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In order to be permitted to drive a car or a motorcycle, you have to comply with certain requirements. A valid driving licence is obligatory for anyone who wishes to drive a car or a motorcycle.

If your stay in the Netherlands is temporary, your foreign driving licence is usually valid. You are advised however, to apply for an international driving licence before leaving for the Netherlands.

If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands for a longer period of time and your driving licence was issued in one of the countries hereafter you can exchange your driving licence for a Dutch version: Austria, Aruba, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Dutch Antilles, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jersey (States of), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Isle of Man, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Sweden or Switzerland. The driving licence that was issued to you previously will be valid for 10 years after issue date. Once this transition period has passed, you must have a Dutch driving licence and are obliged to exchange your licence.

Non-EU country

If you have a driving licence that was issued in a non-EU country, you are allowed to drive with your foreign licence in the Netherlands for a period of six months (185 days) after registering as a Dutch resident. In some cases, you might be asked to show an international driving licence, please check with your Embassy to make sure. Under new regulations per 1 February 2005, you are obliged to take a theoretical and practical driving test in the Netherlands to acquire a Dutch driving licence before the six-month period expires.

Driving licences issued in the following countries can only be exchanged for specific categories: 

  • Taiwan - B - passenger vehicle / Dutch driving licence category B 
  • Israel - B - passenger vehicle / Dutch driving licence category B 
  • Japan -1B- passenger vehicle and motorcycle of more than 400cc / Dutch driving licence categories and B 
  • Singapore - Class 2 – motorcycle of more than 400cc and Class 3 – passenger vehicle / Dutch driving licence categories A and B 
  • Andorra - passenger vehicle / Dutch driving licence category B 
  • South Korea - second class ordinary licence / Dutch driving licence category B 
  • Quebec (Canadian province) – class 5 / Dutch driving licence category B

Special rules

Special rules apply for those with a diplomatic or consular staff status and for their families. Persons covered by the diplomatic rule are permitted to drive in the Netherlands without the need to exchange their foreign licence for a Dutch one. Contact the RDW (Dutch Road Traffic and Transport Authority) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Protocol Department for more information.

International driving licence

It is not possible to exchange an international driving licence for a Dutch licence.

The 30%-ruling and obtaining a licence

If you have recently become entitled to benefit from the 30% tax ruling, you and the other member(s) of your family can exchange your licence right away, regardless of where you are from.

Licence plate

Driving your own car with appropriate vehicle registration number (licence plate) is permitted if your stay in the Netherlands is only temporary. In addition, all persons driving his or her own car must have a third-party insurance ('WA').

Import

In order to import a car or a motorcycle, you are requested to apply to Customs for a permit, regardless of your country of origin. If you do not receive a permit, you are obliged to pay import duties. Once your car or motorcycle has been imported, you must to comply with a number of regulations before using it: 

  • the car or motorcycle must have a Dutch vehicle registration number. In order to obtain this, it has to be approved by the Vehicle Technology and Information Centre (RDW), telephone (0900) 0739. More information about the RDW and your car.
  • you will receive a registration certificate within a few weeks. A licence-plate can be bought at every RDW-acknowledged garage.
  • you have to pay BPM, a national holder ship tax on motor vehicles. In some situations exemption is possible.
  • you are obliged to take out a legal third-party liability insurance with an insurance company.

For more information

Rotterdam Customs
Laan op Zuid 45
Rotterdam
P.O. Box 50966
3007 BJ Rotterdam
T 010) 290 47 90 / (010) 290 48 02 (Dutch only)
F (010) 290 43 15

Renting

You can rent or lease a car from a number of rental companies. For addresses, see the telephone directory (renting: heading 'Autoverhuur'; leasing: heading 'Leasen'). For further information, please contact the ANWB (national organization in the field of traffic and tourism). If you are a member of the ANWB-Road Service, you can call for help in case of car problems en route.

Parking permit

Do you live in paid parking area? Then you may be eligible for a parking permit. I you want to apply for a parking permit, please download the form application parking permit below and send the filled in form to:

Gemeente Rotterdam
Publiekszaken
Postbus 70013
3000 KR Rotterdam

It is also possible to apply via internet (Dutch only). To log in, you need a DigiD. You can also make an appointment (Dutch only) for a visit to the Civil Affairs Department.