Dutch Language Blog

The White Bicycles of De Hoge Veluwe Posted by on Jun 7, 2011 in Culture

If you have ever visited the national park, De Hoge Veluwe, you may have noticed a plethora of white bikes around.  Bicycles in the Netherlands are of course not an unusual sight but the white bikes of De Hoge Veluwe are a bit special.

In total, there are 1,700 white bikes in the park.


They are available to guests to use free of charge and can be found in a number of locations including:

  • the Marchantplein
  • the Kröller-Müller Museum
  • Jachthuis Sint Hubertus
  • Hoenderloo entrance
  • Otterlo entrance
  • Schaarsbergen entrance

Children’s bikes and bikes with child seats (front or rear) are also available.

The white bikes cannot be booked and as a borrower, you are not allowed to lock them.  The idea is that the bikes are for everyone and by returning the bike to a storage facility you are freeing it up for another visitor to the park.

If you can’t find one of the bikes during your visit, then it probably means they are all currently in use.  You do still have two options available to you.

  • You can ask the staff at the Bicycle Workshop to see if they have any blue bikes available for you to rent, or
  • You can hire a bicycle from one of the bike repairers in Otterlo, Hoenderloo or Schaarsbergen.

You can also always bring along your own bike to the park.

So what makes the Hoge Veluwe National Park bikes so special, apart from them being white and free?

Well, the ‘available to all’ concept of the white bikes stems back to Luud Schimmelpennink.  He was an advocate back in the late sixties for the Provo period (more on that another time).  He came up with the idea to release several thousand white bikes into the city of Amsterdam for everyone to use.  The plan was later rejected by the city but in 1975 De Hoge Veluwe National Park decided to utilize the unique idea and together with the ANWB purchased 50 bikes.  The scheme was very popular from the beginning and therefore was expanded.

Also, the bicycle design you see now was a venture between Hoge Veluwe park staff and the former professional cyclist, Jack van der Slikke.  It is a simple design, without gears, lights or even the very popular (but sometimes overused) bell.  In return, however, the handlebars and seat are easily and quickly adjusted for each rider’s height.

Have you ever used one of the white bicycles?


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