Driving your own car gives the feeling of freedom. So we understand very well why most of our clients wish to drive in the Netherlands. You will have to take a few aspects into account.
Regulations and habits
Traffic in the Netherlands may be very different compared to your home country. Even though many people from abroad get the opportunity to exchange their driving license without having to pass an exam, it may be worthwhile to take some driving lessons in order to get used to the Dutch regulations and habits.
It is difficult to summarize all the traffic regulations in one paragraph. A very short try;
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. 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, that is indicated by signs). When a traffic light turns orange and you think that you would endanger following vehicles, you may drive on. If you still have the chance to stop, this is expected.
It can be rather busy on motorways and cities, especially in the Western part of the country (Randstad). Congestions here are normal on working days. The most congested motorway is between the Hague and Rotterdam.
By law everyone is obliged to carry a valid driving license when driving a car. (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.
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.
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.
Facts to take in to account;
- If you are (or your partner is) entitled for the 30% tax ruling, you will have the possiblity to exchange your driving license without having to pass an exam.
- If 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- When your license is out of date, you are not allowed to drive a car in the Netherlands in any situation.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 and is not accepted as your driving license in the Netherlands if you need to exchange yours because of a non-EU nationality.
- A partner may benefit from the non-EU driving exchange possibilities (30% ruling).
- In principle your foreign driving license will be returned to the authorities in the country of issue