Nowadays, when a baby is born, it is not only the mother who switches from full time to part time work, but also Daddy works less. Many modern Dutch fathers want to actively participate in raising their kids. So the phenomenon of the ‘Daddy Day (papadag)’ came into existence; one fixed day a week, it is Daddy time! Also in my little family we embrace this trend. We both work four days a week and Friday is our Daddy Day. That is the day that my boyfriend hangs around in the playground playing with our son and drinking coffee from is thermos, that they visit my grandma-in-law or that they meet up with his friends and kids who also have a Daddy Day on Friday.
On Daddy Day, mom is at work, sometimes wanting to join in the fun, but most of the time just being happy that Daddy and child are having a great time together.
– Text: Joni – Photos: Aude, Joni and Laura
Biking doesn’t always need to be a solo venture. So grab a pal and take them along with you on the back “baggage drager” style, mentor your little one or simply walk back from adventures side by side with your royal steed and best friend.
Taco grew up in the east of the Netherlands, but while visiting his aunt in Amsterdam as a child he immediately fell in love with the city. Taco loves the beauty of the city centre with its canals but most of all he likes the city’s cycling culture. That’s why he became bike entrepreneur and founded the Dutch bike company VANMOOF. VANMOOF’s mission is to create the perfect urban bike and convince people all around the world to travel by bike instead of by car.
In 2009 Taco and his brother Ties founded VANMOOF. Now, five years later, you see their bikes a lot in Amsterdam’s streets and they are sold in more than 30 countries around the world. Taco: “We want to be more than just a bike brand. We want to be a movement. A movement for change. The ’MOOF’ part in our name comes from the word movement. VAN we just added to give it some Dutch flavour. Our mission is to get more cyclists on the streets in inner cities globally. Because more than half of the world’s population lives in city centres, there is an increasingly heavy burden on traditional means of inner city transport. The bike is the solution for inner city mobility. At VANMOOF we pursue only one goal: help the ambitious city dweller worldwide move around town fast, confident and in style.”
“My love for Amsterdam started very young. I think I was only 7 years old when visited Amsterdam for the first time, to sleep over at my auntie’s place. She lived in the city centre, in a neighbourhood that was still a bit rough. But I loved it. And I still do. I love the hustle and bustle on the streets, the beauty of the canals and I like its relatively small size. It is a perfect city to go for a walk (and a bike ride of course!).”
‘City council, stand up for bikes!’
“Amsterdam is the cycling capital of the world, but we have to be careful not to lose our great cycling culture. At the moment it is not changing for the better. That is why the city council should really make a statement and stand up for bikes.” The main problems according to Taco are the lack of space for the cyclists and bike theft: “There are often too many cyclists sharing the bike lanes. The city council should give them more space by taking space from the cars. The historic city centre should be car free.”
The war against bike theft
Another problem is bike theft: “Many people in Amsterdam use cheap bikes, they are afraid a nice bike would get stolen. Because they don’t care about their bikes and because their bikes are of bad quality, many bikes are left on the streets in the bike parking spaces. If bike theft would be less, then people would buy a better bike, a bike they would care about and that they can use for many years. This would reduce of lack of bike parking space. It would also be better for the environment; no throw-away bikes, but bikes that last for many years.” That is why VANMOOF is developing GPS and GSM integrated in their bikes. “All our electric bikes already have GPS and two of our bikes that were stolen in the US were found back through the GPS. We work with Vodafone and to make ‘find my bike’ as much used as ‘find my iphone’.”
Cycling in New York and London
“I cycled in many cities all over the world. My favourite city to cycle in is New York. Not many people realise how nice it is to cycle there. But it is flat, you can cycle through the whole of Manhattan, and of course enjoy Central Park by bike.” London is the worst city Taco cycled in: “I am simply scared to death when cycling in London. The fast driving cars are not used to cyclists and the sidewalks are so high, that you have nowhere to go when you feel an unsafe situation is coming up.”
Want to know more about VANMOOF? Check out their website!
We all love our pets and hate leaving them at home. In Amsterdam, being a dog is pretty cool. You get walked while your master rides next to you (finally those humans can keep up the pace!) or you can choose to sit and ride in style! This little ball of happiness was riding through the canals in his crate with a big smile, the wind in his face and just watching the world pass by.
There are over 850, 000 bikes in Amsterdam. With these numbers, you want to stand out from the crowd. Us local Amsterdammers do this in many ways – from our baskets and spray jobs (mostly DIY) through to colourful personalised stickers and bells. And just when you thought spokey dokeys were stuck in the 1980’s. No way! The Dutch love pimping their bikes.
