Bicycles:
The Netherlands are a country of biking, plain and simple. Using an average 1.3 bikes per citizen, we undertake 4.5 billion trips per years (give or take a few), adding up to 15 billion kilometer – an average of 880km per year for each individual.

It is for this reason that the Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world, where biking is so regulated.

Bike paths – mostly visible by their red colouring – are found everywhere. There are also dedicated bike streets and even bike “highways” (for instance between Nijmegen and Arnhem). These streets are planned to minimize the amount of crossings and increase their safety and clarity. All this serves to facilitate cyclists as much as possible.

Safety:
Wearing a safety helmet is not compulsory in the Netherlands and very few people use them. For newcomers to biking and the Dutch cycling lanes however – particularly children – it might be advisable to wear one.

Parking your bike -AFAC-
It is important to properly park your bike in the inner city. If you don’t, you run the risk that the AFAC will remove it. This is an organization responsible for removing illegally parked bikes. You can reclaim your bike for a small fee at the AFAC office in the Houtstraat.

It is good to know that there are several (free) places to park your bike. An overview:

  • Stationsplein (free)
  • Stationsplein basement (paid)
  • Fietstransferium station (free)
  • Bischop Hamerstraat (free)
  • Plein 1944 (free)
  • Marienburg (free)
  • Stadhuis (city hall; free, open on Saturdays and “Koopzondagen”, those Sundays on which shops are open)
  • Molenstraat (free)


Public Transportation:

The Netherlands have a well-established network of public transport. Trains, busses, underground, trams, it is all there. A widely used way of planning your journey with public transport (“openbaar vervoer”, or “OV”) is through the website www.9292ov.nl. Paying is done by means of an “OV-chip-card”. This is a single card which can be used in all public transport in the country. In case you are registered in the Netherlands, you can apply for a personalized card; alternatively, you can also buy an anonymous one for €7.50. Using terminals found at train stations and stops, you charge money on the card. You can also do that online.

Each time you start your journey, you scan your card (in case of trains, usually on the platforms or upon entering the station; for busses, when entering the vehicle). When you end your journey, OR when you change mode of transportation/service provider, you check out by scanning your card again. In the case of the latter, you check in again to repeat the process. Upon check-out, money is automatically withdrawn from your card. In case you forget to check out (not an uncommon occurrence) the system overcharges you; on the website www.uitcheckgemist.nl you can apply for the overdue amount to be reimbursed.

If you travel mostly outside of rush hours, consider getting a discount card (“daluren-voordeel”): it grants you a 40% discount on journeys outside those busy hours. More information can be found here.

Cars:
In the Netherlands, cars drive on the right side and speed limits are in place both within (30 or 50 km/h) and outside (80/100/120/130 km/h) of urban areas. Important exit roads in and around Nijmegen are: the A325 (connecting Arnhem and Nijmegen), the A50 (Apeldoorn-Eindhoven), the A73 (Maastricht-Nijmegen) and the A15 (Rotterdam-Nijmegen).

In Nijmegen there are two main traffic plazas, of which the Keizer Karelplein is the most wel-known one. On both plazas (Keizer Karelplein and Takenhofplein), traffic coming from the right has priority, also over traffic already on the roundabout. Therefore, always allow traffic coming from the right to go first. A complicating factor is that there are no lines indicating lanes: you can theoretically drive wherever you want. In practice, the further the exit you are taking, the more you are expected to stick to the left side (the middle of the roundabout).

As an extra caution: always be aware of cyclists, who sometimes tend to take their privileged position in traffic somewhat too liberally. Keep in mind that cyclists are allowed to pass you on the right side (where there will often be a bicycle lane anyway). Leave room for cyclists to your right and take care when turning right – bikes have the right of way when going straight.

Driver license:
If you are in the possession of a license from an EU or EFTA Member State, issued before January 19th, 2013, you can continue using your license until 10 year after receiving it at the latest. In case your license is more than 9 years past its issuing date, you can use it a maximum of 2 years after registering in the Netherlands, under the condition that it is still valid.


News & Updates

First monday of the month: airraid alarm test


Today is the first monday of the month. Everyfirst monday the national airraid alarm will be tested. Nothing to worry about; it is just a regular check!

For more information (in Dutch) about how to act when the Airraid alarm goes off: Click HERE.



 

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