Wednesday 12 November 2008

Lang zal ze leven

"Long Shall She Live" - traditional Dutch birthday song.

My eldest daughter is fifteen today. Happy Birthday ! She set off for school on her bike this morning, as every morning, and she'll be accompanied home by several friends on their bikes this evening for cake and so-on. Some of them live between 10 and 20 km away, but they'll ride home on their own afterwards (some will have up to 20 km to go). They're all getting a good head-start towards the 100000 miles that many will cycle in their lifetime.

Fifteen is still very young. You can't buy beer here until you're sixteen and can't drive until you're eighteen.

The Netherlands is a great place to be a child, largely because children her have so much freedom due to parents being happy to let their children cycle more or less as far as they want, wherever they want and when they want. The photo, added later, shows some of the bikes. I make those bike baskets and we sell many other highly practical parts for bicycles.


Anneke said...

Gefeliciteerd met je dochters verjaardag!

It's true that kids can cycle anywhere they like, as long as they're careful (but cyclepaths cancel out that carefulness, not really needed ;) ). My sisters and me regularly left on our bikes to play with our friends. Wherever they lived.

Anonymous said...

A belated 'Happy Birthday' to your daughter.

What I find interesting in this is the age limits:

Buy beer from 16
Drive a car from 18

Drive a car from 17
Buy beer from 18

Prioritising driving like that says a lot about the UK society's values!

David Hembrow said...

It's difficult to say exactly what it means, but it's interesting, isn't it.

I think in some American states it's 15 to drive a car and 21 to buy beer. An even more extreme difference reversal.