Driving Guide

Netherlands Driving Guide

Netherlands is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

2021-08-09 · 9min read

When you think of the Netherlands, there’s not only one (1) word that comes into mind. Tulips, cheese, art, canals, Heineken – the country is practically defined by more than one specialty. But what makes this country stand out the most for travelers is the driving scenery, both in the cities and in the countryside.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling to the Netherlands is rarely missing from anyone’s bucket list. Apart from having some of the most fantastic autumn landscapes, it also houses some of the most iconic and historical art pieces in the world!

But before booking that well-deserved business-class seat, we encourage you to brush through the information below, especially with regard to getting a driving license in the Netherlands, the most important driving rules in the Netherlands, and some driving tips when going to the infamous spots the country is known for.

General Information

People not only flock to the country to see the world-famous Holland Tulips and learn about their state-of-the-art infrastructure designs and innovations. The government has also built a very conducive environment for the future in terms of economic and social security. This is why the country has been recognized among the top 10 happiest countries by the United Nations for years. Other recognitions of the Netherlands include:

  • Best Country for Innovators
  • Most Competitive Nation
  • Top Country in the Global Connectedness Index (higher than Singapore and Ireland)

Geographic Location

Officially known as the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this temperate, coastal country lies on the northwestern side of Germany and the northern side of Belgium. It is strategically located in a region of convergence between the warm, Azores archipelagic air and the cold, Icelandic air.

These types of air create the mostly-cloudy weather of the country throughout the year. You can say that summers are cool while winters are mild and pleasant; thus, the climate is a one-less problem for those who have temperature-sensitive noses.

With regard to the weather, clear, sunny days only constitute about 7% of the entire year; while frost runs for two (2) months. Rainfall is also year-round so remember to pack in those layers and waterproof containers!

With regard to the weather, clear, sunny days only constitute about 7% of the entire year; while frost runs for two (2) months. Rainfall is also year-round so remember to pack in those layers and waterproof containers!

Land Area

The Netherlands extends to an area of about 41,543 km2. It is a flat, low-lying country with a reclaimed portion that constitutes about ⅓ of the total land area. The highest point towers at 323 meters above sea level, while the lowest point is 6.76 meters below sea level. You read it right; a portion of the country is below the average sea level. But no worries! The Netherlands has some of the most state-of-the-art water management systems globally, so flooding is never a problem! You can find more interesting facts about the Netherlands below.

Languages Spoken

About 90% of the population in the Netherlands speak Dutch as it is their national language. When you travel to the Province of Friesland, most people use Frisian as their primary language. Around the south also, particularly in Limburg, you’ll notice another standard dialect, which is called Limburgish.

Despite the firm adherence to their local dialect, Dutch people are also good at communicating in English. If learning the Dutch language is very difficult for you (don’t worry, you’re not alone), you can speak or understand English instead.

Land Area

The Netherlands extends to an area of about 41,543 km2. It is a flat, low-lying country with a reclaimed portion that constitutes about ⅓ of the total land area. The highest point towers at 323 meters above sea level, while the lowest point is 6.76 meters below sea level. You read it right; a portion of the country is below the average sea level. But no worries! The Netherlands has some of the most state-of-the-art water management systems globally, so flooding is never a problem! You can find more interesting facts about the Netherlands below.

History

In ancient times, German and Celtic tribes inhabited the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was the Roman Empire that started the age of conquest in the kingdom, establishing military posts in the southern areas.

The Netherlands found itself in a series of wars between the Romans and the tribes, until the arrival of the Franks. Between the 5th and the early 9th century, the Franks, lead by Charlemagne, introduced Christianity in the country. It was only during his death that the empire fell and the nation found itself divided again, until one of the dukes gave the nation to the King of Spain in 1555. The events of the years after provoked the country to develop a sense of national identity until Spain granted its independence in 1581.

The Netherlands became the maritime power of Europe in the 17th century and Amsterdam was recognized as a central financial district. However, it was only during the end of the 18th century that the Netherlands became known as the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Government

The country follows a constitutional monarchy wherein the King serve as the symbolic head of state and signs all the laws approved by parliament. However, most of the executive powers of government are given to the Prime Minister. The legislative house or parliament also consists of two chambers: the Lower House (elected by the people) and the Senate (elected by provincial parliaments).

Tourism

From 2010 to 2019 alone, tourists arrivals in the country was on a consistent upward trend. From around 30 million tourists in 2010, the country welcomed almost 46 million tourists in 2019! In 2018, Forbes recognized the Netherlands as the sixth-largest economy of the European Union in 2018. While according to the 2020 IMD rankings and Global Innovations Index of the World Economic Forum, the country ranks 4th and 5th globally, respectively.

With an unemployment rate lower than 5% before 2020, robust regional and international connectivity, and a highly competitive business environment, the country continues to invite more and more investors every year.

Below are some of the most thriving industries in the Netherlands:

  • Food processing
  • Petroleum refining
  • Modern agriculture

IDP FAQs

Before exploring the Netherlands, there are some things you need to learn and remember. One of these is possessing an International Driver’s Permit. This section will walk you through what you need to know about getting an International Driving License in the Netherlands.

Are You Required to Have an International Driving Permit in the Netherlands?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a valid translation of your native driver’s license. One (1) International Driving Permit contains 12 translations of your driving license. It does not replace, in any way, your native driver’s license. Hence, it is only considered valid when presented together with your original license.

