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Driving Guide for Netherlands

Driving in the Netherlands is similar to other countries in the European Union. You might encounter some situations that are unique, but overall, the roads are in great conditions and the driving culture is calm. Before you go to the Netherlands, you should read this guide to understand what and how you need to drive. These driving rules will give you some important knowledge for the streets of Holland.

Driver’s License

Type of License

Requirements

EU license

Any license issued by the EU is valid in the Netherlands

Non EU license

Other foreign licenses might be valid without and IDP

It is required to drive with an IDP for certain foreign drivers

All drivers

All licenses must be current and valid

Must be over the age of 18

You need to check with your local automotive club or the Dutch Embassy (in your home country) to see if you need an international driving permit (IDP). Although it is not required for every country, it is a good idea to have an IDP. They are very inexpensive and you can research more about them here. If you are from the UK, you should follow this link.

Speed Limits

Type of Road

Speed Limit (km/h)

Built up areas

50

Rural areas

80

Minor highways

100

Major highways

120

Speed limit signs are circular with a red outline and a black number. The numbers are always expressed in kilometers per hour (km/h). Be sure you follow the posted speed limits because the Dutch police have set up traps and cameras to crack down on fast driving. If you are ever unsure of the required speed limit, you can use the above table as a general guide.

Rules of the Road

Category

Description

Flow of traffic

Drive on the RIGHT side of the road

Only pass cars on the left side

At an intersection, give way to traffic on your right

Give way to traffic on your left at a roundabout

Priority

Pedestrians always have the right of way

Cyclists have priority over cars

Public transportation has priority over cars

The driver

May not drive under the influence of drugs

Maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) is .05%

Max BAC = .02% if less than 5 years driving experience

Not allowed to have a mobile phone in hand

Passengers

Must wear seat belts at all times

If under 12 years old, must sit in the back seats

If shorter than 135 cm, must have a booster seat

If under 3 years old, must have a child safety seat

Headlights

Must be used during poor visibility

Recommended for use at all times

The Netherlands has relaxed laws regarding the usage of certain mind-altering substances. The Netherlands has strict laws regarding the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of these substances. The bottom line is that you should not drive if you have been indulging in anything that may hinder your ability to drive safely. You are liable at anytime to be stopped for a sobriety check and you will not be granted lenience if you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
For more information about the road signs in the Netherlands, you can click here. This link will show you similar road signs in other European countries.

Parking in the Amsterdam

Day

Hours

Price

Monday – Sunday (center)

9:00 – 24:00

4.00 – 5.00 EUR/hour

Monday – Saturday (canal ring)

9:00 – 19:00/24:00

2.50 EUR/hour

Monday – Saturday (periphery)

9:00 – 19:00/24:00

1.50 EUR/hour

Sunday

All day

FREE (not in center)

(1.00 EUR = 0.90 GBP, 1.40 USD)
The above table shows the on street parking rates for the city of Amsterdam. It is likely to be a little cheaper if you park in a public lot for a long duration. The parking prices in Amsterdam are the most expensive in the country so you can expect lower tariffs in other cities. Some parking areas require the use of the blue parking disc. You can get one for a very low price (or no cost) from newsstands or tobacco shops. The will also offer instructions for use if you are unsure about the protocol. Only park your car in designated areas or you will receive a ticket and face possible towing procedures.
*Information on this page is accurate as of May 26, 2011