Mention the Netherlands to foreign tourists and they will most likely think of windmills, dykes, tulips and cheese. But the Netherlands has much more to offer: polders, watery areas, heathlands, woodlands, villages and cities. There is no better way to discover the country than by bike. You will find a rich diversity of interesting sights and attractions within a relatively short distance; the landscape is predominantly flat and there are a huge number of cycle routes. Signposted routes, in particular, are an excellent choice as they are easy to follow. Choose from junction routes, themed routes and long-distance cycle routes (Langeafstand Fietsroutes). These LF routes are especially popular with holiday cyclists.
The junction route network pretty much covers most of the Netherlands. Every junction has a number and an information board which contains an overview map. It also indicates the distance to the next junction. At every junction, you have a choice of several junction numbers to continue your trip. The advantage of this system is that everyone determines for themselves how short or long they want their route to be. Moreover, the system is flexible: at every junction, you can decide to shorten or change the route. To cycle from one junction to another, just keep following the route signs with the number of the next junction. It couldn’t be any simpler.
These routes are usually between 30 to 50 kilometres long and are signposted using hexagonal signs. The theme of these routes can often be deduced from their name e.g. the Molenroute (Mill route) or the Pontjesroute (Ferry route). Although there are still a number of these routes in the Netherlands, the emergence of junction routes has resulted in a steady decline of the number of themed routes with hexagonal signs.
Make sure to always prepare your trip properly. After all, well begun is half done. A wide selection of cycle maps and guides will help you on your way. English versions are also available of Dutch guides with cycle routes in the Netherlands. Don’t have a (good) bike? Not to worry, cycle hire is available at stations and cycle shops. There may be times when taking the bike on the train would be useful. For instance, to return to your starting point. For more information about this, please check out cycle transport and repair.
Before you set off on your cycle trip, you can plan your own route using our cycle route planner or a junction map. Make a note of all the junction numbers along the route, take them with you and start cycling. If you prefer using an existing route e.g. a themed route, check out the junction route overview (Overzicht van knooppuntroutes). Here, you can find themed cycle routes which are mostly based on junctions. Most routes can be downloaded immediately. The overview is in Dutch, but the accompanying map with junction numbers is very self-explanatory. In principle, you only really need the starting point and order of the junctions together with the map.
If you want, you can download the app Fietsknoop! (see instructions) which is also available in English (iPhone, Android, Windows). It helps you planning a junction route.