Owning an International Driving Permit is not officially required in the Netherlands. You can drive without one (1), but it is highly recommended, especially if your native driving license is not printed in Dutch or English. If ever you’ll be required to present your native driving license by Dutch Authorities, you’ll have no trouble explaining it to them. Besides that, other benefits include:

  • You’ll be able to rent a car faster
  • You’ll be able to use the same International Driving Permit in other countries (apart from the Netherlands)
  • You can worry no more about losing documents because you can carry a digital IDP with you
  • You can exchange your native driving license for a domestic driving license in the Netherlands (Dutch driving license) if you’re planning on staying longer in the Netherlands (no need to take a driving exam!)

If you reside or come from a European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member State, you know the laws on driving license in the Netherlands are rather loose as compared to those who come from non-EU countries. For both categories, you can go driving in Netherlands with a foreign driving license. However, if you come from a non-EU country and are allowed to drive vehicles categories’ A to E, your license has to meet the standards of the Vienna Convention. If it does not, you can only drive legally in the Netherlands with an International Driving Permit.

Also, if you’re planning on staying in the Netherlands for the long term, you can still use a foreign drivers’ license but for a limited time only. The rules are as follows:

Also, if you’re planning on staying in the Netherlands for the long term, you can still use a foreign drivers’ license but for a limited time only. The rules are as follows:

EU/EFTA Member Countries

  • Maximum of 15 years for AM, A1, A2, A, B, and BE vehicles
  • Maximum of 5 years for C1, C, D1, D, C1E, CE, D1E, and DE vehicles

Non-EU/EFTA Member Countries

  • Maximum of 185 days after you are granted residency in the Netherlands

Do You Need to Get a Local Driving License in the Netherlands?

If you’re planning on traveling to the Netherlands on a short-term basis (i.e., as a tourist), getting a driving license in the Netherlands that is state-issued will not be necessary. Using a foreign driving license in the Netherlands is allowed. Furthermore, if your native driver’s license is coupled with an International Driving Permit, the better.

Supposing you’ve fallen in love with the breezy and cool Netherlands that you decide you want to stay in the country for a longer time, you may need to get a Dutch driving license already, depending on where your origin country is. As mentioned above, EU/EFTA Members can use their foreign driving license longer than those who come from non-EU/EFTA countries.

Renting a Car in the Netherlands

In regard to driving in the Netherlands, tourists find it generally easy to rent a car. Especially for those who come from EU countries, the requirements and rental process do not spell out inconvenience.

Car Rental Companies

You can find car rental companies in almost all provinces. This includes both local and internationally-renowned companies. Likewise, almost all of these companies have created an online presence to reach a wider audience. This means that you can browse through their websites or their social media pages before traveling to the Netherlands to help you decide which company would suit your budget and preferences right. Here are some car rental companies that we recommend:



  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • BB&L Car Rental
  • Dollar Rent a Car
  • Avis Autoverhuur
  • EasyTerra Car Rental
  • Budget Autoverhuur
  • Thrifty Car Rental

If you are entering the Netherlands via land travel, some car rental companies allow their cars to be taken outside their pick-up country. For example, you can go driving a U.K. car in the Netherlands or go driving any foreign car in the Netherlands. Driving a foreign car in the Netherlands is not far from ordinary. One (1) of the main constraints to crossing a car over to another country, however, is the insurance policies. It would be better to ask your car rental first if they would allow this.

Documents Required

The requirements to rent a car in the Netherlands differ depending on what country your native driving license was issued. For one, authorities only accept foreign driver’s licenses that are printed in the Roman Alphabet. For other requirements:

EU countries:

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must have a photo ID in his/her native driving license (this is not a universal requirement, but a lot of car rental companies look for this)
  • The native driver’s license has to be 1-2 years old.
  • Photo card license and its paper version (for U.K. nationals)
  • An International Driving Permit (for those who doesn’t have a photo ID in their license)
  • Valid passport

Non-EU countries:

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must have a photo ID in his/her native driving license (this is not a universal requirement, but a lot of car rental companies look for this)
  • The native driver’s license has to be 1-2 years old.
  • An International Driving Permit (to be presented along with the native driver’s license)
  • Visa

Vehicle Types

Since the Netherlands has a flat terrain, all types of cars can cruise along its roads. The good is, you don’t need to rent the more expensive all-terrain / rugged vehicles. You can rent economy sedans, compact cars, minivans, SUVs, convertibles, wagons, passenger vans, and many others. Just make to double-check the vehicle’s condition before driving it out.

Car Rental Cost

You can find car rentals that charge less than USD20/day. If you prefer the more luxurious types, there are vehicles that cost up to about USD112/day. The important thing is that the company you are renting with is legitimate, and the car you are renting is in top shape.

Apart from the rental fee itself, the other costs that you can incur when renting are the following:

  • Security deposit (depending on the type of car)
  • Age-dependent costs (car rental companies charge additional when the renter is below 25 years old)
  • Fuel costs
  • Maintenance/cleaning costs
  • Supplementary insurances
  • Value-added tax

Age Requirements

You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car in the Netherlands. However, if you are 21-25 years old, again, some car rental companies may charge you more. This is because drivers at this age range are known to be not yet well experienced in driving, thus have higher risks. Even if you already have your full driving license for more than four years because you had it when you were 17, you’ll still have to pay the extra charge.

Car Insurance Costs

When renting a car as a foreigner, you should expect a lot of associated fees that will cover security. This is true wherever you’ll go in the world. In the Netherlands, the minimum coverage is just for the car and other car accident victims. This means that if anything happens to you, your medical expenses will not be covered by your minimum car insurance. With this, you should expect that car rental companies will offer/require you to get personal accident insurance.

The average car insurance premiums in the country is around 400 euros/year. Then again, since you are just renting a car, you will be paying less than that. In addition, personal accident insurance may come with daily rates, which will depend on your age, your health, your driving history, and many more. You should request for a breakdown of your insurance policy with your car rental company.

