May 26, 2017

Bike rental company in Amsterdam told to vacate parking stands

Filed under: Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 6:32 pm


The Amsterdam West district is cracking down on a new player in the bicycle rental market, De Westkrant reports.

Instead of using its own parking facilities, Denmark’s Donkey Republic parks its bright orange rental bikes in the street, often using public bicycle racks. The intended customers for these rental bikes are tourists, as locals already own bikes. Fenna Ulichki of Amsterdam West has now told Donkey Republic that if it doesn’t remove its bikes from public parking spaces, the district will remove the bikes themselves. It is not clear what the legal basis would be for this, considering other company bikes are also parked in public spaces.

Amsterdam is undergoing a double tourism and cycling boom. For example, the city registered four million overnight stays in hotels in 2000, and expects 8 million stays in 2017 (source: Dashboard Toerisme on, May 2017). Meanwhile the share of bicycle trips went from about 23% in 2000 to 27% in 2015 (source: Amsterdamse Thermometer van de Bereikbaarheid,, 2017). The bicycle is a hit especially among locals—currently 36% of all trips by citizens is undertaken by bike, handily beating out the car (24%).

It is not surprising then that car owners are increasingly satisfied about the amount of parking space they have. If you ask me, instead of framing this as an unsolvable and self-induced bike parking shortage, the city should simply start converting parking spaces for cars into bike racks.

(Photo: three Donkey Republic rental bikes take up most of the space in a bike rack on the Willem de Zwijgerlaan in Amsterdam West. Meanwhile, three cars easily take up three times as much space in the background.)

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September 16, 2016

In Rotterdam parking spots turn into parks for a day

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:13 pm

Today Rotterdam is celebrating Park(ing) Day, which sounds like a lot of pun fun. The city of Rotterdam is letting people take over a parking spot for free and camp out on it, as if it were a park. And to sweeten the deal, the rules of a park apply to the parking spot.

Park(ing)Day is part of Happy Streets, yet another let’s-use-English-rather-than-Dutch named event (where ‘happy’ often sounds like ‘hippie’ when some Dutch people pronounce it) lasting the entire weekend in order to promote ‘sustainable mobility and a better use of public spaces’.

The city will also feature yet another let’s-give-it-an-English-name-to sound-cool event called Walk’in Rotterdam, where people can take a stroll along various uncommon parts of the city with a knowledgeable guide who I bet will tell their stories in the country’s main language.

And Sunday is another why-use-Dutch-go-for-English event called Open Streets when streets will be car-free and feature other merriment.

Yes, this is a picture of Amsterdam.


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September 11, 2015

Christian party argues against paid parking

Filed under: Automobiles,Religion by Orangemaster @ 12:08 pm

Fundamentalist Christian political party SGP in the city council of Ede have decided to complain about paying for parking on Sunday at a local hospital, claiming that it’s not Christian. The hospital introduced paid parking on Sunday only recently, and it’s safe to assume nobody likes to pay for parking especially on Sunday, which is often free in many parts of the country at least on the street.

The SGP argue that more people will park on the street near the hospital most probably for free and hinder the locals. This implies that Christians like them would gladly annoy the locals for free parking and that’s their possible argument for making parking free on Sunday at the hospital.

What if SGP people visited the hospital on another day than Sunday, say Saturday? Problem solved. What if city council makes no exceptions for the SGP who also pay to use electricity, water and their car on Sundays? Problem solved. What if they went to the hospital by bike or walked? Problem solved.

SGP, you’re the problem. Run along now.


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November 11, 2014

Fined 60 euro for trying to park anonymously

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 10:36 am

This morning Privacy First, a foundation committed to preserving and promoting the right to privacy, is in court in Amsterdam over having to enter one’s license plate number when parking on the city’s streets.

Bas Filippini, who when parking in Amsterdam enters the license plate number ‘NOWAY’ (see film linked to the source), says the problem is two-fold: 1) a person in Amsterdam now has no choice but to enter their license plate number and 2) people cannot pay with cash, which both breach the right to privacy and anonymity, never mind being a pain for tourists or other visitors who don’t have the right bank card or mobile phone.

Filippini is in court because of a 60 euro fine he got for not entering his license plate number. According to Privacy First, every free citizen has the right to privacy in the sense of anonymity in public spaces, including parking one’s car, a right stated by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (PDF).

We’ve been parking cars on the streets in Amsterdam for decades without the city knowing anything about our cars, and continue to gleefully do so across the country. Article 8 says unless matters such as, “national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” come into play, which I cannot possible imagine they do.

UPDATE: The verdict is due 23 December 2014. Postponed for six weeks.

UPDATE No. 2: Verdict out: “The council considers that using the wrong number plate is the same as not paying but the court disagreed. Not finding a payment corresponding to a real number plate could be evidence that no payment was made but the person parking can demonstrate they did pay in a variety of ways”.


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July 28, 2014

Breaking the law is fine when the rich do it, says cop

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 2:43 pm

Smart-parkingLast month, lost in a footnote, I hinted at a common practice in a rich neighbourhood of Amsterdam of not paying parking tickets.

Instead, the rich used to fight their tickets in court. They assumed that because the district had to pay its lawyers with public money, the district would prefer to turn a blind eye to parking violations.

Volkskrant wrote back in 2001: “In the entire neighbourhood committees were started to collect the legal expertise needed to fight parking fines in court. Once people had won a couple of their cases, posters started appearing at the dry cleaners: ‘Got ticketed? Fight the fine!'”

