Imagine Freeways Completely Devoid Of Cars (


“Sorry, no gas.” The sign was placed on abandoned cars and posted over the “open” sign on gas stations. It was repeated on TV and the radio. Sorry, no gas. The world was in the grips of an oil crisis, so the Netherlands decided to stop using cars. On Nov. 4, 1973, a country left its cars sitting in driveways and found different ways to take to the streets.

No More Cars

They strapped skates to their feet and rolled around on the deserted highways and expressways.


Taking Over The Highways

Bicycles took over the lanes normally occupied by fast cars that buzzed back and forth all day.


Empty Streets

In the days before “going green” was a thing, a whole country didn’t use its cars for a day. It wasn’t an homage to the environment. It was because they were running out of gas.


No Sunday Drivers

It all started with a war. The United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands worked together with Israel in what became known as the Yom Kippur War. The dispute was between Israel and the combined forces of Egypt and Syria.


Fog Of War

In an act of anger toward the United States, the Netherlands, and Denmark, OPEC raised oil prices.


The Price Of Oil

OPEC, a coalition of oil-producing Middle Eastern countries, was formed with the objective of regulating the oil prices. It flexed those muscles in a big way in the 1970s.


Waiting For The World To Change

The price of oil increased by a whopping 70 percent in October. Before the oil crisis was resolved, the price of gas would quadruple. Most people had run out before then.


More Than A Moment

Nov. 4 was just the first in a series of car-free Sundays in the Netherlands. The country outlawed driving every Sunday that year, going into January 1974.


Off The Road

There were about 3 million cars in the Netherlands at the time. Andevery Sunday for months, they didn’t move.


Outside The Box

People got creative about finding alternate methods of travel during car-free Sunday.


A Life Without Oil

The people of the Netherlands found other ways to get around during car-free Sundays, and learned the lesson of the oil crisis. Today, only 38 percent of the energy consumption in the Netherlands comes from oil.




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