Recovering Bikes from Amsterdam’s Canals

Amsterdam is infamous for its bikes and canals, but in an unexpected combination, the city recovers as many as 20,000 bikes (and lots of other junk) from its waterways every year.

If you happen to come upon such a dredging operation, you will be reminded to always lock your bike to something stationary whenever parking nearside a canal.   There are a number of reasons why your bike might otherwise end up in the water, including drunk tourists and accidental bumps from nearby parking cars.

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The dredging operation requires two boats: one for maneuvering the “claw”, the other for collecting bikes and other items from the bottom of the canals.

 

Locals and tourists watching the canals getting cleaned.

The operation is a special sight which attracts spectators. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the show.

So what happens to the “reclaimed” bikes? Depending on the state they are in, the bikes are either scrapped for metal or sold to wholesalers who fix and give the bikes another life.

Spotting the so-called “bike fishermen” also illustrates that despite significant improvements in water quality in recent years, swimming in Amsterdam’s Canal Belt is still not a good idea. But could this be the case in the future? We think so.

 

 

 

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