Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS
Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS

When School’s Out in Amsterdam 36

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

While strolling around Amsterdam on Friday afternoon shortly after arriving in the Dutch capital, I happened upon a school just as the kids were being let out for the weekend. The scene was nothing short of fascinating for a Canadian who is accustomed to seeing cars lined up for several blocks when school is out.

In the school yard, parents had parked their bicycles and were socializing with other parents and teachers as they waited for their children. Nobody seemed to be in a rush to “beat the traffic”; the scene was serene and accurately symbolized the laid back European culture.

Some parents had bakfietsen (cargo bikes), child seats, or their children would ride their own bikes if they were old enough.

I couldn’t find a single parent picking up their children by car. If they were there, their car must not have been parked near the school yard.

As these families pedaled away from the school, the social interactions continued, with parents talking to other parents along the cycle path, and the children telling their parents about their day.

The stress that is commonplace in North America on the car ride home was nonexistent for these Dutch families.

Below are some photos I took of the school yard and some of the parents and children on their journey home.

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Amsterdam school pick-ups by bike

Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Stay tuned for more articles in the coming days detailing my Amsterdam experience.

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

i share the road

Related Articles:

  • Dave Krentz

    So nice to see. Working to get the same attitude here in my lifetime. From a fellow Canadian who holds his breath — literally — while riding past those blocks of cars.

  • Dave Krentz

    So nice to see. Working to get the same attitude here in my lifetime. From a fellow Canadian who holds his breath — literally — while riding past those blocks of cars.

  • Green Mark

    I never thought about this much until reading your article…

    I lived at an intersection in the French Concession in Shanghai. 100m down one street was a private school. 100m down the other was a state run school.

    The former street was lined with every brand of luxury car imaginable. Parents or private drivers were waiting in the cars, sleeping, or on their ipads. The street was loud with honking as frustrated drivers tried to squeeze past the parked cars. Kids walked directly from the school to the waiting cars. My guess is they got in the cars and opened up their ipads too.

    The latter street was mostly grandparents and children chatting in groups on the sidewalk, and buying snacks from street vendors. The street was loud with chatting and laughter. Nobody was in a rush to leave, but when they did, the chatting continued – usually with the grandparent at the front of the bicycle, and the child at the back.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Very interesting observations Mark. I love the social aspect of the state-run school instead of being isolated from society and stressed out inside a luxury car. I think the Chinese need to find a better way to show off their wealth rather than through luxury automobiles.

      Perhaps when China becomes more like the United States – e.g. where anybody can buy a luxury car using debt – then driving a luxury car will no longer symbolize wealth.

      I like this quote about American car culture in the book “Carjacked”:

      “The car today is less a reliable sign of hard work done & money earned than of hard work yet 2 be done & money yet to be earned”

  • Green Mark

    I never thought about this much until reading your article…

    I lived at an intersection in the French Concession in Shanghai. 100m down one street was a private school. 100m down the other was a state run school.

    The former street was lined with every brand of luxury car imaginable. Parents or private drivers were waiting in the cars, sleeping, or on their ipads. The street was loud with honking as frustrated drivers tried to squeeze past the parked cars. Kids walked directly from the school to the waiting cars. My guess is they got in the cars and opened up their ipads too.

    The latter street was mostly grandparents and children chatting in groups on the sidewalk, and buying snacks from street vendors. The street was loud with chatting and laughter. Nobody was in a rush to leave, but when they did, the chatting continued – usually with the grandparent at the front of the bicycle, and the child at the back.

  • http://twitter.com/BicycleDutch Mark Wagenbuur

    Nice to see it through foreign eyes!
    One minor thing. Fiets is singular (Bike) and Fietsen is plural (Bikes). So your sentence: “Some parents had bakfiets (cargo bikes),” is not entirely correct. It should either be “Some parents had a bakfiets (cargo bike),” or “Some parents had bakfietsen (cargo bikes),” But I understand the s of fiets is confusing.
    Fietsen is also a verb to make it even more complicated, meaning cycling.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Thanks for clarifying this Mark. I really wish my Oma and Opa would have taught me to speak Dutch when I was young ;) I have now updated that sentence. Cheers.

  • http://twitter.com/bicycledutch Mark Wagenbuur

    Nice to see it through foreign eyes!
    One minor thing. Fiets is singular (Bike) and Fietsen is plural (Bikes). So your sentence: “Some parents had bakfiets (cargo bikes),” is not entirely correct. It should either be “Some parents had a bakfiets (cargo bike),” or “Some parents had bakfietsen (cargo bikes),” But I understand the s of fiets is confusing.
    Fietsen is also a verb to make it even more complicated, meaning cycling.

  • http://www.greenidea.eu Green_Idea_Factory

    My favourite bikes not bombs comparison relates directly to this: For the price of the entire F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter programme for the US Air Force and Navy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II EVERY U.S. family (including single person families without kids) could have a nice Dutch cargo bike and a locking cage etc. on the street to park it in.

  • http://www.greenidea.eu/ Green_Idea_Factory

    My favourite bikes not bombs comparison relates directly to this: For the price of the entire F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter programme for the US Air Force and Navy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II EVERY U.S. family (including single person families without kids) could have a nice Dutch cargo bike and a locking cage etc. on the street to park it in.

  • http://www.greenidea.eu Green_Idea_Factory

    Sorry, also “… the scene was serene and accurately symbolized the laid back European culture…” is really general and thus very inaccurate in regards to many places in Europe. Most of the Netherlands, much of Denmark and parts of Sweden and Germany – among others – are really exceptional in terms of kids and how they get to and from school.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      “the scene was serene and accurately symbolized the laid back European culture”.

