For Dutch students, cycling is the most ordinary thing in the world. But for many of their foreign colleagues, this is far from the case. According to Dutch insurers, they are involved in bike accidents more often than native students. Which is why last week, the internationals got special cycling lessons on campus.

It was an entertaining spectacle, last week’s lessons at the sunny campus. With a mixture of fear, excitement and pleasure – more or less the same expression many locals bore when they learned to cycle as toddlers – the foreign students carefully slalomed in small groups across Erasmus Plaza. In many countries, riding a bike is by no means as common as in the Netherlands. In fact, for some international students, last week was actually the first time they ever pedalled on two wheels.


One of the cycling coaches checks a student’s bike (image: Michelle Muus)

Cycling accidents

Professional coaches and ESN buddies joined the newcomers to teach them how to cycle: a more or less indispensable skill in the Rotterdam student scene. “Insurance companies have noted that international students are relatively often involved in cycling accidents. That’s why we have decided to teach them the rules of the road in the Netherlands – and how to hold your balance,” explains Jacomijn Verbruggen-Zoutewelle of the International Office. Of course, the students also ventured out for a spin on the ‘real’ road. Except for a flat tyre, which happens to the best of us, they managed to stay out of trouble. MvS