Queen Wilhelmina on her bicycle outside palace Soestdijk in 1938 ( photo public domain/wikipedia commons) photographer unknown
The balance bicycle was introduced in the Netherlands from 1820 to 1860. King William II is known to have had one.
After this came the first two-wheelers and at the end of 1800 the bicycle changed radically and increased in popularity and since 1900 the Netherlands has truly been a cycling country.
Queen Wilhelmina was also a bicycle enthusiast and in 1897 the monarch bought her first bicycle in Vienna, and she also sometimes attended bicycle competitions.
In 1898, a report appeared in the press that the Dutch government had decided that Queen Wilhelmina was no longer allowed to cycle in public “with a view to the future”.
When the Queen indicated that cycling was very healthy, the Prime Minister replied that other women did not have the responsibility for the well-being of as many as Her Majesty, and we must kindly request that you refrain from planning to cycle.
Wilhelmina was not seen on a bicycle for decades, but it was not until 1933 that she surprised everyone when she rode around on a bicycle in Katwijk.
In 1896, an entrepreneur founded the Wilhelmina bicycle factory in Zeist, named after the young queen. The factory moved to Amsterdam in 1915 and later to Haarlem in 1929. It was dissolved in 1962.
The portrait of Wilhelmina looking to the left with hanging hair was then used for advertising and on bicycle headset plates. After Wilhelmina’s inauguration in 1898, the logo was changed. The official photo of H.W. Wollrabe served as an example, a bust of the queen with her hair up wearing a diadem.
Wilhelmina’s portrait later also appeared on bicycle bells, among other things.
In 1998, Princess Margriet donated the bicycle used by Queen Wilhelmina to the Velorama bicycle museum
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