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Netherlands – Driving Licenses

The Netherlands is a beautiful country to explore, and having a driving license can make it easier to travel around. Whether you’re a foreign national visiting or planning to live in the Netherlands, it’s important to understand the rules regarding driving licenses. This article provides information about driving licenses for foreign nationals in the Netherlands.

General rules regarding driving licences for foreign nationals in the Netherlands

If you’re a foreign national visiting or planning to live in the Netherlands, you can use your driving license from your home country for a limited period. The period depends on which country issued your driving license. If you’re from the EU or EEA, you can use your driving license for an unlimited period. If you’re from a country outside of the EU or EEA, you can use your driving license for up to 185 days after arriving in the Netherlands.

Agreements in place for exchanging driving license

There are agreements in place between the Netherlands and certain countries that allow foreign nationals to exchange their driving license for a Dutch one without having to take a driving test. These agreements are known as reciprocal agreements. If your country has a reciprocal agreement with the Netherlands, you can exchange your driving license for a Dutch one.

The reciprocal agreements currently in place are:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom (including Isle of Man and Channel Islands)

If you’re from a country that doesn’t have a reciprocal agreement with the Netherlands, you’ll need to take a driving test to obtain a Dutch driving license.

Procedure for exchanging, obtaining, renewing a driving license in the Netherlands

Exchanging a driving license


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If you’re eligible to exchange your driving license for a Dutch one, you can apply to do so at your local municipality. You’ll need to bring your original driving license, proof of identity, and proof of residency. You may also need to provide a translation of your driving license, depending on which country issued it.

Obtaining a driving license

If you’re from a country that doesn’t have a reciprocal agreement with the Netherlands, you’ll need to take a driving test to obtain a Dutch driving license. You can apply for the driving test at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR) by filling out an application form on their website.

To obtain a Dutch driving license, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass a theory exam
  • Pass a practical driving exam

Renewing a driving license

A Dutch driving license is valid for 10 years. If your driving license is expiring soon, you’ll need to renew it. You can renew your driving license at your local municipality. You’ll need to bring your current driving license, proof of identity, and proof of residency.

Contact details of relevant government departments or agencies

International Driving Permit (IDP)

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recognized in the Netherlands. However, it’s important to note that an IDP is not a standalone document. It must be accompanied by your original driving license from your home country.

An IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue. If you’re planning to stay in the Netherlands for longer than a year, you’ll need to obtain a Dutch driving license. An IDP may also be required if you plan to drive outside of the Netherlands during your stay in Europe.

Penalty system for motoring offences in relation to driving licenses

If you’re caught committing a motoring offence while driving in the Netherlands, you may be issued with a fine, penalty points, or even have your driving license suspended or revoked. The severity of the penalty depends on the type of offence committed.

Minor offences, such as speeding, may result in a fine. More serious offences, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, may result in a driving ban, a fine, or even imprisonment.

It’s important to note that if you commit a motoring offence while driving in the Netherlands using your foreign driving license, you may still be subject to penalties, even after you’ve left the country. The Netherlands has reciprocal agreements with many countries, which means that information about driving offences is shared between countries.

Driving in the Netherlands can be a convenient way to travel and explore the country. Foreign nationals can use their driving license from their home country for a limited period, depending on the country of issue. If you’re eligible, you may be able to exchange your driving license for a Dutch one without taking a driving test. However, if you’re not eligible, you’ll need to take a driving test to obtain a Dutch driving license.

Renewing your driving license is a simple process that can be done at your local municipality. If you’re caught committing a motoring offence in the Netherlands, you may be subject to penalties, which can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.

By understanding the rules and procedures regarding driving licenses in the Netherlands, you can ensure that you’re driving legally and safely during your time in the country.


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