The IJ river flows through Amsterdam. Well, actually, it flows North of historical Amsterdam, but these days there's a Northern borough.

enter image description here

I've never been north of the river before, and I'm going there soon. I thought I'd take my bike, but they're not very amphibian, and it occurred to me I don't know whether I can safely cross anywhere...

  • OpenStreetMap shows a path but there doesn't seem to be a bridge there, nor a tunnel
  • There's the IJtunnel, but I don't know whether I can cycle through it, nor whether it's a good idea with the car smog
  • There are ferries, but I don't know whether these allow bikes and whether it's too pricey to be worth it.

What are my options?

(Yes I know I can just cycle around the bank and see, or also ask around, I'd just rather plan ahead.)

  • 2
    The IJ tunnel is illegal for pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds (source: lived in A'dam for years).
    – 9769953
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 15:22
  • 4
    Pedantry: it's "IJ", not "Ij". The letter IJ is a digraph.
    – 9769953
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 15:22
  • @Evert: Thanks, I know the pronounciation is joint and special, but I didn't realize it was a digraph.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 16:46
  • 1
    An other pedant remark. The IJ is the left overs of a lake, not a river. And near Centraal Station is changed into the Noord Zee kanaal. The lake and canal allow river water from the river Amstel out to the sea, but neither is a river.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:54

3 Answers 3


The route that you highlighted on the map is the ferry route. It operates 24/7. It allows bikes and it is completely free.

More info about ferries in Amsterdam.

There is also bridge on the east of Amsterdam.

And there are plans to build bike tunnel close to IJ tunnel.

  • source for the bike tunnel plans? (so we can follow its evolution and may be add a prospective opening date)
    – njzk2
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 17:23
  • @njzk2, you have nice blog, are you in NL? Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 18:46
  • Thank you for the compliment. I am not in NL, no (not even in Europe).
    – njzk2
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 19:10
  • 1
    The ferry ride takes, oh, 3-4 minutes, but the wait can be as much as 11 or 12 minutes. But, well, it gets you there. GVB rulez.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 21:22

Eugen Martynov's answer discusses what IS possible. My answer will discuss the IJ tunnel, which he didn't mention.

From what I can tell on Google Street View, the IJ tunnel is a poorly-lit tunnel with 2 lanes in both directions and no indications for cyclists or pedestrians. In addition, the tunnel is part of the s116, a major motorway through the heart of Amsterdam with, again, no cyclist or pedestrian amenities. The s116 is heavy in traffic and mostly inaccessible by anything besides motor vehicles. Driving there with you bike is likely illegal, most likely extremely dangerous and definitely a bad idea.

as Evert mentioned in a comment, the IJ tunnel is off-limits for pedestrians and cyclers.


Yah, from my time in Amsterdam one of my favourite days out was to hop on the ferry behind centraal station and then head north. Superb riding, recommend Marken as a suitable destination. Ferry is free and quick. Or it was 8 years ago.

  • Ferries are still free and fast for bikes. And due to laws and traditions, likely to be so for a long time to come. When the metro runs under the IJ, it is not free to travel on, the city is bound to provide free transport for walking and cycling. (I am living near, on the other end of the canal starting in the IJ.)
    – Willeke
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:50

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