Car Insurance Policy

The minimum insurance coverage in the country is third-party insurance. This means that if you cause any injury or damage to another road user while driving, your insurance will cover the expenses.

The other types of car insurance policies in the country include:

  • Extended liability (combination of third-party, fire, vandalism, and storm damage)
  • All-risk (comprehensive insurance)
  • Breakdown insurance
  • Equipment and luggage insurance
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Legal expenses insurance

Other Facts

The general car rental process may be troubling for some people. However, you should remember that this also depends on your itinerary, the level of convenience that you want, the risks that you are willing to take when commuting, your health, your budget, and so much more. To help you decide, here are some other facts associated with renting a car in the Netherlands.

Is It Better to Go Driving in the Netherlands as a Tourist?

The Netherlands is a country that spreads to about 41,543km2. Needless to say, one cannot completely go around it in just one (1) day. To travel out and about the country, you can ride public transportation or rent your own car.

The Netherlands has some of the best, most efficient public transportation systems in the world. They have high-speed trains that travel from Rotterdam to Amsterdam in just 40 minutes (a travel time similar to that of a private vehicle during minimal traffic) and night trains that operate every hour. Apart from that, there are buses, trams, and taxis and local trains all over the metros, so public transportation is very much available 24/7.

The drawback of taking public transportation, however, is that it can be quite pricey. Driving in the Netherlands as a tourist may save you more money considering that your stay is relatively short. Second, you wouldn’t need to spend so much physical energy to walk to and from designated public transportation stops. Third, considering that the country has a well-established transportation network, you might find it overwhelming to plan your routes and track where to ride and alight.

Do I Need To Do Practice Drives In The Country Before Renting?

If it’s your first time driving in a foreign country, it would be best to do a test drive first. Where can you practice driving in Netherlands? You can search for lesser-traffic areas or stay away from major roads for the first few days. You can get used to driving in the Netherlands in no time since the country has excellent road conditions and strict road rules. Apart from this, there are two (2) other ways to help you embody the skills effectively:

  • Enroll in a driving school in the Netherlands
  • Practice in a driving simulator for the Netherlands
Netherlands photo by Andreas Brunn

The Road Rules in the Netherlands

Road traffic safety in the Netherlands is regulated by the Verkeerscentrum Nederland (Dutch Traffic Centre). The 1994 Road Traffic Act legislatively guides all the rules and associated penalties. It would be helpful to familiarize the basic road rules of the country to avoid inconvenience. Below are some of the most important ones.

Important Regulations

Road regulations are the road rules that have strict penalties when disregarded. In the Netherlands, apart from patrolling traffic police, high-tech cameras and sensors are strategically distributed around the country for remote traffic monitoring.

Drunk Driving

The rules for drinking and driving in the Netherlands is provided in Article 8 of the 1994 Road Traffic Signs and Regulations. Drinking and driving are allowed but with limits. You are not allowed to consume alcohol or any substance up to a point where your driving abilities are compromised. Specifically, you’re only allowed the following:

  • Up to 220 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath
  • Up to 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per milliliter of blood

We know the Netherlands is known for its infamous Heineken beers and other craft beverages, but drinking moderately will give you more long term enjoyment than drinking like it’s your last night in the country.

We know the Netherlands is known for its infamous Heineken beers and other craft beverages, but drinking moderately will give you more long term enjoyment than drinking like it’s your last night in the country.

Parking Rules

The parking rules in the Netherlands are quite comprehensive. The claiming system for towed vehicle are even well organized. However, this should not encourage you to just park everywhere. Your vehicle can be towed if you park in:

  • spaces for the disabled, a loading bay, a no stopping zone, a no parking zone, and zones for emergency vehicles
  • areas that block traffic or cause a risky traffic situation
  • areas that are planned for roadworks

In addition, if your vehicle was wheel-clamped and you were unable to pay the penalties within 24 hours, your vehicle will also be towed or removed. You’ll have to claim your vehicle at Handhaving en Toezicht in Amsterdam and pay the storage costs (30 euros/day), the towing costs (373 euros/day), wheel-clamp removal costs (194 euros/day), and other unpaid parking violation fines.

General Standards of Driving

The driver and passengers of a moving vehicle must wear seatbelts. If you're traveling with children, make sure they have a child seat. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid using mobile cellular telephones while driving. Make sure to bring a first aid kit on your rented vehicle.

General Standards of Driving

Vehicles in the Netherlands either have a manual gearbox or an automatic gearbox. If your license was issued for an automatic car, then you can only drive an automatic transmission car. However, if your license was issued for a manual transmission car, then you can rent both a manual and an automatic car in the country.

The transportation industry in the Netherlands is also aiming to be at the forefront of car development. The government has welcomed the idea of self-driving vehicles, which included automatic parking features, stop-and-go control systems, and adaptive cruise control systems, to name a few. So the next time you visit the Netherlands, you may be lucky enough to experience these state-of-the-art vehicles.

Speed Limits

Speed limits in the Netherlands are apparent. For motor vehicles, the maximum speed limit in motorways, main roads, built-up areas, and all other roads are 120km/hr, 100km/hr, 50km/hr, and 80km/hr, respectively. These limits apply to regular vehicles, including passenger cars, and when you’re driving a scooter in the Netherlands.

There are also particular speed limits for specialized vehicles. These are:

  • Campers, lorries, buses, and other T100 buses - 80km/hr
  • Motor vehicles with trailers - 80km/hr
  • Agricultural tractors and motor vehicles - 25km/hr
  • Microcars - 45km/hr
  • Motor-assisted bicycles - 25km/hr

Speed limits for specialized vehicles apply wherever they are driven in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, you’d also want to familiarize yourself with provincial-level speed limits, if there are any, so research is vital before traveling.