Speaking of, if you’re in town on June 1, check out the Fiets Festival (site is in Dutch) happening at Waterlooplein in Amsterdam, where there will be food, cool tunes and a chance to pimp your own bike! Hope to see you there!
Hats are all the rage these days. Are you seeing them everywhere, too? Today was a great day for a hat. Typical Dutch weather that leaves you with the slightest chill. I just wonder if her hat stayed on her head the whole time, or did the wind blow it away at some point? Guess we’ll never know…
Amsterdam that is. You can bump (or ride) into someone you know at any moment. Those spontaneous meet ups on your bike are the best, right? Makes up for the random hail storm you just biked through seconds before.
I saw these guys chatting it up, laughing, and recounting some silly story. Some definite bromance going on. Has this happened to you? How many friends have you seen randomly on a single ride or in a day?
It’s really fall now, right? I love this time of year in Amsterdam. The colors, fresh air, and just a little bit of sun. A perfect day for a ride along the canals. Don’t you think?
On a Saturday afternoon at StarBikes, I met up with Pete Jordan, author of In The City of Bikes, to talk about his book, Amsterdam, and of course, cycling. In The City of Bikes is a memoir-like historical fact book telling the story of Amsterdam’s cycling history and culture. It takes you back to the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, and to the city still filled with bikes we know today.
How long have you been in Amsterdam?
I came to Amsterdam in 2002 to take a one-semester-long urban planning course. 11 years, 8 apartments, and 4 bikes later, I’m still here. I blame the bikes.
Your book is all about the history of cycling in Amsterdam. What’s your favorite bit of history?
I found the war years (WWII) incredibly interesting. Amsterdammers showed a massive amount of resistance to the Germans. And it was something everyone could do: lolly-gag on their bikes in front of an impatient, waiting, honking German car.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
I was enthralled by all the cyclists from day I arrived in Amsterdam and I started asking around for books about it. To my surprise, I found nothing. Cycling is so normal in this city that no one has bothered to write a book about the topic!
And the best or worst thing about cycling in Amsterdam?
I’m still amazing that it keeps growing! Look at the Haarlemmerstraat, the best street in Amsterdam. You’d think all the cyclists going every which way would cause complete chaos–but in fact, it works. My least favorite is tied between the tourists and scooters. Yesterday I saw 2 tourists collide in front of the Rijksmuseum. It’s comical, but also just dangerous.
Any other plans with the book? A sequel? A photo exhibit?
The Dutch version of the book, De Fietsrepubliek, has an excellent photo section unlike the English version. I’m planning to extend the gallery into a book on its own. Now the website is also up and running, and I also offer private tours based on the book. And I’m working on a guide book for cycling tourists that will be out next year.
What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
A while ago, I started collecting all these loose, often broken bike parts from all over the city. In no time at all, I had almost every piece I needed for a whole bike. I wanted to put all the pieces together, but then I realized: a bike made from broken parts is just a broken bike. So I threw them all away.
For more information about Pete Jordan, his tours, and In The City of Bikes, head to www.cityofbikes.com
Watch out for this gun show! And the pink fenders! I’m totally digging this guy’s style. Just heading home from the gym with his tight tee, bright Nikes, and an old, scratched, pink ladies bike. Typical.
Constructing your own bicycle out of old parts? That’s something Niels Gomperts loves to do, as his two striking, circus-like bicycles illustrate. Actually, Niels is a selfmade handyman who can fix and construct almost anything. And with artists’ blood flowing through his veins, all his creations have an artistic touch.
His beautiful home in the heart of Amsterdam, which seems to be an ongoing creative construction site, represents his bohemian lifestyle. In front of his house, his two bicycles are parked on a bridge.
Cycling all the way to Poland Niels and his friends made a pit stop in Berlin, where they visited a friend with a very colourful collection of bicycles. Returning home Niels couldn’t wait to get started on his own. For both bicycles he used old bicycle-parts, and for the steering wheel of the ‘low-rider’ he ‘borrowed’ his grandmothers walking frame. Nice touch!
Though he doesn’t ride them daily, he does take them out to cruise through the Vondelpark – sometimes accompanied by a sound installation – or go to a cafe. Of course he fell of a number of times, but hey, that’s the best way to learn. Now he can handle just about any moving vehicle.
