The Netherlands is equal best EU cycling country

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has just released its new benchmarking report, the ECF Cycling Barometer, placing the Netherlands equal first with Denmark as the best cycling country in the Europe Union.

The report rated each of the 27 EU countries on its daily cycling levels, cyclists’ safety, bicycle sales, cycle tourism and advocacy activity. This report comes after Amsterdam was rated the most friendly bicycle city in the world in May.

How the Netherlands adds up

Apart from achieving the top score of 125, tied with Denmark, cycling in the Netherlands also ranked highly in the specific research areas:


Dutch people are more likely than any other European nation to use a bicycle. Over 30 per cent of the Dutch population reported that cycling was their main mode of transport. The next closest were Hungary and Denmark, where just fewer than 20 per cent of people primarily use their bicycles to get around.


The Netherlands was also one of the safest countries for cyclists. It was the third lowest country for number of deaths per number of cyclists, just behind Sweden and Finland. The rate was negligible: less than 0,0001 death per cyclist.


Surprisingly, the Netherlands was not the greatest purchaser of bicycles: that title went to Slovenia, where there are over 120 bicycle sales per 1.000 inhabitants. The Netherlands was fairly modest (while still in third place) with just over 70 sales.


People in the Netherlands are also more likely than most to take a cycling holiday, although only half as likely as Finns, who in the top spot take over 20 trips per country population.


Lastly, ECF numbered how many cycling advocates each country had. Denmark came first here, with just under 3.000 members of an ECF-affiliated group per million inhabitants, compared to the Netherlands with slightly more than 2.000.

Why make the report?

According to a spokesperson for ECF, the federation is constantly asked which countries in Europe are the best for cycling.

Until now it had been difficult to compare countries, as different national statistics and a lack of data made it hard to correlate information across the whole EU.

There was also a need for reliable EU-wide statistics to enable governments and advocates to assess progress on cycling and allow collaboration between countries to improve cycling across the union.

ECF Secretary General Bernhard Ensink said, "If we are to double cycling in Europe, it is vital for the EU to use this data."

Top 10 EU cycling countries

1 Netherlands 125
1 Denmark 125
3 Sweden 119
4 Finland 114
5 Germany 105
6 Belgium 100
7 Austria 95
8 Hungary 91
9 Slovakia 88
10 United Kingdom 80

For the full list, see the ECF press release.

Source: ECF

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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