Traffic Road Signs


The Netherlands has sufficient driving directions signs that will guide you to navigate turns, exits and lanes. Did you know that the Netherlands has a 16-lane motorway? To help you know which lane to be on prior to approaching your exit or junction, you should keep your eyes peeled for the directional signs.

Traffic Road Signs

You’ll notice that when you’re driving in the Netherlands, road signs are written in Dutch. Some of the most common road signs and their corresponding definitions are:

  • Geen toegang - No entry
  • Hou op - Stop
  • Sla linksaf - Turn left
  • Rechts afslaan - Turn right
  • Een manier - One way
  • Twee richtingen - Two way
  • Niet parkeren - no parking
  • Zebrapad - pedestrian crossing

One of the most exciting developments in the Netherlands road traffic safety is that an updated digital copy of the country’s traffic signs has been made available online. This is accessible to all road authorities, road users, and service providers. You can download this from the National Data Warehouse for Traffic Information website before driving in the Netherlands.

Right of Way


Being aware and giving way to other road users should be practiced even if you are not driving in particular zones. Apart from the usual right of way for pedestrians, bikes, mopeds, and emergency vehicles, you should also remember the following:

  • When you arrive at road junctions, priority must be given to vehicles from the right
  • You should give way to trams
  • If you’re driving on unpaved roads, you have to give way to drivers on paved roads

The legal driving age in the Netherlands is 17 years old. People who have reached the age of 17 can drive in the Netherlands, considering that an adult accompanies him/her. Likewise, this adult should be officially registered as the begeleider (accompanier). Once the young driver has reached the age of 18, a begeleider will no longer be required.

This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re holding a driver’s license as the minimum age to drive is within the relatively low range.

Laws on Overtaking

One (1) of the primary road safety protocols worldwide is not to overtake other vehicles aggressively. In the Netherlands, guidelines for overtaking are specifically written out in the road safety manual. To summarize:

  • You shouldn’t overtake any vehicle near or on a pedestrian crossing
  • If you are positioned in the right lane, you can overtake the vehicles on your left
  • You should only overtake on the left
  • You should not overtake vehicles on your right (except for trams)
  • When overtaking, you should practice proper signaling
  • When overtaking, you should give ample space for other vehicles to adjust
  • When overtaking, make sure that the road ahead is clear and there are no oncoming vehicles

Other Road Rules

One of the first questions that foreign drivers ask is which is the driving side in the Netherlands? When you’re driving in the Netherlands, it would be best to keep to the right side of the road at all times. If you are used to left-hand driving, you might want to allot some practice time before heading out on major roads in the Netherlands. Likewise, it would be best to keep your driving speed at a minimum. This way, the confusion of which side to drive in the Netherlands will wear away in no time.

Are There Special Seat Belt Laws In the Netherlands?

On top of the important road rules mentioned above, below are other road rules and regulations in the country. You can also access the Road Traffic Signs Regulations in the Netherlands if you want to have the complete instructions on what to practice when driving in the country.

What Do I Do If There Are Also Authorized Persons on the Road?

If you’re traveling with a child or a person with a disability, it will be best to follow the standard seatbelt laws. Apart from not getting penalized, safety should always be the primary concern. In the Netherlands, the following seatbelt laws apply:

  • Children under the age of 18 and less than 4.4 feet tall are to use a child safety system approved by the traffic authority
  • Children under the age of 18 and less than 4.4 feet tall shall not be allowed to ride in the front seat
  • Children under the age of 18 may not ride a rear-facing seat considering that an airbag is fully functional
  • Passengers in a wheelchair should be secured with a floor-mounted restraint system

Driving Etiquette in the Netherlands

If you see any authorized persons directing traffic on the road even if there are traffic lights or road signs, you should follow what they are instructing you to do. Instructions precede over traffic signs.

Authorized personnel include the following:

  • Traffic enforcers or directions who are in official uniform
  • Military personnel who are in official uniform

Car Breakdown

Dutch people are warm and very friendly. Even when they are on the road, the locals practice respect towards other road users. When driving in Netherlands, you might be able to learn a thing or two just by observing. In addition, if you’re interested in enrolling at a driving school in the Netherlands, you’ll surely learn a lot more about the local driving etiquette.

Car Breakdown

Road incidents in the Netherlands are relatively low. But, in case you meet an emergency, the first thing to remember is not to panic so you can stay focused on other potential hazards around. If your vehicle collided with a different vehicle or a road structure, it would be best to grab your phone right away, go out of your vehicle, lock it (if you have time), and keep your distance from it. This is in case your car will be at risk of fires.

Once out (and if the situation is a matter of life and death), you’ll need to immediately call emergency responders. They can include police officers, firefighters, and ambulances/medical workers. The good thing about the Netherlands is that the country has a centralized emergency hotline. You can just dial 112, and the receiver will be the one to connect you to concerned responders.

Police Stops

If you will be waved-over by police, you should carefully maneuver your car to the side of the road as directed by the police. Make sure to lock your car doors before coming to a full stop. Do not get out of your car immediately and just roll down your window. Be courteous with the police and respectfully ask what you were called for.

Most reasons for being waved-over is because of traffic violations. It may have been unintentional on the driver’s part, but still, you’ll have to accept your mistake and the associated penalties. The police will then routinely ask for your driving license and/or your car registration papers. You should comply with any instructions given thereafter to avoid further penalties.

