The ANWB fietskaart series consists of 20 separate cycle maps on a scale of 1:50,000 covering the whole of Holland. We went to Drenthe - one of the most popular cycling regions - to put one of these maps to the test: Fietskaart 5 - Drenthe oost (published in 2011, ISBN 978-90-18-0333-0).
ANWB Fietskaart series. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
Series of 20 separate cycle maps covering the whole of Holland
All the cycling information you need
The ANWB Fietskaart 5 - Drente oost offered us all the information we needed to find our way around the area - and more. The map gives all the cycle paths, the numbered cycle network, the national long-distance cycle routes (LF routes), the numbers of the toadstool signposts and street names outside built-up areas, so we always knew exactly where we were.
The main roads and motorways where cycling is not allowed are clearly indicated. If there is a separate cycle path along a main road, it’s marked on the map. It’s also obvious where cyclists can cross a motorway, railway line or river. As the map is on a scale of 1:50,000 - a scale often used for walking maps - we were a bit disappointed to find the footpaths are not marked. In all fairness, the map is sold as a specific cycle map, but it would have been an added bonus if at least the main footpaths had been included - even the most fanatical cyclists like to go for a walk sometimes.
The topographical information on the map is well suited for cycling. On opening the map, the colours immediately shout out where you’ll find woods, heathland or built-up areas, making it easy to see what’s worth visiting and what can better be avoided. The map indicates the places of interest. Considering the detailed approach of the map, we were surprised to find that not all places of interest are included, e.g. Camp Westerbork - which we visited in preparation of our Westerbork Cycle Route - was not named. But even with this omission, it was easy to find our own scenic and interesting route just using this map.
The map also offers a lot of other tourist information such as bike rental (not bike repair shops) and accommodation (not all). While most of this information is useful, some is a bit over the top. Do we really need to know the location of every single bench and picnic area?
Easy to use
The map is printed on two sides with a generous overlap, making it easy to use. The map has no protection against water or wind, so it’s advisable to use a waterproof bike map holder if you have one. To fit the map into our bike map holder, we had to fold our map in an unconventional way. This rough handling quickly added wear and tear to the map, but at least it didn’t perish during a summer downpour and the map remained perfectly legible.
The legend of the map is only in Dutch. Many of the symbols, such as windmills, castles and tulips fields, are pretty self-explanatory. Holland appears to be littered with benches and picnic areas. But other symbols, such as bike rental places (red circle with a bike) or charging points for electric bikes (electric socket) are less obvious. If you’re looking for a campsite, it’s good to know that the map distinguishes between large campsites (bungalow tent), small campsites (dome-shaped tent) and natural campsites (tent with trees).
For our visit to Drenthe oost the scale of 1:50,000 was ideal as we were staying in one small area. But as soon as we continued the long-distance route we were doing (Cyclists’ Path), we switched over to a 1:100,000 map. For longer rides the small scale is inconvenient.
Availability and price
Getting hold of the ANWB fietskaart series should be easy. They are widely available at tourist information offices (VVV), outdoor shops and book shops. You can also order the maps online through amazon.
The price of the ANWB fietskaart series is € 8,95 per map, which is the kind of price you would expect to pay for a high quality cycle map. It’s a good buy if you only need maps of one or two areas. As soon as you need more maps, it can get quite expensive. To cover the whole of Holland you would need 20 maps, setting you back € 179. In this case we recommend getting one of the cycle atlases which also cover the whole of Holland, but are only a fraction of the price and more compact.
The ANWB fietskaart series is readily available - also if you want to purchase one of the maps online before your trip - and give you all the topographical and tourist information you need to find a nice, scenic route through an unknown area. The scale of the maps is 1:50,000. This makes them easy to read and ideal if you want to explore a small region. As soon as you want to cover more terrain, it’s cheaper and more convenient to use maps with a scale of 1:100,000.
If you want to know what other cycle maps are available, go to Planning your route - maps & books