Spinoza Monument in Amsterdam, Source: Fred Romero on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Amsterdam offers a new cycling experience for philosophers

Amsterdam offers a new cycling experience for philosophers

The Spinoza cycling route will push you to rethink our place in nature

A special cycling experience launches this weekend in Amsterdam, one that will appeal particularly to those of us who take a liking to philosophy. From Saturday, 26 June, anyone can join the free cycling tours on the Spinoza route. Bearing the name of the famous Amsterdam-born thinker, the route offers a glimpse into his most important ideas on the relationship between human beings and nature, which you can listen to as a podcast.

Exploring Amsterdam under the guidance of a philosopher

As of this Saturday at 2 p.m. until mid-October, visitors and residents of Amsterdam can enjoy a novel cycling experience, pleasing to the body, eye and soul. The journey starts from Amsterdam Centre to Southeast and all you need is a bike, headset and a little understanding of Dutch. It lasts about three hours, and each route date has a different topic and agenda.

The route starts at the Spinoza Monument on the Zwanenburgwal canal and continues around the corners of the Nelson Mandelapark. Throughout the route, cyclists will discover 11 city benches. Also called Spinoza benches, they have QR codes installed on a special 3D shape of an animal or plant, made of recycled plastic. Upon scanning the code, one will be able to listen to podcasts about animals, plants and microbes in the city. 

The podcasts are offered by Artis Royal Zoo employees who talk about animal and plant species that live in the city. Scientists such as Robbert Dijkgraaf, Amade M'charek and Damiaan Denys reflect on what kind of animal humans are and how humans, animals and plants differ from one another. Moreover, local residents and other Amsterdammers tell what they think of the difference between humans and animals. The topic is a reference to the ideas of Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), who was contemplating the place of man in nature already in the 17th century.

Finally, the cycling tour is a continuation of the 10 Tiles Philosophical Walk, a free audio tour along 10 paving stones containing quotes from philosophers, and honouring Amsterdam as a free-thinking city.

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