I am lucky that the social enterprise JO Cadeau that I founded has its headquarters (and to be honest, only quarters) in this amazing building by Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck. It is an anti-squat arrangement; you pay very little and rent a space in a building that would otherwise be empty or occupied by squatters. It is great. It is in the city centre, in the old Jewish neighbourhood. The only disadvantage is that you can suddenly be ‘kicked out’ when the building is sold.
For lunch I love to go out to get some bread and nice Dutch cheeses that we eat all together (interns, freelancers and ourselves) in our office. When outside, I look at the cyclists. It is a diverse scenery at the Plantage Middenlaan. Check it out:
Born in Afganistan in the 80’s, Massy and his family moved to the Netherlands more than 20 years ago. As a child he discovered the Dutch culture, he learned to cycle straight away and felt in love with this way of moving around. He likes the feeling of being independent on his bike, to be free to go everywhere and to breathe the fresh air.. He never went back to Afghanistan but he is pretty sure the bicycle is not as popular as it is here !
Massy is living in Utrecht. A few months ago, a friend inspired him to start a new business. His friend was selling ice creams on his delivery bike.
He couldn’t stop thinking this idea was very good and would be much appreciated by all the Amsterdammers !
So he just started with one of his mates a new company on wheels : bikeexpress.nl (site still under construction)
They have 2 ice cream delivery bikes, one is mostly cycling in Amsterdam North, while the other one goes around Amsterdam East. They offer our most beloved flavors : vanilla (in pole position !) strawberry and chocolate, or pistache, or lemon, etc
Massy loves selling ice creams. The reason is very simple: he is happy to make people smile. It is related to what makes him happy in life : « to help people in every way I can help ». He is already doing so since a long time as he has worked many years for Amnesty International and other NGOs. He also initiated this nice project ofoundation.nl. Massy’s dream is « to have a positive influence in the development of the human kind ».
I was happy to meet Massy and to taste his delicious ice creams while enjoying the Oosterpark with my little baby.
Let’s see what he will offer us in the winter : broodjes, soup ?
I just loved these blues-brother-like guys, appearing on the borders of the Amstel river. It made me wonder, though: are they just colleagues on their way to have a drink or is this a smart dressed entrepreneur, taking his client out for lunch to one of the nicer restaurants on the borders of the Amstel. In any case, you must have a good deal of self-confidence to sit on the front seat of a bike like this, because a clumsy fall of the bike in front of a fully occupied terrace does not really match with this cool image!
This May is very grey. It is cold, rainy and windy. Luckily some people make the city less grey by pimping their bikes. They paint them, decorate them with flowers, or other objects.
These are my three favourite bikes of this month:
Before kids can cycle themselves, they have already been on a bike many times. Dads and mums take them in a carrier, a child seat or in the cargo bike and cycle them around. To daycare, to the supermarker or just for a relaxed ride through town. Kids love it. You see them looking around, enjoying the speed when cycling down a bridge or just sleeping like angels.
It’s never too late to go out there on your bike and get back home with the last tree from the very friendly Californian Christmas-tree-man located on Marie Heinekenplein.
Season greetings, the ACC Team.
I was a lucky girl this morning. I woke up to one of those Dutch organs playing the Sinterklaasje song–at 8 o’clock in the morning. I stumbled over to my balcony only to learn that Sint was coming! I had the best view, too. A million small children lined the alleyway and were waiting for Sint. He finally came, escorted by cycling Zwarte Pieten and he himself was on a motorbike! Maybe the white horse was ill?
Are you celebrating Sinterklaas tonight? I have my poem ready and the zuurkool is on the stove!
Ed is born in Assendelft. He moved with his sweet wife Ellie to Amsterdam in the 60’s where they got 3 daughters. Ed retired 8 years ago after having served as a social worker for 30 years. Next to his work, Ed has always been a big collector. He used to pile baskets on his bakfiets and cycle all over Amsterdam, looking for pieces of bikes, etc.
As you can see, both house and bicycle storage contain huge collections of all kinds of items Amsterdammers ever left on the street…
One day, Ed and his wife were asked by their daughter to look after her newborn twins: Ines and Sofia. Ed’s daughter is a graphic designer and works full time from home. She is very good by the way, see here.
As they live on opposite sides of Amsterdam, Ed had to find a solution to go and get Ines and Sofia twice a week.
So 1,5 year ago, Ed decided to give a new life to his bakfiets. He removed the pile of baskets and made this unique creation to carry this precious duo:
The bakfiets itself is actually older than Ed himself! But, as Ed likes to put it: «this sort of quality is nowhere to be found anymore these days».
As you can imagine, they do not go unnoticed. Many tourists as well as locals have already got a snap of them!
This is a picture he took of another of his daughters with some more grandkids:This bakfiets has a nice story :Translation : «The story started with my friend Henk. A long time ago he made a bakfiets in the form of a bible. He used to cycle around Amsterdam with it for years. He also set up the bakfietsclub of Amsterdam. I became myself the chairman, secretary and treasurer. Henk passed away a few years ago. It seemed that his last wish was to be buried in his bible. So we drove him in his bakfiets to his last resting place. Henk’s daughters offered me the undercarriage of the bakfiets. In his attic, Henk still kept a float of a waterplane;just to have something to sail away with, in case a deluge would ever occur. We have then installed the float on the bakfiets and it is still on it today.» Ed Koomen.
Ed never had a car, he is a member of the cyclist union Fietsersbond. He is a real Dutch man; healthy and happy to cycle! Inspired by the Roman times, his motto is «veni, vidie, fietsie».
Ines and Sofia : enjoy the ride!
PS : As it’s never too late to start learning Dutch, here you go: Opa = grandfather and bakfiets = delivery bike
All these Amsterdam cyclists show how easy it is to cycle with your dog. For some dogs it’s a moment of relaxing and enjoying for others it is their daily exercise!
When someone (usually not Dutch) asks me what a delivery bicycle is, I always answer it is a mix between a shopping cart and a bicycle.
So today I am happy to show you all what I meant. Special thanks to this man for cycling such an industrial creation!
Especially for Valentine’s Day, we share this picture of the window of a bike shop in de Pijp, a neigbourhood in Amsterdam.
Have a LOVE-ly day!
On this one it is quite obvious, this mother has her 3 kids in her Marilyn Monroe’s delivery bike:
On this one, you have to focus, but there are also 3 kids: one on the bike in front, one attached to the bike behind, and one …