In the 1970s, the Dutch economy was booming and more people were able to afford cars. As the number of cars on the road grew, so did the number of traffic accidents. This led to protests, which got the politicians’ attention. In addition, the oil crisis in the mid-1970s led the Netherlands to adopt a “car-free Sunday” movement to reduce consumption. Soon residents reverted back to their previous mode of transportation: bikes.
As the readoption of bicycles became more popular, municipalities retrofitted the streets to make them more cycle-friendly. As they constructed more cycle paths, even more people began to ditch their cars and jump on bikes.
Today there are nearly 850,000 bikes in Amsterdam, and for Elliot, this one was in the right place at the right time.
“We had a quick layover on the way to France. We’d been walking and wandering and taking some photos, and I saw this scene—the bike and the trees were forming a heart shape. Between the glow of the lights on the water and the color of the sky this summer evening, it all came together and worked out. Bikes are such an important part of life in Amsterdam, and I think this one photo really captures the spirit of the city.”