Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Driving in the Netherlands

Driving in the Netherlands
Population: 17,016,967
Area: 41,543 sq. Km
Currency: Euro

If you're driving in the Netherlands, your checklist requirements are:

  • A valid UK driving licence.
  • A GB sticker on the back of your car – unless your car has 'Euro-plates' (number-plates that show a circle of 12 stars on a blue background).
  • Your motor insurance certificate and V5 registration document or hire car paperwork.
  • Headlamp converters (stickers you put on your headlights when you're driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).

Going away? Remember to take RAC Travel Insurance with you.

Need breakdown cover while you're in the Netherlands? Check out what the RAC can offer to you on our dedicated Dutch breakdown cover page.

If you need breakdown cover abroad for a short time, why not try our Single Trip European Breakdown Cover, starting from just £6.

European Cover from just £6 per day^

​The RAC provide you with up to £1,250 worth of roadside assistance in Europe, starting from just £6^ per day.

You must also:

  • Drive on the right, overtake on the left.
  • Be 18 or over.
  • Wear your seatbelt at all times (this applies to everyone in the car).
  • Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a motorcycle.

It's a good idea to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A warning triangle - it is not compulsory to carry a warning triangle but a vehicle other than a motorcycle which is insufficiently lit either by its own lights or street lighting when parked at night must be indicated by a red reflectorised warning triangle.
  • A Camping Card International to give you additional proof of identity, third party liability insurance, plus discounts at a wide range of campsites and tourist attractions.
  • A Green Card – it's a useful back-up to your motor insurance documents and shows you've got the minimum legal level of cover. If you'd like to find out more, contact your insurance company.

Other things you should know:

  • You don't have to pay motorway tolls when driving through the Netherlands.
  • Petrol, diesel and LPG are readily available, along with Super (98 Octane), which contains a lead replacement additive.
  • Children measuring less than 1.35m must be placed in an approved child restraint which meets the safety standard ECE 44/03 or later. This applies both in the front and back of the car.
  • The speed limit is 50kph in built-up areas, 80kph on regional and local roads, 100kph on main highways and 130kph on motorways.
  • If you're caught committing a motoring offence you'll be given an on-the-spot fine.
  • It's illegal to carry or use any radar detection equipment.
  • The drink driving limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood for most drivers (less than the UK limit of 80mg per 100ml). If you've been driving less than five years, the limit is 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - it's the same for moped riders up to the age of 24.
  • A driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol will be asked to take a breath test.  In some cases a blood test may be necessary.
  • Cycles and mopeds have right of way over cars. Watch out for cycle lanes - mopeds aren't supposed to use them but often do.
  • If you're in a built-up area, you can only use your horn in cases of extreme danger. Flash your lights instead at night.

Rules of the road

Overtaking and passing

Stationary trams may be overtaken on the right, provided persons boarding or leaving the tram are not inconvenienced.

Trams in motion should normally be overtaken on the right, but it is permitted to overtake them on the left if there is insufficient space on the right and if it is safe to do so.

Overtaking is prohibited at a pedestrian crossing.

In traffic which is moving slowly in queues, drivers may overtake on the right; they may change lane only if it does not obstruct or inconvenience other traffic.

Priority

Where the approach to an intersection is marked with a "priority road ahead" sign, a "STOP" sign or a line of white triangles painted across the road, drivers must give way to all vehicles (including bicycles) on the priority road. 

In the absence of such signs, drivers must yield right of way to vehicles approaching from the right, including slow moving traffic, bicycles and mopeds.

At roundabouts, drivers must yield right of way to vehicles on the right.

Traffic proceeding straight ahead (even slow-moving traffic) has priority over turning traffic.

Motor vehicles travelling on a paved road have priority over any vehicle approaching from a dirt road or a cycle track which is not part of the paved highway.

Trams have priority at the intersection of roads.

Emergency vehicles (police cars, fire engines, ambulances) have priority over all other traffic when their flashing blue lights and special audible warning device are in use.

Yellow diamond signs indicate a priority road.

Buses have right of way over all other vehicles when leaving bus stops in built-up areas.  Drivers of vehicles travelling behind such buses must allow the bus driver to leave the kerb when he signals his intention to do so.

Warning of approach

All vehicles must be fitted with an audible warning device which should not be unduly loud.  It may be used in moderation by day, but at night it is recommended to use headlights.

Parking regulations

Special parking regulations

Waiting is permitted on condition that the vehicle does not interfere with other traffic and that it is on the extreme right of the carriageway.

Waiting is prohibited:

  • Along a yellow line
  • In a tunnel
  • On roads signposted with the international prohibition sign
  • On cycle paths or footpaths (this does not apply to cyclists, motorcyclists or disabled drivers)
  • Within 12 metres of a bus stop or along the black and white line painted on the road or kerb to indicate a bus stop, except to pick up or set down a passenger
  • At least 5 metres in front of a pedestrian or cycle crossing and 5 metres after the crossing
  • On a level crossing

Parking is prohibited:

In addition to the places mentioned above:

  • On roads signposted "No parking"; a rectangular sign "zone" indicates the times where parking is restricted, a sign "parkeerschijf" indicates times where a disc is compulsory
  • Outside built-up areas, on the carriageway of priority roads
  • Where there is a broken yellow line at the side of the road
  • Within 5 metres of an intersection
  • Wherever the vehicle would obscure road signs, traffic lights and direction signs
  • In front of an exit or entrance.

At night, parked vehicles do not have to be illuminated, provided that:

  • The vehicle is parked in a built-up area within 30 metres of a street lamp which shines on it directly
  • The vehicle is parked in a recognised parking site.

It is usually forbidden to spend the night in a vehicle in a parking site and the police impose fines.  Camper vans are excluded from this rule but visitors should enquire locally before deciding to spend the night in their vehicle.

Parking meters and/or discs are used in many towns.  Discs may be obtained from local stores.  Meters allow parking for between 30 minutes and 2 or 3 hours.  Charges vary according to the location.

Enforcement of parking regulations

In the case of illegal parking, the police can impose fines on-the-spot or tow the vehicle away.

Parking facilities for disabled motorists

Parking spaces reserved for disabled drivers are indicated by signs carrying the international symbol for the disabled or by a road marking.

In these special parking zones, disabled drivers may park for an unlimited period.  However, in areas where general parking restrictions apply the maximum parking time allowed is 3 hours.  The disabled sticker must be visible and used in conjunction with the parking disc.

Disabled motorists must pay to park and must keep within the time limit in parking zones where payment is required.  However, they may park without time limit on roads where parking is free but limited by time.

Disabled drivers may also park in residential zones outside of the marked spaces providing they do not obstruct traffic.

Useful numbers:

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting. Operators can answer your call in their native language, English, and French. 

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice

 

Disclaimer: RAC are not responsible for the content of external websites. The information provided is correct as of May 2016 to the best of our knowledge and should be referred to for information purposes only - it should not be relied upon as formal advice. Please always check the current requirements of the country you are visiting before you leave.
*Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1.
RAC European Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. RAC Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

British Embassy The Hague

Lange Voorhout 10
2514 ED The Hague
Netherlands

Email: ukinnl@fco.gov.uk

Telephone: +31 (0)70 4270 427

^Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year in zone 1.

*Comparison based on top standalone cover levels from other major providers. Visit www.rac.co.uk/eurocompare for full details.

RAC European Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. RAC Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.