Asking Directions

This is where learning the local language becomes super handy. A significant percentage of Dutch people understand and know how to speak English. However, there may still be a few communities that are not adept at English — particularly those outside urban centers. In case you lose your way while driving in the Netherlands, you can benefit from the country’s (almost) 90% national 4G availability, or you can simply say “Hi” and ask the locals for directions.

Below are some basic phrases that you can use:

  • “Hallo” - “Hello”
  • “Neem me niet kwalijk” - “Excuse me”
  • “Kun je me helpen?” - “ Can you help me?”
  • “Weet jij waar het __ is?” - “Do you know where the __ is?”
  • “Hartelijk bedankt” - “Thank you very much”
  • “Fijne dag!” - “Have a good day!”

Enunciating Dutch vowels, consonants and diphthongs may be a challenge for many. Still, hey, once you get the hang of the language, you’ll be able to use it in other Dutch-speaking countries like Curacao, Aruba, Sint Maarten, and many more!

Driving Situation and Conditions in the Netherlands

Most checkpoints in the country are located in international borders. These are immigration checkpoints that regulate the flow of travelers. If there is an added threat to security, Dutch police may station or conduct further, more comprehensive checks to each inbound traveler. When approaching a checkpoint, you can prepare your passport and other travel documents so that if they are requested, you can give them right away.

Driving Situation and Conditions in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has the highest motorway density in the European continent. This may also be attributable to the fact that the country’s topography is mostly flat, creating easier opportunities for road development. To strengthen its funding for road infrastructure, the government implemented toll fees, as well as an improved system for fuel and vehicle taxation.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the basis for motor vehicle taxes in the Netherlands is the amount of Carbon Dioxide the vehicle emits? Not the listing price. Cool and sustainable at the same time!

Accident Statistics

Roads in the Netherlands are very well maintained. Road infrastructure developments over the years have also resulted in a consistent decrease in the number of road fatalities from 2000 to the present. In fact, in 2017, the Netherlands recorded a 59% decrease in road fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles from 2000. If you also look at the OECD’s report, traffic, vehicle stock, and GDP trends have consistently increased from 1990 while road fatalities showed an inverse trend.

Historical road fatalities in the Netherlands commonly resulted from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and using a mobile phone while driving. So, when you drive in the Netherlands, make sure that you drive responsibly and practice alertness at all times.

Toll Roads

There are so many different types of cars in the Netherlands. However, considering car sales, the best sellers in the country are the following brands and models:

  • Kia Niro
  • Volkswagen ID
  • Hyundai Konda
  • Volkswagen Polo
  • Volvo XC40
  • Opel Corsa
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Ford Focus
  • Renault Clio
  • Peugeot 208

Toll Roads

Considering that the country has some of the world’s best road networks, you might expect to come across income-generating toll roads while driving in the Netherlands. Toll fees in the country depend on the type of vehicle. Luckily, there are only two (2) toll roads in the Netherlands, and these include:

The Western Scheldt Tunnel

  • Passenger car - €5
  • Caravan and Campers - €57.45
  • Trucks > 12 tons - toll fee is time-based

Dordste Kil

  • Passenger car (cash/card) - €2
  • Passenger car (telecard) - €1.45

Road Conditions

Because the government invests in transport infrastructure so much, there are rarely any dirt roads in the country. You wouldn’t be afraid of potholes and uneven road surfaces when driving in the Netherlands. What’s more applaudable about the country is that they consider all types of road users, establishing road sections with specific functionalities. Some of these include:

  • Rush hour lanes that are only opened during the rush hour
  • Ecoducts, also known as Wildlife Bridges, are only meant for crossing animals
  • Bike lanes that exist in all provinces

Driving Culture

Netherlands locals are generally safe drivers. This can be attributed to the years of consistent car technology innovations, driver information-education campaigns, and improvement in road infrastructure and traffic management systems. You may encounter the aggressive driving style of Dutch people sometimes, but they're generally safe drivers.

Two (2) of the most notable campaigns in the country are the “Sustainable Safety” and “Forgiving Highway” campaigns. Likewise, the road designs have been created to accommodate maximum speed efficiency for different vehicle types. Traffic and insufficient road services rarely cause people to arrive late to their destinations in the Netherlands!

Drive As a Tourist

If you’re one of those people who want to get more than just the benefits of traveling for leisure, the Netherlands has a lot more in store for you. Below are some suggestions that you can consider if you want to experience the Netherlands.

Work As a Driver

If it’s your first time traveling to the Netherlands, doing away with guided tour packages is not that scary at all. Apart from its efficient road network and traffic road signs, driving in the country is just more rewarding. Part of the fun will be planning your routes, planning your stops, calculating your gas consumption, planning your other needs, and more. Do not worry; there are no secluded or remote areas in the country, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to find your way back in case you get lost. When driving as a tourist in the Netherlands, you don't need a Dutch license. An IDP, papers of your car, and your driving license are enough. As long as you follow the Dutch road rules, you won't encounter problems on your way.

Work As a Driver

According to PayScale, delivery drivers in the Netherlands earn an average of about 10 euros/hour. The rates vary depending on what type of vehicle your drive and the driving service you are required to give. For the 10 euros/hour rate, the tasks of delivery drivers may include:

  • Maintaining the cleanliness and safety of the vehicle
  • Delivering goods and receive payments
  • Interacting with clients (receivers and senders)
  • Planning delivery routes for the day depending on the stocks

Work As a Travel Guide

Tourist guides in the Netherlands can earn an average of 14 euros/hour. The rates may vary, however, on the city you’ll be working in (base office of your company) and your years of experience. This rate also does not include the bonuses.

