This morning, I flew back to Amsterdam.
I arrived at Schiphol Airport, and took the train to Amsterdam Zuid, where my bicycle is parked in a subterranean bike parking. As if seeing it for the first time, it struck me how carefully organised that parking is; like the laid out tables of a dinner party, waiting for guests to arrive.
Parking is free for the first day. On day 2 and 3 parking costs € 0,50 per day, and from day 4 onwards parking costs € 2,00 per day. Bikes are tracked with tickets carrying the date they’re brought in, and are checked by the parking’s personnel on the way out. Membership costs € 55 per year, and is obviously more economical when you plan to stall your bike longer. So when I moved to Dublin and wanted to stall my bike there long term, I became a member. I got a sticker on my rear mudguard to prove it. Now, each time I leave the parking, the parking’s personnel – their purse with small change in hand - scan my bike for a day ticket until they see my sticker. I then get a small nod of understanding, as they direct their attention to the guy behind me.
The red signs, the orgy of bikes and the buzz of people entering and leaving have turned a tl-lit concrete parking space into an attraction. Apparently, I had to move away to Dublin before I could see it.