Netherlands Bicycle tax tokens

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In 1924, a tax on bicycles was re-introduced [1]. The law was almost identical to the Belgian law of 1892 that instituted a tax on bicycles. It provided for a tax token, to be affixed on the left front of the bicycle. Tests were made with Belgian type enamelled tokens, but in the end, a French style metallic token was issued.[2] Tokens could be bought at the post office. A token was good for a 12-month period only[3] Every year, new tokens were issued with a different shape.

The original price of the token was 3 guilders per year. From 1928, the price was lowered to ƒ2.50. The law excepted children's bicycles and uniformed policemen and provided for free tokens for diplomats and what was in fact the unemployed. The latter exemption became a source of major dissatisfaction with the system. Tokens for diplomats had a star-shaped hole and those for the unemployed had a round hole, so that the unemployed could be recognised on public roads. However, being unemployed carried a social stigma. In addition, from 1934, those applying for a free token received a stamp in their public identity papers (trouwboekje)[4] that remained there for the rest of their lives.

In 1935, the law was amended to permit that the token was carried on the clothes of the cyclist. This was a reaction to endemic theft of tokens. [5] From 1936/7, the design incorporated a blank bar where the name of the owner could be engraved. That addition was meant as a further measure to discourage theft.

The tax was withdrawn in 1941. This was a plank in the party programme of the Dutch national-socialist party, NSB. Only a few copies of the 1941/42 token were struck, but a new edition, struck with original dies, was included in a Dutch book on the tokens authored by Ferdinand Grapperhaus..

All tokens were produced at the Dutch mint in Utrecht. Most are brass, but those of 1925 are in aluminium, those of 1927 in copper and those of 1939/40 in white metal. Consequently, 1925 tokens have a thickness of 0.4 mm, 1939/40 tokens are made from 0.27 mm plates and all others have a thickness of 0.32 mm. The designer of the 1924 token is unknown. The other tokens were designed by Chris van der Hoef (1925 - 1933/34), Willem Roozendaal (1934/5 - 1935/36) and Johan Wienecke (1936/37 - 1941/42.)


  1. KB 8/7 1924 nr. 346 of 1st August 1924
  2. Belastingmuseum 1981, p. 6.
  3. Belastingmuseum 1981, p. 7.
  4. Belastingmuseum 1981, p. 33.
  5. Staatsblad 241, 9th May 1935


  • Belastingmuseum (1981) Het Nederlandse Rijwielbelastingmerk, 1924-1941
  • Grapperhaus, Ferdinand (2005) Over de loden last van het koperen fietsplaatje
  • Rijwielbelasting