Driving in the Netherlands

 

Most Dutch people prefer to get around by bicycle, either a regular bike or an e-bike, but if their destination is too far to cycle, they also like to drive. If you have a car yourself, or would like to drive in the Netherlands, read on to find out what you need to be aware of.

Driving licence

If you are moving to the Netherlands and want to drive a car here, you will need a valid driving licence. Read on to find out what rules apply. If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands for an extended period, you may need to exchange your driving licence for a Dutch one.

Driving licence validity

If you are from an EU/EFTA country, your driving licence is valid for up to 10 years from the date of issue. If your driving licence was issued after 19 January 2013, it may even be valid for up to 15 years. If you come from a different country, your driving licence is valid for up to 6 months from the date when you registered in the Netherlands.

Exchanging your driving licence for a Dutch one

If you want to exchange your driving licence for a Dutch one, go to your local council’s service centre (stadsloket in Dutch) and take the following with you:

  • a colour photograph for your driving licence;
  • your residence permit, unless you are from an EU/EFTA country or Switzerland;
  • proof of your eligibility for the 30% tax facility;
  • a health certificate.

The fee for exchanging your driving licence will be around €39.75 (on average; each council sets their own fee), which you need to pay in advance. It will take around 2 weeks to get your Dutch driving licence. Please note that you are not allowed to drive during that period.

The health certificate

You will sometimes be asked to complete a health certificate (verklaring van geschiktheid), which proves that you are physically and mentally capable of driving a vehicle. The certificate is available from your local council. You need a health certificate in the following situations: You have an EU/EEA or Swiss driving licence valid for categories C, CE, C1, D, etc. You use the 30% tax facility. You have a driving licence from the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba. You come from a country that has special arrangements in place.

Send your completed health certificate to the Dutch Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (Centrale Bureau Rijvaardigheid, CBR). They will inform you once the certificate has been registered or if you need to complete additional tests. You can then apply for your driving licence.

Buying a car or taking your current car with you

If you want to buy a car in the Netherlands or want to import your car from abroad, be sure to read on.

Importing a car

If you are moving to the Netherlands and bringing your vehicle with you, you will only be able to drive it with a foreign number plate for a limited time. The Netherlands Vehicle Authority RDW has information on how to import a vehicle .

Compulsory insurance

In the Netherlands, you need to take out third-party liability insurance for your car as a minimum. Third-party liability insurance only covers damage that you cause using your car to others and their possessions (e.g. another car). If you want other damage to be covered too, take out comprehensive or limited cover as well. Take a look at our car insurance range.

MOT

In order to increase traffic safety and protect the environment, every car in the Netherlands needs to undergo a regular MOT inspection, known as the APK (Algemene Periodieke Keuring) in Dutch. Click here for further information about the APK .

Vehicle tax

If you have a motor vehicle less than 40 years old in the Netherlands, you will have to pay road tax or vehicle tax . The Dutch government uses road tax to keep Dutch roads in good shape. The amount of road tax you have to pay depends on several factors:

  • your car’s weight;
  • type of car (electric, diesel or petrol);
  • your car’s emissions;
  • the province you live in.

Parking in the Netherlands

You’ll need a parking permit in most Dutch towns and cities. What’s more, employers often only have a limited number of parking spaces. In some neighbourhoods, you may have to wait several years for a parking permit, so be sure to look into this properly before bringing your car or buying one in the Netherlands.

The information on this page is a brief explanation. You can not derive any rights from this.

Calculate premium car insurance

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Getting around in The Netherlands

Most Dutch people prefer to get around by bicycle, either a regular bike or an e-bike. If they need to travel further afield, they go by train or bus. Some cities also have a tram or metro. 

Tips on finding a home in the Netherlands

If you are coming to live and work in the Netherlands, you might be wondering how to find a place to live and whether you’d be better off renting or buying. Your (new) employer in the Netherlands may be able to help you. Take a look at our tips.