Driving in the Netherlands

When arriving in a new country, it might occur that not only the environment changes, but also the road rules. The Netherlands is a very hectic and full country with lots of traffic. Bikes, cars, busses, taxis, and lorries will all use the same streets and lanes. Please always check the rules before getting in to your car.

Drivers license
If you are moving to the Netherlands and you have a foreign driving licence, you can continue to use this driving license for a certain period. The length of this period depends on the country where you obtained your driving license. After this period ends, you will need to have a Dutch driving license. Some internationals are able to exchange their driver’s license for a Dutch one easily. This includes but is not limited to EU and EEA citizens, and expats who have the 30% tax facility status. To exchange your drivers license for a Dutch one, please make an appointment at your municipality and bring valid identity papers, your foreign driver’s license and a passport photo. Click here to make an appointment in the city of Utrecht. This is only possible if you are registered as a resident of the Netherlands and have a valid residence permit. You may also be asked to provide a certificate of fitness.

Learn more

Don’t own a car, but want to drive? No problem! There are several peer-to-peer and carshare options available. Peer-to-peer means you can rent a quality vetted, fully insured car from a private individual, via such services as SnappCar or MyWheels. Carsharing means you have on-demand access to a fleet of vehicles parked throughout the region, available 24 hours. In this case Greenwheels or Connectcar are two options.

Parking permits
Don’t you want to pay to park your car or other vehicle? You can apply for a resident parking permit (parkeervergunning voor bewoner) at the municipality. With a permit, you don’t have to pay for parking at the meter or via a parking app. A parking permit is registered to a specific vehicle registration number. If you have more than 1 car or another vehicle, you must apply for a separate parking permit for each vehicle. Contact the municipality you live in for more information.


Are you lost in the overload of information? Don’t worry!
The volunteers of Utrecht International Center are happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

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