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Newcomer in Holland: how to buy a bicycle?

Question and Answers 3 August 2015, 08:28

You have just arrived and want to settle all the essential things as soon as possible. One of such things is, of course, buying a bicycle.

Bicycles in AmsterdamYou have just arrived and want to settle all the essential things as soon as possible. One of such things is, of course, buying a bicycle. Why? First of all, in the Netherlands nearly 85 percent of the population own at least one bicycle. They use it regularly, often daily. Moreover, cycling will allow you to cut your transport expenses and is also a nice way to keep fit and meet your friends. There are different ways to buy a bike in the Netherlands.

Students usually buy second-hand bicycles as they are much cheaper and are often sold as good as new. Sometimes the representatives of a second-hand bike shop come to the university campus during the orientation week and announce a sale. Do not be in a hurry to buy one there unless it has a reasonable price. The average price of a second-hand bike is 50-100 euros depending on its characteristics.

Buying a bike via internet

You can also find a second-hand bicycle via the internet. One of the most common web-sites for searching is (It is a sort of Dutch version of Ebay). Unfortunately, the whole site is in Dutch and the advertisements as well, but many foreign students successfully use it with the help of Google Translator or Google Chrome. There you can find all second-hand bikes which are for sale and also sort them out according to price or distance from your place.

An example of such websites in English is Marketstuff where you can buy and sell second-hand stuff.

Offline second-hand shops

The more traditional way to look for a bike is to visit a second-hand bike shop in your neighborhood. You can find addresses of the nearest bike shops in the internet. You will get more relevant results if you search for “tweedehands fietsen” (second-hand bicycles in Dutch) and then indicate your city. You can also contact the salespeople in any bike shop, not necessarily the second-hand ones.

They can always advise you the right place to go or sometimes even have second-hand bikes for sale too. You can search for “fietsenwinkel” (bike shop in Dutch) in the internet and give it a try.

Don't forget to buy locks!

Unfortunately, bicycles in the Netherlands are often being stolen, and you will need a set of locks to minimize the risk, especially if you are planning to buy an expensive bike. The cheapest wheel lock costs about € 20 but if you need good protection, consider a sum from € 120.

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