Edition: January 1st 2019, Written By: Kirstin Brolline
Even the vast difference between Amsterdam and Berlin has limits. Despite the manifest cultural differences, the two cities share a passion for cycling, with their city councils going to lengths to ensure cyclists have a chance to commute on equal footing with automobiles. Today, cycling gets a great deal of consideration in the tourism brochures of the two cities, inviting visitors to test their accommodating bike lanes.
Amsterdam's home to over 200 million bicycles, with over 400 kilometres of bike paths connecting different parts of the city. With 600,000 residents cycling daily, 2 million kilometres is covered within every dawn and dusk cycle. The cycling infrastructure is widely considered superior to any other in the world. In fact, the city is home to the Rijksmuseum, a Dutch museum of the arts and history where cyclists can observe historical objects from the comfort of their bike seats.
Hence the popularity of cycling, cars seem to come second in government mobility considerations. Some drivers complain about the difficulty of navigating cars around Amsterdam as opposed to bicycles, with many sites of attraction restricted to pedestrians and cyclists. After all, there are four times the number of bicycles in the city than cars occupying roads. The downside: over 100,000 bikes are stolen in Amsterdam each year, with some residents even complaining about bikes stolen from the confines of their enclosed gardens. Moreover, approximately 15,000 bicycles fall into the city canals each year, lost forever to their proprietors.
By contrast, Berlin accommodates 710 bicycles per every 1,000 residents, underlining to the popularity of the activity. The city isn’t as known for its cycling habits as Amsterdam, giving Berlin, like its counterpart Munich, roofs one of the best public transport systems for non-cyclists globally. More than 500,000 cycling trips are made daily on a total bike area of over 620 kilometres. Cyclists are responsible for over 13% of traffic citywide, partly due to the fact that the bicycle infrastructure is less developed in Berlin than in Amsterdam.
There's also issue with the car-oriented city structure not being adequately accommodating to cyclists who could use higher city investment into the bicycle infrastructure. Yet in spite of this, Berlin maintains one of the highest bicycle commuting rates in the globe.
Despite cultural similarities, it is worth noting Berlin has over 4 times the population of Amsterdam, and over 4 times the land area of the Dutch capital according to the UN. Therefore, considering the number of residents versus the number of resident cyclists in each city, Amsterdammers remain on top of the chart for their love of cycling.