As a visitor to the Netherlands, the most evident characteristic certain to influence foreign tourists is the transportation system—ranked fourth in the world by the World Economic Forum’s 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report. Travel by road, rail, air, and water networks is safe, efficient, and practical for citizens and noncitizens alike.
The Netherlands has one of the densest, yet most advanced road networks in the world. Keeping up with new technological trends is necessary since Dutch roads are used in record intensities.
One of these innovative techniques includes the utilization of Porous Asphalt Concrete (PAC)—used more extensively in the Netherlands than anywhere else in the world. PAC improves road safety by removing standing water from roadways through the porosity of the material.
Another example includes dynamic road signalization. Electronic signs allow up-to-the-minute notifications to be communicated to drivers regarding forthcoming delays or traffic accidents.
Cycling is perhaps the most ubiquitous mode of transportation associated with the Netherlands. Extensive cycling infrastructure covering nearly 22,000 miles makes the Netherlands the most bike-friendly country in Europe—a distinction shared with Denmark.
Some estimates state that there are more bicycles in the Netherlands than there are people; averaging to at least twice as many bikes than motor vehicles. Cyclists rule the road, too. From my own observations, bikes take precedence over pedestrians and motorized traffic.
When you can reliably arrive at your destination by means of a shorter, less circuitous path, why not choose a bicycle as your primary mode of transportation? Perhaps that’s why approximately 31% of Dutch citizens employ bikes in their daily travel.
In major cities (i.e., Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague), individuals have access to extensive tram systems. Trams connect large cities with populations inhabiting the urban sprawl. They are also a nice way for tourists gain perspective on all the hotspots located within a city, since tram stops are typically located near all major attractions.
The tram network in Amsterdam has 15 routes covering 120 miles of track. If so inclined, a tourist could hop on one end of the line and ride it to the other. It may sound strange to allocate your vacation time riding trams, but a good seat can provide an understanding on how to efficiently navigate the city, and shed light on how it has developed over the duration of time.
If speed is what you’re looking for, metro lines are available in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. However, since they are located underground, the metro isn’t as visually stimulating as the tram system.
Rail transport provides passengers with the ability to cover the most distance. Over 4,200 miles of track allows passengers from Groningen (located in the far north of the country) to Maastricht (situated in the far south) to arrive in around four hours.
Virtually all major cities and towns are connected via train. The Dutch take full advantage of this resource, too. Over a million passengers a day make the rail system in the Netherlands the busiest in the European Union.
Other forms of transportation in the Netherlands include by air (Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is the fifth busiest in Europe), by boat (the port of Rotterdam is the biggest in Europe), standard bus (with service throughout the country), water bus (in Rotterdam), and trolleybus (in Arnhem).
It’s no wonder why the Netherlands is home to some of the best transportation infrastructure in the world. The next time you travel to the Netherlands, rest assured by the myriad ways to visit any and all parts of this beautiful country.