Bike Parking in Amsterdam

Context: Vancouver made me paranoid and things that are poorly designed make me unreasonably upset.

Photos taken on a (cold) Saturday morning.

VelopA TuliP

I’ve noticed a lot more of these since I’ve been looking, parts of Amsterdam seem to have them almost exclusively in various combinations (from 4 to 20 bikes). They are a typical alternating height rack to allow bikes to get packed in without handlebars tangling and this works well here as the vast majority of bikes have the same design. The wheel holders are deep so the bikes are stable.

The anti-theft provision is on the curved (towards the rear of the bike) bit, meaning that locking to the frame is easier (/possible) for U-Lock users, especially when using the upper rack. Not really compatible with front racks/baskets.

They can be configured as all on one side…

…or on both sides…

…and maybe in other ways, but I’ve not seen any.

Like the TuliP, but worse

Just as common is a very similar design - I do not know its official name. Unfortunately it has some major design flaws; the wheel trough is shallow and (very) often twisted/detached and the anti-theft provision is only suitable for chains. A bike will often end up with its wheel out of the trough and getting tangled up with other bikes. Securing with a U-Lock requires using the upper rack and pulling the bike towards the locking point, twisting the wheel trough and putting pressure on the wheel. Most of the time you are forced to lock just the front wheel.

They are potentially denser than TuliP racks, but panniers are unusable as a result. I hate having to use these and they are not compatible with front racks/baskets.


Sheffield racks are very common - my entire neighbourhood has Sheffields installed and nothing else. Less dense/busy areas generally get these from what I can tell.

The top bar is low enough to not interfere with handlebars and the lower bar gives flexibility to lock to if needed. They do not interfere with panniers or front baskets and this is my preferred rack to use.

Bonus: park up with a friend on the other side and lock them together!

Railings, signposts and anything else

I’d be remiss to not mention the parking of bikes on canal bridges - the handrails are basically (one sided) Sheffield racks.

A signpost can fit a couple of bikes, as can a light post if you have a long enough chain. If a bike can be locked to it, it will be.

Centraal Station

The famous one.

This is on the top floor (for lighting, lower decks are covered). The racks are in principle like the TuliPs. Alternating heights, shallow wheel troughs (boo!) and locking points that require chains to use - U-Locks require pulling the bike/twisting the wheel trough/wheel to get it close enough.

There are lots of these….

An idea of length - on a weekday it’s 100% occupied.

14 day maximum stay.

Centraal Station North

Floating pavilion on the north side of Centraal Station (on the IJ river)

Pull down/hydraulic assist lift:

Nice deep wheel slot. Locking only at the rear. Chains are ok, but a U-Lock can only be used to lock up the wheel, no frame attachment.

Bike Parkades

Never used one - leave it on the footpath!

Rack free

White lined areas for bikes, the intent is to keep bikes from being left everywhere. Nothing to lock them to - just the typical Dutch wheel lock.

Rotating 180 degrees and the reality is that convenience wins out - bikes are left where there is space.