CITY OF BIKES
                                          PETE JORDAN




Mid-1930s, Koningsplein: A mass of cyclists making their way from the city center toward Leidsestraat. Note the cyclists on the left leaving little space for pedestrians.

 

waterlooplein

1932, Waterlooplein: For decades, Waterlooplein held a reputation as a place where one could easily purchase a stolen bike (and, in the decades when the bike tax law was in place, where one could purchase stolen/counterfeit tax plates).

 

 

julia

September 1936, The Hague: Princess Juliana and her fiancé Prince Bernhard cycle together on a tandem.

 

politie

1937, Stadhouderskade (in front of the Rijksmuseum): A tax authority and a policeman detain cyclists while checking if they have valid tax plates for their bicycles.

 

fietstaxi

1940, Amsterdam: After German-imposed gasoline rationing had left taxis idled, almost immediately a new form of public transport—the pedicab—sprang up in Amsterdam. By the following year, though, the Nazis would ban the pedicabs because operating one was not "honorable work."

 

muntplein

 

ca. 1940-41, Muntplein: Strict gasoline rationing imposed by the Germans left Amsterdam’s car owners unable to drive. The number of cyclists in the city increased dramatically. Note that the bicycles and their tires are still in good shape.

 

leidseplein

May 1942, Leidseplein: A Jewish cyclist wears the Nazi-mandated yellow star of David. Weeks later, the Germans would ban Amsterdam’s Jews from owning or riding bicycles.

 

1943

1943, Amsterdam: As the occupation wore on, new bicycle tires and replacement parts became scarce, forcing many Amsterdammers to become creative in order to keep their bicycles operating, including jerry-rigging wheels from children’s bikes onto their own bikes.

 

groenepolitie

ca. March 1945, Dam Square: A group of about 20 German Green Police corral about 80 cyclists and force them—under the threat of being shot—to walk their bikes to a collection point where they all will be forced to hand over their bicycles.


van-woustraat

June 1, 1963, Van Woustraat: On the morning of Luilak, personnel from a #9 line tram attempt to dismantle a bicycle barricade that had been constructed by youths who now taunt them.

 a10

 November 4, 1973, A10 Freeway: During the Arab oil embargo, on the first day of the government-mandated ban on car driving on Sundays, four youths in Amsterdam-West defy the police order against cycling on the freeways.

 spuirvduin

1975, Spui Square: After the nation’s foremost antiauthoritarian Roel van Duijn was named a wethouder in Amsterdam, he eschewed the post’s chauffeur-driven car in favor of a ten-speed. Here, on his official bike, Van Duijn leads a pack of fellow former-Provo Luud Schimmelpenninck’s “White Cars”—a fleet of public-use electric vehicles that was decades ahead of its time.

 rozengracht

June 4, 1977, Rozengracht: Thousands of cyclists participate in the sixth of seven large scale pro-bicycle demonstrations that took place in the 1970s.

spiegelgracht

May 1979, Spiegelgracht: Members of the ENFB (the Cyclists’ Union) restrict access to Spiegelgracht in order to call attention for the need to make the street safer for cyclists. Though the issue would drag on for years, cars would eventually be banned from parking on the street and a separated bike path would be added to it. This was one of the early victories for the nascent cycling advocacy group.