Cycling culture and socialisation: modelling the effect of immigrant origin on cycling in Denmark and the Netherlands

  • Sonja HausteinEmail author
  • Maarten Kroesen
  • Ismir Mulalic


This paper focusses on travel socialisation by examining the effect of immigrant origin on cycling in two distinct European cycling cultures: Denmark and the Netherlands. Based on data from both countries’ national travel surveys, the empirical analyses show that people of immigrant origin cycle less compared to natives. While in Denmark this effect is significant only for people of non-Western origin, in the Netherlands it is also true for people of Western origin, probably because they originate to a greater extent from non-European countries (e.g., Indonesia). In the Netherlands, the effect of non-Western origin is larger for women than for men, while we do not find a significant gender interaction in the Danish data. Individuals with residence in neighbourhoods with a higher share of people of non-Western origin are less likely to cycle, probably as the national norm to cycle is less salient here. The results cannot be fully explained by differences in socioeconomic status, car access, or level of urbanisation. We assume that cultural norms mediated by parents play a relevant role. The results lend support to policies focused on stimulating the use of the bicycle among immigrants and especially women of non-Western origin.


Mode choice Cycling Immigrants Cycling culture National travel survey Travel socialization 



The authors would like to thank Statistics Denmark and Statistics Netherlands for providing the data. The usual disclaimer applies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management Engineering, Division of TransportTechnical University of DenmarkKgs. LyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.Faculty of Technology, Policy and ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Kraks Fond – Institute for Urban Economic ResearchCopenhagenDenmark

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