As any traveler who has ever visited can attest, biking is big in the Netherlands. Not only is it a wildly popular activity for locals and tourists alike and a great way to explore an area, the entire infrastructure of the country – the road and transport system –  has been designed with cyclists in mind. The latest example sees one of the largest bicycle parking garages in the world being unveiled in The Hague. With room for 8000 bikes, visiting it is like stepping into an ultra-modern, futuristic museum or airport.

Located underneath a plaza right in front of the central station, the gigantic parking garage makes it incredibly easy for users to access trains to get out and about to explore the wider area. The garage was recently completed, with an urban development project for the above-ground area currently underway. Once finished, commercial and residential buildings on the site will also have exits linked to the bike garage for ease of use. Where some bike garages are dark and have low ceilings, this new one is bright and spacious, and has electronic smart directional markings that show visitors the exact number of vacant spaces in each aisle as they cycle through the building. The aisles are spacious and there are back-lit glass walls to make it feel modern.

The Hague bike garage
The design was inspired by the work of M.C. Escher © Mike Bink

Listed as one of Lonely Planet’s top choices for experiences in the Netherlands, cycling is often hailed as a fantastic way to see both the city and the countryside. With bikes available to rent pretty much anywhere and a flat terrain that makes traveling at a leisurely pace easy, perhaps no other country in the world is better suited for cycling. The Netherlands boasts thousands of kilometers of bike lanes and paths that link most parts of the country together, with countless scenic routes available. 

Bike Parking The Hague
The garage is one of the biggest in the world © Mike Bink

“Cycling is good for people and for the environment. In Dutch cities, it is the most convenient and often quickest way to go from A to B. Also, since COVID-19 the bicycle has been an increasingly popular means of transport,” said Rene Toneman, Partner at creative agency SILO who were involved with the project told Lonely Planet.

He also said that the design was inspired by one of the Netherlands’ most celebrated graphic artists. “By subtly weaving together facade elements of iconic buildings of The Hague, we have created a luminous cityscape akin to the works of Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. We took inspiration from the impression one gets from cycling through a city at high speed. Buildings appear to blend into one another in one continuous flow. A visit to a bicycle parking garage has never been such a museum experience, free entrance!”

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