The Cycling Capital of the World?

Some time ago, I took an English colleague out to dinner in the Amsterdam City Centre. He became more and more subdued as we walked the streets and looked at the sights.  I finally took him into one of my favorite places – a small ‘tasting room’ as they call it and after three stiff Dutch drinks he finally admitted: “I won’t walk around this town any more! These bikes are lethal!”
I had noticed he had some close brushes with speeding cyclists but I regarded them as nothing out of the extraordinary. After all, cyclists are a law onto themselves in this town.

Damstraat_Fietsen

But I also remembered: After Beijing, Amsterdam must have the highest bicycle density in the world. And seeing them in action is seeing Anarchy on two Wheels! And encountering them is like facing the lions in the Colosseum in Rome…
And it is not a recent phenomenon; I found this British film fragment, showing how the Amsterdam bicycle situation was in the early 1950’s!

Enjoy!

 

 

Old Amsterdam – in Winter

When I say “…the Magical City of Amsterdam…”. it is because I can remember images like this one, etched forever in my memory. The crisp, freezing cold, the tang of coal and wood smoke in the air and all sounds muffled as if the city itself is awed by the majesty  of this blanket of snow that has turned even the ugliest places into a fairy-tale.

1952_brouwersgracht
The “Brouwersgracht” in the winter of 1952