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Driving in the Netherlands

Driving your own car gives the feeling of freedom. So, we understand very well why most of our clients wish to continue driving in the Netherlands. In this blog we would like to present a few aspects to take into account.

Regulations and customs

Driving in the Netherlands might be different in comparison to your home country. Even though some people can exchange their foreign driving license without an exam, it is worthwhile to take some driving lessons. When participating in traffic, it is vital to know the rules and regulations.
It is difficult to summarize all the traffic regulations in one paragraph. But herewith the top 3 most important ones:
1. The Dutch drive on the right hand side of the road. Driving on a motorway, overtaking is permitted and needs to be done on the left lane.
2. In living areas, all traffic – so even a cyclist or a horse rider – coming from the right has the preference (unless you are driving on a major road, which indicated by signs).
3. When a traffic light turns orange and you think that you would endanger following vehicles, you may drive on. But if you still have the chance to stop, then stop! Speed cameras placed near a traffic light also register running a red light. So stop at an orange light if you can. Traffic violation fines are pretty high in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government issued a brochure of the Dutch traffic rules and regulations in English. In this brochure you find the more detailed information about our traffic customs.

Legal requirements

By law everyone is obliged to carry a valid driving license when driving in the Netherlands. A copy of your license is officially not accepted.
When you plan to live in the Netherlands it is important to check the options to drive with your current (foreign) driving license and the possibility to exchange your license.

EU/EER driving license (regardless of your nationality): you can use your EU/EER in the Netherlands for a period of 10 years after the issue date of your license. Regardless of the issue date you are always allowed to drive for 1 year with an EU/EER driving license.
Non-EU/EER driving license (regardless of your nationality): You are allowed to drive in the Netherlands with a valid non-EU/EER driving license for 185 days (6 months) after the first registration at town hall/expat center.

Other important facts

  • If you (or your partner) are entitled for the 30% tax ruling, you can exchange your driving license without an exam;
  • In case you are not entitled for the tax ruling, you will have to pass an exam;
  • When your license is out of date, you are not allowed to drive a car in the Netherlands in any situation. You will first have to renew the license in the country of issue or take the driving exam in the Netherlands;
  • The exchange procedure may take up to 6 weeks. We advise not to drive a car during this period;
  • An international driving permit is a translation of your driving license. This is not a valid license in the Netherlands;
  • The body which will issue your Dutch driving license, will return your foreign driving license to the authorities in the country of issue.

If you want to receive assistance with the exchange of your driving licence, or any other relocation/immigration matter, please contact us!

  • EURA 2008-2016
  • Worldwide ERC
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  • EURA