As a travel guide, you’ll need to be a “people-person”. This means that you should be comfortable with strangers and have excellent communication skills. Driving skills may not be required all the time for travel guides, but they are definitely also a plus on your resume.

Lastly, if you want to scale up and become a travel agent, you can around 3,050 euros/month, again depending on the number of clients you serve and the city you work in.

Apply For Residency

If you want to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, you’ll have to apply for a residency permit. You can either apply for residency yourself or have your sponsor apply for the residency permit for you. Some foreign nationals will be will also be required to obtain a regular provisional residency permit before they can apply for a residency permit (which you’ll have to confirm with the embassy).

The requirements for applications will also depend on the reason why you want to have a residency permit. Be it to stay with your family, to work, to study, for business, and many more. For example, if you want to stay with your partner or spouse in the country or work as a counselor, you’ll have to pass the civic integration examination before applying for the provisional residency permit.

So, visit the Dutch Embassy or the Dutch Representation nearest you for an update, more comprehensive list of requirements and procedures that you’ll need to follow.

Can I Apply For Visa Extension Instead?

You can also do other non-tourism-related work in the Netherlands if you wish to. The social and business environment in the country is very supportive of its people, including its visitors. You’ll find the Netherlands a very conducive place to live in.

Can I Apply For Visa Extension Instead?

There are two (2) types of visas that non-EU citizens can apply for as a tourist: The Schengen Visa and the Dutch Visa. Tourists holding either of the two(2) visas can stay in the Netherlands for up to 90 days. It would be good to note, though, that if your country is not required to get a Schengen Visa, you will be required to obtain a Dutch Visa instead. You can call your nearest Dutch Embassy to confirm what type of visa you should apply for as a tourist.

For Schengen Visa holders, you can apply for a visa extension only when you find yourself in an emergency. To do this, you’ll have to make an appointment with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. If you want to extend your visa, you should also meet the following conditions/requirements:

  • A valid explanation for why you need to extend your stay (with supporting documents)
  • A valid travel/health insurance
  • Your projected extension must not exceed 90 days. Beyond that, you’ll not be permitted to travel to other EU countries apart from the Netherlands
  • You should have at least €34/day x the no. of days you wish to extend (or ask someone to be your guarantor)
  • A passport that is not due to expire for another six(6) months

Can I Study In the Netherlands?

The Netherlands offers international-grade educational programs for people who wish to pursue their academic studies in the country. This includes programs under the science, Socio-Anthropology, governance, engineering, arts, healthcare fields, and many more! The Netherlands was also the first country in Europe to offer English-taught classes, so you wouldn’t have to worry if you weren’t familiar with the Dutch language.

Benefits of studying in the Netherlands:

  • Low tuition fees because the higher education system is government-subsidized
  • Meet diverse cultures with your fellow international students
  • Travel to other European countries at lower costs
  • Discounts on leisure activities and transports costs
  • Get a European Healthcare Insurance Card for free (limited to EU countries and Switzerland)
  • Work while studying (up to 16 hours/week depending on your nationality)

Student Visas are only required for non-EU/EEA citizens. A student visa is a form of provisional residence visa that is only valid for three (3) months. If the program you enrolled in exceeds three (3) months, you’ll have to apply for a Residency Permit upon arrival in the Netherlands.

Can I Volunteer In the Netherlands?

Do you want to make a difference while traveling and driving in the Netherlands? The opportunities are infinite. There are programs in almost all communities, touching different sectors and walk of life. You can volunteer for the arts, for nature conservation, for refugees, to alleviate poverty, for education, for special needs people, for the homeless, for the elderly, and many more.

However, if you come from a non-EU country, you would need to apply for a work permit. You can do this by contacting the organization you want to volunteer with, and they will help you process your work permit, starting by having a Letter of Invitation validated by the Dutch Government.

You can check out the volunteering.nl website for a list of registered organizations that accept international volunteers. Remember that you can only be issued a work permit if you volunteer with a state-registered organization.

The Top Road Trip Destinations in the Netherlands

Now that you already have an idea of the technicalities in traveling and driving in the Netherlands, tips on where to go, what to do, and how to go is next! This section provides you with some of the most-sought road trip destinations in the Netherlands, a very short list of the hundreds more destinations that you can find in the country.

Photo of Markthal Netherlands

Markthal

If you’re a traveling foodie, Markthal should be on top of your list. It is one of the biggest indoor food shopping centers in the world! Not only will it satisfy your gastronomic cravings, but you’ll also find the building a site to behold because of its iconic design! It also houses the Horn of Plenty, which is the biggest art piece in the world, created by Arno Coenen.

Markthal is a publicly accessible marketplace that doesn’t require any entrance fee. It is open during the following schedules:

  • Monday to Thursday - 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Friday - 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • Saturday - 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Sunday - 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Driving Directions

The Markthall Market Hall is specifically located in Rotterdam. The fastest route would be via A4, and it will take you about an hour and six (6) minutes to reach Markthal. From Amsterdam:

  1. Drive towards A10 from S112.
  2. Take A4, then A13 towards S113.
  3. Continue to drive along S113 until you reach the intersection with S112.
  4. Take S112 again, then Coolsingel towards Verlengde Nieuwstraat in Centrum.

Things To Do

Markthal was constructed to address the need for a healthier and cleaner fresh market for meat, fish, and cheese in the Netherlands. With this, the market was designed with an arch-type, high-ceiling that allows optimum ventilation in the entire market.

When you visit Markthal, ready your stomach and appetite as you’d be swooning over the many delicacies and healthy produce being sold in the building.

