Driving in the Netherlands

When arriving in a new country, it might occur that not only the environment changes, but also the road rules. The Netherlands is a very hectic and full country with lots of traffic. Bikes, cars, busses, taxis, and lorries will all use the same streets and lanes. Please keep in mind the following:

  1. The Dutch drive on the right side of the road;
  2. Bicycles and mopeds have priority over cards;
  3. Do not use the horn in residential areas;
  4. You must always have a valid insurance;
  5. You are not allowed to hold your phone while driving, hands-free is allowed;
  6. Maximum speeds vary in different locations:
    Residential areas – 30 km/h
    City – 50 km/h
    Other roads – 80 km/h
    Motorways –  max speed varies between 100-130 km/h

Read more about Dutch road rules

The Dutch Driving license

With any foreign driver’s license you are allowed to drive in the Netherlands for 6 months after you register with your municipality. After that period you need to have a Dutch driver’s license. Some internationals are able to exchange their driver’s license for a Dutch one easily including but not limited to EU and EEA citizens, and expats who have the 30% tax facility status. To exchange your driver’s license for a Dutch one, please make an appointment at your municipalities city hall and bring valid identity papers, your foreign driver’s license and a passport photo. This is only possible if you are registered as a resident of the Netherlands and have a valid residence permit. You may also be asked to provide a certificate of fitness.

The following links may provide you with more information regarding obtaining a Dutch driving license.

More about driving licenses for internationals by the Road Transportation Authority

More about Dutch driving licenses in general

Exchanging a foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence in Utrecht

Applying for a Dutch driving license

An application for a Dutch driving license costs around 40 euros and is paid in advance. The process takes approximately two weeks. Make sure this is done before your current license expires! Ask your municipality for more information.

Parking permits

For resident and visitor parking permits (parkeervergunningen) contact your municipality.

Driving tests

When you do not have a foreign driver’s license, you can consider taking driving lessons in the Netherlands. To succeed you need to pass a theoretical exam and practical exam with the CBR. A driving school can help you preparing for both exams.

More information about driving tests

Select a driving school


Don’t own a car, but want to drive? Not a problem! There are several peer-to-peer and carshare options available to you.
Peer-to-peer means you can rent a quality vetted, fully insured car from a private individual, via such services as SnappCar or MyWheels.
Carsharing means you have on-demand access to a fleet of vehicles parked throughout the region, available 24 hours. In this case Greenwheels or Connectcar are two options.