The article, a vignette of the Amsterdam neighbourhood Museumkwartier, quotes a police officer who gets worked up over the lack of respect shown to his office, but his colleague, one Jan Okx, sees the positive side of the situation: “The people get to know each other, which improves the cohesion of the neighbourhood.” Volkskrant describes his attitude without a hint of irony as “thinking in processes”.

I wonder if an article like that could still be published today. The one percent have destroyed the economy and the phrase ‘the rich are getting richer’ is no longer just a leftist cry but a scientific fact.

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June 9, 2014

Amsterdam’s rich district Zuid throws money in the trash

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 11:08 am

coins-sarah-joyLast January garbage collectors found 46,000 guilders in old office furniture that most likely came from the offices of Amsterdam’s district Zuid (‘South’).

The money was found by an HVC employee in Hoorn who was busy compressing a container full of wood when money boxes started popping out, revealing the banknotes they had inside. The district told Parool that they never missed the money. The district ordered the money to be returned. The paper doesn’t say what legal grounds they have to do so.

Amsterdam Zuid is home to the richest residents of Amsterdam, so it’s quite ironic that they could lose tens of thousands of guilders without noticing it. Residents of some Amsterdam Zuid neighbourhoods are so wealthy that when they get fined for double parking, they prefer to call their expensive lawyers rather than paying a small fine.

The Netherlands replaced the guilder by the euro as its legal tender in 2002.

(Photo by Sarah Joy, some rights reserved)

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March 14, 2014

Dutch municipalities make 660 million euro from parking tax

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 8:00 am

The most expensive parking garage in the country is in Amsterdam under the Bijkenkorf department store and at De Kolk, both right downtown. Both parking garages charge a whopping 5,71 euro an hour, while the cheapest parking garage in the country not too far from Amsterdam in Hoofddorp asks for just 0,80 an hour in a city full of commuters and big international businesses.

Amsterdam rakes in a cool 162 million euro of parking tax from parking meters and permits. In 2013 Amsterdam made a record amount of money from parking tax, to the tune of 166 million euro. Back then the price of permits went up, the paid parking zones got bigger and more ‘meter maids’ were doing the rounds. What’s really funny is that in October 2013 the city claimed that parking was no longer their cash cow (in Dutch), but still made a record amount that year.

In 2009 Amsterdam had the most expensive parking on the planet. See also: Amsterdam parking rates slashed.


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June 28, 2013

Uselessly small parking spaces pop up in The Hague

Filed under: Automobiles,Nature,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:15 am

Parking in The Hague neighbourhood of Oud-Leyenburg is apparently a problem, which is why the city is working on it by creating some 500 parking spots. However in the Soesterbergstraat, construction workers worked some magic to get a round a tree that they didn’t have permission to move and have created a few completely useless ‘parking spots’.

On my street, Smart brand cars, which are very small, park quite creatively as well. Even Smarts wouldn’t fit in the wee spots The Hague has created. Smurf parking only?


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April 2, 2013

Park-and-ride actually increases car use, an unintended effect

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 6:02 pm

Park-and-ride, which was meant for people to drive and freely or easily park near train and subway stations to then continue their commute apparently increases car use instead of decreasing it. Dutch researcher Giuliano Mingardo surveyed some 700 commuters at nine railway park-and-ride sports around Rotterdam and The Hague a few years ago at small and large parking lots. Adverse effects included people parking and then walking somewhere, technically using up a commuter’s spot, people driving or cycling to a railway station instead of commuting the entire way, and generally using the car more because parking was cheap or free.

According to Mingardo, he believes that park-and-ride facilities “do present a net increase in traffic volume rather than a reduction”.

In the Netherlands, parking in and around train stations that are not park-and-rides are either physically impossible (a car cannot actually stop anywhere), only for permit holders or terribly expensive. It is still socially acceptable to be late for work when public transport goes haywire like in the winter, but it is still very important and expected in many professions for people to arrive at work or at a client’s with their own car.

(Link:, Photo of Park and ride sign, England by Ell brown, some rights reserved)

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February 8, 2012

Parking enforcement officers set the worst possible example

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles,General,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:41 pm

Parking enforcement officers in Amsterdam, and surely in other cities, cause nuisance to cyclists and pedestrians on their scooters. They drive side by side, sometimes against cycling traffic, and faster than the allowed 25 km/h. They have no reason or right to do any of this, either. Let me remind you that scooters and mopeds cause 10 to 20 percent of all accidents in the Netherlands.

And that’s not all. According to Nieuws uit Amsterdam, they don’t wear helmets and drive a polluting type of scooter, while the city pushes for traffic safety and clean air. You can imagine why cyclists union Fietsersbond highly recommends these parking enforcement officers do their jobs on a bicycle just like a whole bunch of other working people do.

Ever since the cold spell started well over a week ago, the beloved ticket givers have traded in their scooters for taxis. That’s right: the city is paying for them to be driven around town with taxpayers’ money by taxi. In Canada they’d just walk around wearing warm clothes, but oh no, snow is dangerous here! Why don’t they just have cars?

True, scootering around on icy streets is dangerous, and cycling is also not a good idea, but what’s wrong with walking? It’s like nobody thought of it. Tons of people work outdoors day in day out despite the cold, why are these people so special? Before ‘do you it yourself and see how cold it is’ pops up in the comments, I was a bike courier in MontrĂ©al, Canada for three years also during the winter with temps of -25 celsius. Dress warmly and keep moving.


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