can witness shows and demonstrations with sea lions, walruses and of course dolphins every day. In addition to the shows, there’s also a huge playground.

Website

Efteling

Efteling is a fantasy-themed amusement park in Kaatsheuvel. The attractions are based on elements from ancient myths and legends, fairy tales, fables, and folklore. It is the largest theme park in the Netherlands and one of the oldest theme parks in the world.

Website

Zoos

Burgers’ Bush and Safari

Arnhem

Website

Blijdorp Rotterdam Zoo

Rotterdam

Website