The aim of the present study is to describe 12-year-old children's use and perception of their neighbourhood. Two residential areas were investigated: an inner-city area with heavy traffic and a traffic-segregated suburb built during the late 1960s. The results show that 12-year-olds have greater independent mobility than younger children – though this is less marked among the mainly immigrant families of the suburban area, where parents express a greater need for control and a greater fear of “stranger danger”. On the other hand, fewer children are allowed to cycle in traffic in the inner-city area, due to a perceived lack of consideration on the part of motorists and a lack of (connected) cycle paths. Children in both areas point out the problems caused by traffic and by inconsiderate motorists. Other problems experienced as troublesome include noise from traffic and the underground, littering, older children who argue homeless people, drunken people and drug users.