Holland Mills

THE STORY (read, and please don't think I'm mad)
My first summer holiday in the Netherlands (Holland, if you prefer) happened during 1990: I left Italy with two friends, and we decided to rent bikes there, to wander along flat countries and towns, among channels, cows, mills and tulips (in summer? Maybe ...) yes flat countries, as other bike travellers told us, without car traffic and following easy and well signed cycle paths.

Because in the Netherlands the cyclist is the star in its heaven: signs for bikes everywhere, with printed distances between little villages, with separated bike roads without dangers in the towns. Every village has its bike shop or railway station for bike rent, for few money, open till to eleven or twelve in the night, even on Sunday.

Maybe all these things suggest me to come back in that bike paradise even the following year, and the next one, till to spend seven summer holidays arriving to the 1997.

Or maybe it was the quiet countryside, the placid eating-grass cows watching your strange bike not so far from their green world; or the light daily rain, or the mills, so different and so similar.

I don't know. Now I changed my summer places. Bike carries me along different paths. But Holland waits for me, with its sudden shower rains, its savage isles, its lovely small villages, its mills...

Then, after seven years of summer holidays in the Netherlands, I learned some "tricks" to better spend time on the bike without surprises of "do-it-yourself traveller". The advice I wrote here is taken from mail I sent to people who asked me something about my experience, simple and fast.

Maybe one day I will prepare plans for nature lovers, along countryside paths, isles and farms, or maybe for art interested travellers, or something different, peculiar of Dutch landscapes.
I forget something: please send me mills pictures, if you have...


  • BIKES: you can rent bikes (fietstalling/rijwielen) in the railway stations for few money (7-10 HFL per day, approx. 3-4 $; for more days you pay less). Without gear (Holland is flat for 90%, if you like up-and-down please visit Alps). They will ask you bail and/or passport.
  • DRESSING: it depends on the season, of course. Remember to take something for rain and bike trousers, if you want to cycle 60/70 km every day.
  • VVV OFFICE: tourists offices in Holland have this banner, even in the smallest villages. Signs are made by three V letters in a triangle shape. here you can ask information, help about B&B (they speak english, everywhere!), bike rent, museum open hours; you can make hotel reservations, even in different towns, you can buy detailed cycle path maps.
  • CYCLE PATHS : signs with "FIETSPAD" show cycle paths or the classic road signal with the bike. Cycle paths can be beside main roads, with a grass strip between or differently coloured surface, or secondary roads in the countryside. You can find white signs with red letters in the crossroads, with distances among villages. In the outskirts you can find sign with "centrum" direction.



Please wait again. When something will turn me in mind, I will try to write it in these pages.

Have a good mill in Holland.

First writing (Italian) NOVEMBER 2000; Translation SEPTEMBER 2001