  1. Try the Different Dutch Delicacies

If you haven’t tried stroopwafels, finding them at the market is a must. Stroopwafels are Dutch-made cookies and are made of two waffles filled with sweet caramel syrup. These are best paired with a warm cup of tea or coffee. With the perenially cool weather of the country, these delights have become a staple as everyone’s afternoon snack.

2. Dine at Markthal

Ready-cooked food isn’t the only thing you will find at Markthal. There are also fresh produce delivered to the market daily. You can have your selections cooked and served for you to eat as there are dining areas around.

3. Join the De Rotterdam Tours

If you want to learn more about its history and see what goes on behind the operations of the iconic Markthal Market, guided tours are available for you to join in. There are many tour operators which you can find online. The rates will also vary depending on your tour package.

Driving Direction

Zutphen is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, dating as far back as the 11th century. It houses over 400 national monuments and is a haven for architecture enthusiasts who have a penchant for medieval designs.

Driving Direction

Zutphen is located in the Province of Gelderland, within the central region of the Netherlands. Driving to Zutphen will take you about 1.5 hours via A1. You also have the option to take route A12, and it will just take you about 15 more minutes than A1 to reach Zutphen. From Amsterdam:

  1. Exit the city via A10 and drive straight to S112.
  2. Drive towards A1, then to N345 in Klarenbeek.
  3. Exit towards 21-Voorst.
  4. Continue driving along N34.
  5. N32 will lead you towards Turfstraat, Zutphen.

Things To Do

Zutphen is a city full of places to explore and things to do. While it is one of the more relaxed places to go driving in the Netherlands, here are a few other activities that you can include in your itinerary:

  1. Cruise Through the River Berkel

The River Berkel is a tributary that runs through the Netherlands and Germany. It was once a major shipping route between the Dutch towns. You can go on a boating trip along the River Berkel onboard a Berkelzompen (a flat-bottomed boat) and see the magnificent natural views of both the countryside and the busy towns.

2. Sip a Coffee Along the River Ussel

You can also find river cruises along the River Ijssel. If you prefer a more laidback visit to the town, you can have an afternoon coffee at one of the cafes along the river and visit the Green Village in Warnsveld atop a beautiful nature reserve.

3. Visit the Stedelijk Museum

Zutphen has a rich architectural history. You can learn about the city’s history with the archaeological artifacts displayed at the Stedelijk Museum or take a tour of century-old courtyards and castles around it.

4. Try the Home-crafted Beers Served at Stadsbrouwrij Cambrinus

The Stadsbrouwrij Cambrinus is a go-to place for both locals and tourists. The restaurant doesn’t only serve beers but also full meals that are great for lunch and dinners. It also has a custom vaulted cellar where beer tasting and other events are conducted. You can check the restaurant’s website regularly for more information on how to get a beer-tasting tour.

Flevoland

Over the years, the Netherlands have demonstrated their keen eye for science and innovation. One of their most applauded engineering works is the world’s biggest land reclamation project. This is where Flevoland sits at present. What many know as one of the cities of the future actually holds a rich history told by the thousands of artifacts that are more than three (3) centuries old. In fact, when the first reclamation activities started, about 435 shipwrecks were discovered!

If you’re going to visit Flevoland, the best time to visit the region would be from May - September. This is when rainfall is relatively limited, and temperatures are in the mid to warm range. The coldest months in Flevoland are from December - February, when temperatures can go as low as 5oC on average. Nevertheless, you are encouraged to pack along some rainwear all year round.

Driving Directions

The region of Flevoland is located northeast of Amsterdam. It is about 63.6km away, and it would take you about 49 minutes to drive to the area via A6. This is the fastest route you can take. If you come from Amsterdam:

  1. Drive east on A10.
  2. Continue to drive towards A1, then to A6.
  3. From A6, take the exit 10-Lelystad towards N309.
  4. Continue to drive N309 and take Oostranddreed and Runderweg to reach Wisentweg.

Things To Do

Despite its status as a reclaimed area, Flevoland does not come right away as an artificial town. The city is filled with nature hotspots that refresh any weary traveler. Apart from that, traces of thousands of years of Dutch history have been well preserved, making the area seem like it is not the youngest province in the Netherlands.

Here’s what you can do in Flevoland:

  1. Eat Freshly-caught Fish at the Enchanting Fishing Village of Urk

Urk is a very famous fishing village in the country. You can find plenty of sailboats in the area which people use to fish or just to go on a sunset cruise in Ijsselmeer Lake. Apart from eating freshly caught fish, you can also go around and have yourself enveloped by the serene comfort of the town’s vibe.

2. Visit Waterloopbos

If you are fond of engineering and science, Waterloopbos might be the fantasyland for you. Visit the area and see the scaled-up models of sustainable and futuristic systems for waterworks. Some people also visit the area for project inspiration.

3. Visit Museum Shokland

Museum Shokland is a 1834 museum church located in Middelbuurt. It is a famous site for destination weddings and classical concerts. You can walk or cycle around the area and learn about the history of Shokland.

4. Tour Batavialand Heritage Park

Batavialand is a must-see area for the kids. The museum focuses on the maritime history of Flevoland, including the many shipwrecks discovered when it was built. If you didn’t know, Flevoland has the world’s largest shipwreck graveyard! When you visit Batavialand, you’ll also learn about shipbuilding, preserving the ships, and sustainable dredging and reclamation.

Alkmaar-Netherlands photo by Moritz Kindler

Alkmaar

When you’re driving in the Netherlands, specifically in the Northern Holland area, stop by Alkmaar. Alkmaar is a paradise for cheese-lovers. The Dutch take pride in their hand-crafted, specialty cheeses so much that they built an entire museum for it! You can learn about the history of cheese-making in the Netherlands and witness the traditional way of making cheese.

