Every few weeks, the news (Dutch or otherwise) seems to have an article about there being too many bikes in Amsterdam. Included amongst these are abandoned bikes, a good number of which are hastily dumped near Central Station. Dozens of studies have been conducted trying to understand why owners never come back, but with no real conclusions.
The local city government tends to remove bikes quickly, including illegally parked bikes, and even dredges the canals for them. This is referred to locally as bicycle fishing. According to city water authority Waternet, between 12,000 and 15,000 bikes are found in Amsterdam’s canals each year, victims of theft or vandalism.
What to do with these bikes? Bikes dredged up from the canals are made into scrap metal, yet another 30,000 bikes (useable ones) are left uncollected from the city’s central bike depot every year. Last year, the city sent 1400 bikes to the al Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, a camp full of 81,000 refugees. Arguably, another 28,600 bicycles could have also been shipped, but it’s a beautiful attempt to give both bikes and refugees a second chance.