Driving in The Netherlands



Road & Traffic Conditions 

Netherlands has a good network of roads and an excellent series of highways. Most roads are busy but in good condition. Road signs are similar to those in other mainland European countries. Main roads have cycle lanes, and cyclists should keep to the designated lanes when such lanes are available. Bikes have priority over cars. There are no tolls on any of the expressways. A yellow-orange diamond shaped sign indicates priority roads. Trams, cyclists and buses that are pulling out have the right of way.  

Driving License

The minimum age to drive in the country is 18 years while the minimum age to rent a car is 19 years (depending on the category of the car). Drivers less than 25 years of age may incur a young driver surcharge.

Holders of full Dutch and EU Licenses and International Driving Permits are allowed to drive in the country. Carry your passport, driving license, certificate of motor insurance and vehicle registration documents at all times. If your license does not have a photograph, carry your passport or valid photo ID.  

In case you do not own the car you are driving, a letter from the owner permitting the use of the car will be necessary. 


Driving is on the left side of the road. Seat belts are mandatory for passengers in the front and rear, if fitted. Children less than 12 years of age and those less than 1.5 meters tall cannot sit in the front. All children must travel with proper child restraint suited to their age and height. Children less than 3 years of age are permitted to travel in the front only with suitable child restraint. 

Other mandatory items include third party insurance, GB sticker, headlamp converters and a warning triangle. 

Some items that are recommended but not compulsory are fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, replacement bulb kit and an extra pair of spectacles (if you wear them).

The blood alcohol limit is 50 mg/ml.  

There are on the spot fines for some traffic violations.  


Don't drink and drive, you could face imprisonment. 

Be careful while overtaking; allow enough space between vehicles when you do so. Exercise care when you set off from a service station or restaurant on the left side of the road. 

Use the horn to indicate danger or traffic. At night, flash your headlights instead of using the horn. The use of dipped headlights on open roads is recommended for poor visibility but not mandatory.

Prescribed speed limits are 120kph for expressways, 100 kph on main roads, 80kph outside built-up areas and 50kph inside built up areas. Adhere to speed limits as radar traps are common and violators could face confiscation of their vehicle or withholding of their license.  

Use of hands-free mobile phones while driving is permitted; however, holding a phone while driving is considered a traffic offense.

Speeding and other traffic offenses are subject to on-the-spot fines. Remember, no arguments.

Parking regulations are strict and ensure that you procure a parking ticket and display it. Otherwise, your vehicle could be towed away, costing you thousands of Euros. Parking in designated areas is mandatory. Parking next to yellow, white or black curbs is not permitted. 

In Case of an Accident

Set up your warning triangle and wait for the police to arrive. Dial the general emergency number 112 to call an ambulance if required.