Apart from the Cheese Museum, Alkmaar is also a shopping district, a famous wine-and-dine place, and a go-to destination for swimming and lounging by the sea.

Driving Directions

Alkmaar is just a short 40-minute drive north of Amsterdam. It is about 41.8km from the country’s capital and is nearer to the western coast of the country. The fastest route to take would be via N244. So if you come from Amsterdam:

  1. Exit the city via S116 and the IJ-Tunnel.
  2. Drive north along A10.
  3. Then take A8 and N246 towards N244 in Stompetoren.
  4. From there, head towards Kanaalkade in Alkmaar.

Things To Do

Like most places in the Netherlands, the best time to visit Alkmaar would be from May - September, when the climate is not too harsh. The coldest month in Alkmaar is January (when temperatures can go below 5oC), while the hottest month is July (when temperatures average at 20oC). If you come from a tropical country, you might find Alkmaar very cold, so don’t forget to wear heat-tech clothes if you can.

There are lots of things to do in Alkmaar apart from touring the Cheese Museum. These include:

Alkmaar is just a short 40-minute drive north of Amsterdam. It is about 41.8km from the country’s capital and is nearer to the western coast of the country. The fastest route to take would be via N244. So if you come from Amsterdam:

  1. Taste the Different Cheeses at the Cheese Market

A trip to the Dutch Kingdom wouldn’t be complete without trying the world-class Dutch cheese. Alkmaar is where you’ll find plenty of handcrafted cheese, which are sold ‘round the clock or at the weekend market. If you get the chance to visit the Cheese Market on the weekend, you’ll be in for a feast because large wheels of cheeses are being sold, and the area will be filled with music, dancing, and people from all walks of life, including small-time and big-time restaurateurs.

2. Reminisce Through the Music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo at the Beatles Museum

If you are a Beatles fan, the museum is a must-see. Some believe that John Lennon’s first guitar was made in Alkmaar, so it was the perfect setting to build the project. The museum was started by two avid supporters of the Beatles, and it also features a music and comic book store where you can buy souvenirs.

3. Go On a Wine and Beer Tasting Spree at the Beer Museum

The Boom National Beer Museum is the site of a former brewery. Apart from tasting the exquisite alcohol beverages made in the museum, visitors will get to learn about the history and process of traditional beer-making.

4. Tour the City Center by Walking Around the Alkmaar Canals

The Netherlands is swooning with canals, and you can mostly see these in old cities like Amsterdam and Alkmaar. The canals originally served as a sewer system, as a navigational channel, and an avenue for trade and commerce. If you tour the Alkmaar Canals, see if you can spot the Accijnstoren, a former tax office built in the 1600s.

Maastricht-Netherlands photo by Melvin Bertelkamp

Maastricht

The City of Maastricht started as a Celtic ground during 500 B.C.E. This is the city where the European Union (EU) started via the Treaty of Maastricht. There is just so much history in this city that it would take more than two (2) days to wander around and visit the sites.

One of the infamous tours that you can take part in Maastricht is the Maastricht Underground tours. Maastricht Underground features a network of tunnels and caves that have witnessed the Netherlands’ changing political and social-scape for centuries. It has served as a shelter for those hiding from the war and a base for soldiers. Some of the caves and tunnels go as deep as 30 meters below ground. There are three (3) main caves included in the Maastricht Underground Tour, and these include:

  • The North Caves below St. Pietersberg Hill
  • The Zonneberg Caves
  • Fort St. Pieter

Driving Directions

There are multiple entrances to the Maastricht underground tunnels. You can choose from the three (3) main caves mentioned above. Nevertheless, all of these entrances are located within the Limburg Region. Maastricht is about 215.9km from Amsterdam. It will take you about 2 hours and 21 minutes to get to the city via A2. This is the fastest route:

  1. Drive south via s110 towards A2 in Amsterdam-Oost.
  2. Continue to drive along A2 until you get to Viaductweg.
  3. Viaductweg is already within the Maastricht jurisdiction

Things To Do

Tours of the tunnels and caves are guided. You cannot go into the underground without a trained tour guide because there is hardly any signal, and light is basically non-existent (except for a few artificial bulbs). The availability of tours may change every day, so you are encouraged to check exploremaastricht.nl before going to the area.

If you’re a history buff, you wouldn’t want to slash out Maastricht from your itinerary. Here are other sites and features that you can visit in Maastricht

  1. A 1,700-year-old Roman Square

If you’ll stay or dine at the Derlon Hotel, you’ll get fantastic views of this ancient roman square. The Vrijthof has already been developed into an urban square. However, it still has plenty of archaeological and architectural remnants from more than a thousand years back.

2. Visit the Tomb of Saint Servatius

Saint Servatius was an Armenian missionary who died in Maastricht in the year 384. His remains are buried in the Basilica of Saint Servatius, along with other important relics during his time. The basilica also features a museum where pilgrims can learn about the history of Maastricht during the 6th century. Apart from the Basilica of Saint Servatius, you can also visit the Basilica of Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek, also a 1000-year-old church.

3. Explore local restaurants, bars, and cafés

Of course, local concept restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are also found throughout the city. It is even hailed as the city with the most number of bars and cafés in the country! These shops are also something that you don’t want to miss when traveling to Maastricht.

For more “driving in the Netherlands tips and tricks,” driving laws, and tourist hotspots, and getting an International Driving License in Netherlands, feel free to contact and speak to our representative.

Get your International Driving Permit in 2 hours

Instant approval

Valid for 1-3 years

Worldwide express shipping