Driving in the Netherlands

driver's license
Updated 2022-08-17 15:20

The Netherlands has a great travel infrastructure where you can walk and bike easily within cities. Plus, they have affordable public transport that's reasonably on time. Despite all this, you may still want to drive a car during your stay in the Netherlands. So how do you get a Dutch driver's license, and how exactly do you drive here?

How to convert your license in the Netherlands?

If you have an EU/EFTA license, then you can drive in the Netherlands with it; it's valid for 15 years after the date of issue.

When your license expires, you have to exchange it for a Dutch one at the municipality where you're registered. Make sure to bring your expired driver's license, BSN, and a photo that meets the Dutch passport photo requirements.

For those expats without an EU/EFTA license, you'll have to exchange it for a Dutch one within 185 days of registering at your gemeente (town hall). If you try to drive with your foreign driver's license after these 185 days, you'll get fined if you're caught.

To get your Dutch driver's license, bring your residence permit, foreign driver's license, and a photo that meets the Dutch passport photo requirements. If you need a special class of license, you may need a declaration of health from your GP. You can waive this, but your license won't be for the same class in this case.

Another way you can exchange your driver's license is if you're on the 30% ruling. If you have this, the country of origin for your current license won't matter. Both you and your family members can exchange your licenses for Dutch ones without having to take any tests.

How to get a Dutch driver's license?

If you've missed the six-month deadline or have never had a driver's license before, then you'll need to go through the process of getting a new license. You must be at least 18 years old. 17-year-olds can drive, but they need to be supervised by someone who's RDW-registered (the RDW is the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, which is the transportation authority).

First, you need permission from the gemeente. Once you've gotten the all-clear, then you'll need to register for a driving school with your DigiD. If you don't have one, you can arrange for it separately.

Because you'll receive a book to study from, you won't have to physically attend driving school. However, it may be a good idea since you'll get some face time with an instructor. When you're ready to book the theoretical exam, the school will do it for you.

Once you've taken and passed the theoretical exam, you can practice driving with a professional instructor. When you want to take the practical exam, the driving school will once again book it for you.

When you've passed both the theoretical and practical exams, you can then pick up your new Dutch driver's license from the gemeente, which will cost around €40. This will be valid for five to seven years, depending on how old you are.

Car insurance in the Netherlands

Car insurance is mandatory; you need to have a minimum of third-party liability car insurance (WA-verzekering). You can shop around for car insurance, but you'll pay €75 a month on average.

Traffic rules in the Netherlands

As you may already know, the Netherlands is a country filled with cyclists. So when you're on the road, not only will you have to watch out for pedestrians, but also cyclists.

When you're on highways, the speed limit can be anywhere between 100 to 130 kilometers per hour. Locally, speed limits vary between 30 to 50 kilometers per hour.

Although the Netherlands is a small country, it's filled with speed cameras and police. So make sure you're never speeding or breaking the law when you're driving because you'll easily get caught!

Should your car break down, pull over to a safe location. Then, you can call 31(0)88 2692 888 for the Wegenwacht (road service). Otherwise, if it's an emergency, call 112 right away.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.