In decades the design of the most popular bike in the Netherlands has hardly changed. The Dutch love the simplicity, the upright position and the everlasting steel frame of their bikes. Now that cycling becomes more popular in other countries, the Dutch omafiets and opafiets gains popularity all over the world. In the book ´De Nederlandse fiets-The Dutch Bike´ design critic Zahid Sardar describes the history of the traditional Dutch bike and looks at the new trendy versions of the bike by Dutch designers. A great and easy to read book about Dutch cycling culture and design.
Origin of the Dutch bike
Did you know that the design of the ‘Dutch bike’ actually isn’t Dutch? The Dutch got the design from the French vélocipède and the English Rover bike. At the end of the 19th century bicycle production increased and Dutch brands like Burgers, Fongers and Union where getting bigger and bigger. The import of cheap steel from the US and the fast industrialisation in Europe turned the bicycle from a product for the elite into a product for huge parts of the Dutch population. Many women cycled too and the design of the bike was adapted to women with long dresses cycling (‘the looped frame’: the omafiets).
Dutch design: new trendy bikes
The traditional omafiets and opafiets might be the most common in the Netherlands, but there are also many new designs on the market. It becomes more and more trendy to have a cool and special bike. So Dutch designers started to make new bikes, often based on the traditional design, experimenting with materials, position and colours. Popular ones at the moment are amongst others the urban Vanmoof bikes, the wooden Bough Bikes and Urban Arrow, an electric-assist cargo bike.
- Order a copy of the book The Dutch Bike at Nai Publishers