Cars are king in Amsterdam: study

Cars in Amsterdam
Cars in Amsterdam. Photo: Dmitry Eliuseev / Wikimedia Commons

Despite Amsterdam's reputation as the world's bicycle city, cars are still king in the Dutch capital, according to a  on behalf of environmental organization Milieudefensie. Motorists take up about 48 percent of Amsterdam's space, while cyclists make do with only 11 percent.

With 11 percent of space for cyclists, Amsterdam scores below the 12 percent average and only makes it to 15th place on the list of 20 large Dutch cities investigated for this study. "That's a bit lean for a city famous for its rich offer of bike paths", Milieudefensie concludes. The study also showed that Amsterdam residents most prefer to use a car or public transport, 37 percent each. Only 15 percent take the bicycle and 10 percent walk to their destination. 

"The profile as cycling city should also be seen in facilities for cyclists", Anne Knol of Milieudefensie said to Het Parool. "Space is up, so Amsterdam has to choose. Every car in the city takes up a disproportionate amount of space."

The municipality recognizes the problem and attributes the large number of cars to materialism, at least partly. "In addition to cars, cyclists and pedestrians, 30 thousand vans and 3 thousand lorries drive into the city every day", a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "Through the convenience of online shopping and the growth of the city, that number increased significantly."

In the 20 large municipalities investigated, 55 percent of the streets are reserved for cars. About a third of the space goes to pedestrians, and cyclists bring up the bottom with 12 percent. In all 20 municipalities, cars have the priority. Apeldoorn, Haarlemmermeer and Amersfoort give cars the most space at 61 percent. 

When the space for cyclists and pedestrians are combined, The Hague offers the most space for non-car traffic at 53 percent. Amsterdam comes in second place with 52 percent and Haarlem in third place with 48 percent. Apeldoorn came in last place with 39 percent. 

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