      This quote has nothing to do with bicycles nor picking children up at school. This refers to the laid back culture that is consistent in many European cities/countries (e.g. relaxing on a patio drinking a coffee, utilizing public space to relax on a warm afternoon, etc).

      In my opinion, Europe is just generally more laid back than North America, and the cities here have a lot of public space dedicated to pedestrians, whereas in North America most of our space is dedicated to cars.

      There are certainly many exceptions to this, but in my opinion it holds true when comparing most cities.

      • http://www.greenidea.eu Green_Idea_Factory

        Sorry, I misunderstood. We see things like “Dutch-style (______)” implemented in the U.S., and it might just be a bunch of paint for a bike path… this has been happening in Los Angeles – my home town – lately, and I find it very frustrating.

        By the way with “North America” do you mean just Canada and the USA?

  • http://www.greenidea.eu/ Green_Idea_Factory

    Sorry, also “… the scene was serene and accurately symbolized the laid back European culture…” is really general and thus very inaccurate in regards to many places in Europe. Most of the Netherlands, much of Denmark and parts of Sweden and Germany – among others – are really exceptional in terms of kids and how they get to and from school.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    Very interesting observations Mark. I love the social aspect of the state-run school instead of being isolated from society and stressed out inside a luxury car. I think the Chinese need to find a better way to show off their wealth rather than through luxury automobiles.

    Perhaps when China becomes more like the United States – e.g. where anybody can buy a luxury car using debt – then driving a luxury car will no longer symbolize wealth.

    I like this quote about American car culture in the book “Carjacked”:

    “The car today is less a reliable sign of hard work done & money earned than of hard work yet 2 be done & money yet to be earned”

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    “the scene was serene and accurately symbolized the laid back European culture”.

    This quote has nothing to do with bicycles nor picking children up at school. This refers to the laid back culture that is consistent in many European cities/countries (e.g. relaxing on a patio drinking a coffee, utilizing public space to relax on a warm afternoon, etc).

    In my opinion, Europe is just generally more laid back than North America, and the cities here have a lot of public space dedicated to pedestrians, whereas in North America most of our space is dedicated to cars.

    There are certainly many exceptions to this, but in my opinion it holds true when comparing most cities.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    Thanks for clarifying this Mark. I really wish my Oma and Opa would have taught me to speak Dutch when I was young ;) I have now updated that sentence. Cheers.

  • http://www.greenidea.eu/ Green_Idea_Factory

    Sorry, I misunderstood. We see things like “Dutch-style (______)” implemented in the U.S., and it might just be a bunch of paint for a bike path… this has been happening in Los Angeles – my home town – lately, and I find it very frustrating.

    By the way with “North America” do you mean just Canada and the USA?

  • http://profiles.google.com/har.3036 Har Davids

    With the price of petrol going through the roof, we may see some major changes in the very near future. We pay about 2,5 times as much for petrol as North Americans do; by the time they reach our present price-level, the use of cars will be unaffordable for most people. It’s going to be simple: saddle up or starve in your car. Better get rid of your cars as soon as possible.

    • Guest

      There will need to be good alternatives (infrastructure, etc.) to lure people onto bikes. Gas prices alone aren’t going to do it. Just look at the UK’s gas prices, and their cycling modal share is barely above 1%. Plus a lot of people (in the US at least) have very interesting ways of cutting back or making choices to be able to maintain the American dream, such as by buying cheap/fast foods and cheap quality appliances, etc, and those can be charged to a credit card anyway and be paid off slowly. And going into debt from loans hasn’t stopped the majority of people from buying a car in the first place.

  • http://profiles.google.com/har.3036 Har Davids

    With the price of petrol going through the roof, we may see some major changes in the very near future. We pay about 2,5 times as much for petrol as North Americans do; by the time they reach our present price-level, the use of cars will be unaffordable for most people. It’s going to be simple: saddle up or starve in your car. Better get rid of your cars as soon as possible.

  • selkiem

    very cool.. wish we had more of that here – you know what REALLY struck me? No one is wearing helmets!!

  • selkiem

    very cool.. wish we had more of that here – you know what REALLY struck me? No one is wearing helmets!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/John.S.Rawlins John Rawlins

    Did you notice that Holland doesn’t seem to have so many fat children as Canada, the US, and Britain?

  • http://www.facebook.com/John.S.Rawlins John Rawlins

    Did you notice that Holland doesn’t seem to have so many fat children as Canada, the US, and Britain?

  • Guest

    There will need to be good alternatives (infrastructure, etc.) to lure people onto bikes. Gas prices alone aren’t going to do it. Just look at the UK’s gas prices, and their cycling modal share is barely above 1%. Plus a lot of people (in the US at least) have very interesting ways of cutting back or making choices to be able to maintain the American dream, such as by buying cheap/fast foods and cheap quality appliances, etc, and those can be charged to a credit card anyway and be paid off slowly. And going into debt from loans hasn’t stopped the majority of people from buying a car in the first place.

  • http://www.buyforlessonline.co.uk/Playmobil/Police/ playmobil police

    Second hand sports consignment stores are often a safer choice if you’re not very bike savvy, as any good one will turn away bikes that are junk.

  • http://www.buyforlessonline.co.uk/Playmobil/Police/ playmobil police

    Second hand sports consignment stores are often a safer choice if you’re not very bike savvy, as any good one will turn away bikes that are junk.

  • Pingback: The Unconventional Urban Citizen Bicyclist ← The Urban Country

  • Pingback: Human Power Around The World ← The Urban Country

  • Pingback: 10 Observations About Bicycling in Amsterdam ← The Urban Country

  • Pingback: xbox 360

  • Pingback: penis advantage reviews

  • Pingback: edu backlinks

  • Pingback: hostgator 1 cent coupon

  • Pingback: best led tv 2013