Driving licence in the Netherlands

By Santa Fe Relocation

Great! You have landed in the Netherlands and are ready to explore your new living environment. You will soon start that exciting new job and work from your new office when reopened after COVID-19. You are one of the lucky ones to commute by bike but what if you are going to commute by car? After you have sorted out the car lease, rent or purchase, signed up for an insurance policy and reviewed the parking permit requirements, it is important to check the rules regarding your driving licence!

Can you drive with your own (foreign) driving licence?
When you want to drive in the Netherlands it is vital that you are in the possession of a driving licence that is valid in the Netherlands as per Dutch law:

Driving with an EU driving licence
If your driving licence was issued within the EU (including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you can use this licence in the Netherlands for 5 up to 15 years from the issue date, depending on the category of your licence. After this period, you are required by Dutch law to exchange your driving licence for a Dutch one. For some categories, a medical examination is required to complete the exchange.

Driving with a non-EU driving licence
If your driving licence was issued outside of the EU, you are only allowed to drive with a valid non-EU licence up to 185 days after you have registered with your local municipality in the Netherlands. Once this period has ceased and if you are not eligible for a direct exchange of a foreign licence for a Dutch driving licence, you might need to undergo a theoretical and practical examination in order to obtain a Dutch driving licence. However, there are some exceptions: some countries have special agreements with the Netherlands to exchange licences. If you have a 30% tax ruling it might also be possible to apply for a driving licence exchange regardless of your nationality -  certain conditions do apply.

Do I need a car insurance in the Netherlands?
When driving a car in the Netherlands, it is mandatory to not only have a valid driving licence but also a third-party liability insurance and a car insurance.

If you want more information or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send an email to our partner Santa Fe Relocation. Santa Fe Relocation is a global mobility company specialising in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services worldwide including the Netherlands. Santa Fe’s core competence is providing services that help corporations and their employees to relocate and settle in new places. Check out their website for more information. They are happy to help.