Niels isn’t just a skilled handyman, he is also an actor and appears on Dutch television and in several movies. He acted in the movies Lena and Shocking Blue, but he is probably best known for his role in Penoza, a fantastic television show about a Dutch mafia family. So Niels is definitely a talented and remarkable individual. If you keep an eye out, you might see him cruising around town with his head in the clouds.
As you probably have heard; we have a new king! On Tuesday the ceremony of the abdication and the coronation (without a crown though) took place in Amsterdam. Prince Willem-Alexander (also known as ‘Prins Pils = Prince Pilsener’) is now king Willem-Alexander and his Argentinian born wife, Máxima, is Queen Máxima.
For Amsterdam Cycle Chic the first question that arose was of course; how cycle chic are the new king and queen? As a royal couple you usually are very chic, but do they also cycle chic? We found the following pictures of the King and Queen on bikes. What do you think? Quite cycle chic eh?!
Hey! Where are you going with that leek?! Come to my house and cook! Where ever this handsome chap is heading, looks like he’ll be sharing a lovely meal.
Any groceries in your bike basket today?
PS. Thanks to Joni for snapping up this pic!
Well hey there pretty lady! She’s got her matching gloves and beanie, and just cruising along on her Old Dutch, carrying some things in her basket and listening to music. This freezing weather isn’t wearing her down at all…it’s almost making her smile!
What made you smile today?
I’m always super impressed by what Amsterdammers carry while peddling a human-powered machine. Weaving through cars, alongside trams, riding with one (or no hands!), talking on their phones, listening to music–and schlepping all kinds of stuff with them at the same time, too. In the past few months we’ve seen people on their bikes carrying planks of wood, sleds, Christmas trees, and of course their babies. And despite the terrible weather, they all make it look so easy breezy.
There are all types of baskets out there. You’ve got the classic crate in wood or plastic. The Albert Heijn winkelmandje is always a nice one to see (how do you steal a shopping basket?!). There’s the removable baskets, too. I’ve seen some nice vintage wire baskets. And the huge wicker baskets that have a handy lid, those are fantastic.
The widespread use of the bike basket, to me, is yet another reminder of how utilitarian the bicycle is for Dutch society, and really for any society. It’s not only a means of transportation; it’s a way of life. It’s so ingrained into daily life that of course (!) we use our bike to get groceries, purchase planks of wood, take our kids sledding, buy Christmas trees, and for anything else we have planned for the day. In fact, it makes no sense to do it any other way.
Do you have a great photo of a bike basket, with something crazy in it? Post it to our Facebook page, we’d love to see it!
What happened to all the snow?! I was just getting used to the slip n’ slide riding on the snowy streets. Nevertheless, the terrible wind and rain didn’t stop any Amsterdammers today. It’s almost like nothing can stop these people from riding their bikes!
I’ve seen tons of adorable kids on or with their sleds these past few days and I keep thinking…where are they going? If you haven’t noticed, this city is really flat. Like really flat. Where are the hills for sledding?!
Ok, Friday was the darkest and shortest day of the year–it’s looking up from here on out! Nothing better to brighten up your day with a little leg! Add some hi-tops and a Dutch bike, so chic. ♥
Oh hello there, Mr. Sunday! Where are you pedaling off to with those goodies from de Bijenkorf and AH? Looking super chic in those yellow pants and that 5 o’clock shadow (not too bad for Movember).
I think this photo truly captures the strong, independent, and do-it-all mentality of Dutch women. Totally fantastic. You can give a man a ride on the back of your bike, purse on arm, and sport your leopard gloves, too.
It’s not easy giving a ride — and it takes practice. I completely fell over the first time I tried to give a ride. Ended up just sitting on the back like this guy. I’ll keep trying though!
After Saturday’s disappointment (the Dutch team lost the first football match in the Euro Cup against Denmark) this cyclist keeps up the good spirit by using his orange umbrella to keep a dry head in rainy Amsterdam. Hopefully it will bring luck to the Dutch tomorrow in the match against Germany!
This beauty from Amsterdam was caught just before parking her bicycle to grab a take-away soup for dinner. Lauren (26) recently bought a racing bicycle to tour the Dutch flat countryside, a real trend amongst Amsterdam youth. But she just as much loves crossing through town on her Dutch bike with bicycle crate. Now that she finished her masters the summer has begun for her; cycling from park picknicks to work to late night dancing. In the meanwhile she blogs about the hidden treasures of Amsterdam for tourist site Spotted by Locals.