Islands without Cars with Kira Hesser Netherlands' Island of Schiermonnikoog on Alabama Public Television
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Islands without Cars with Kira Hesser

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Netherlands' Island of Schiermonnikoog

While Amsterdam is technically not an island, this watery canal filled city is arguably the epicenter of western bicycle culture. With more bicycles than people, Amsterdam's car-free ethos has been evolving for centuries. We caught up with two Americans playing a significant part in that evolution. Then we travel across the North Sea for a 45-minute ferry ride to the 9.9-mile car-free island of Schiermonnikoog. With only 900 residents, Schiermonnikoog is the least densely populated municipality in the Netherlands. There is one supermarket, one bakery, and an unblemished beach stretching for miles where the Frisian Islanders come to commune with nature and each other. Finally, we visit the tiny floating village of Geithoorn. Established as a settlement of peat harvesters, Geithoorn consists of a series of fairytale thatched 18th and l9th century farms and houses built on individual peat islands and connected by over 170 small bridges. Often called the Venice of the North, cars are not allowed and have to be parked outside of the village. And while a bike path has been added, most transport through the canals is done by boat.

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