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The Netherlands


The Dutch tourism market differs significantly from those in many other European countries. In short: the Dutch love to cycle and walk or hike on their holiday or for recreation.

Hiking: most popular recreational activity!

holland paviljoen

Some figures about hiking or walking in the Netherlands*:

  • in total, the Dutch undertake 481 million walking trips per year (at least 1 hour or more
  • av. per trip 8.7 km
  • 10.5 million walk for fun
  • 6.6 million do this regularly
  • there are 1.2 million long distance walkers (minimum 3 hours hiking, 15 km)
  • each year, 250,800 people have a hiking holiday abroad
  • the Dutch hikers/walkers spend 1.8 thousand million euro per year along the trail
  • most of the walks are in nature areas

Though the Netherlands are commonly known as a cycling country, it is a hiking country too! On domestic holidays, 55% of the Dutch go for a walk. How many Dutch do the same abroad, is unknown.

More detailed information shows:

  • 50% is above 50, 20% is younger than 35 years
  • most hikers are higher educated
  • they like to walk in pairs

*National hiking monitor 2010

Cycling is the Dutch way

The Netherlands are well known as a cycling country. Several surveys in the period 2012-2014* clearly illustrate this:

  • 84% of the Dutch own a bike
  • about half of the population (8 million) undertake cycling day trips for recreational purposes
  • in total, the Dutch undertake 197 million recreational cycling trips per year
  • the average length of such a day trip is 20.6 km
  • cyclists who use the LF-network (long distance cycle paths, cycle on average 71 km per day, and stop 4 times
  • 1.5 million Dutch (!) went on a cycling holiday** in 2014 home or abroad
  • along the way they spend 750 million euro a year in their own country

* surveys Bovag-RAI, CBS, NBTC, NIPO, CVO, CVTO
** survey NBTC – NIPO, 2014

The surveys show a vast number of recreational cyclists with a lot of tourism potential. Cycling is third on the list of most popular recreational activities, only surpassed by shopping (2) and walking (1).

By far the largest group of cyclists is the ‘recreational cyclist’, which number runs in the millions. In 2012/13 a profile was drawn up of the recreational day trip cyclist:

  • 49% is above 55 years, this group is overrepresented in comparison with their share (30%) in the Dutch population
  • 40% of the day trips were undertaken with their partner, 36% went on a solo trip
  • a relatively great part belongs to the higher social classes and is higher educated

Also, a profile was drawn of the cyclists who use long distance trails (LF) in the Netherlands:

  • 64% cycles in pairs
  • av. age 48: 37% category 30-49 y, 31% cat 50-64 y
  • primarily from higher social classes