Thanks to its flat (meaning not hilly) landscape, the Netherlands is the perfect place for getting around on bike. It’s also quite safe: bike lanes are virtually everywhere, and drivers are so used to the many bikes around that they take them in careful consideration. So the ‘fiets’ is the preferred means of transportation for most, if not all Dutchmen. We cycle to work, we cycle to school, we cycle to the shops and we also grab the bike if we go out at night (this will also conveniently save us the money for a parking ticket or a taxi).
Kids? No problem. We just take them in front with us when they are little, in a special seat hanging from the steer. When they grow bigger, they get a seat on the back of the bike, if necessary combined with the pre-mentioned seat on the front for a little sibling.
If you have three or more children though, it’s probably time to get a bakfiets. A bakfiets is kind of a cross between a bike and a beach wagon, and you can conveniently fit in as many as 4 children (although I’ve seen people squeeze in even more!). If you’ve ever been in Amsterdam, chances are high that you’ve noticed them around.
Bakfietsen come in many shapes and varieties. Foreigners usually choose the variety with two wheels in the front for more stability, but most Dutchmen get one with just one wheel in the front because it’s lighter to cycle and easier to maneuver… I think if we were to (finally) get one, we would get the one pictured.
If you’re ever in Amsterdam with children and are interested in doing as the Dutch do, I suggest renting a bakfiets in one of the many places in the city. It’s the most convenient way to get around, and super fun!
P.S. We typically don’t put helmets on in the Netherlands, not even on the kids!