Driving Licences in the Netherlands

Understand if you may drive in the Netherlands using a licence issued in another country...

  • The legal age to drive a car or motorbike is eighteen. Sixteen year olds may drive a scooter or moped (brommer) with a design speed under 45 Km/h if they have a special Dutch driving licence (Category AM). For anyone over eighteen, a standard car or motorbike licence is all that is required to drive a scooter.
  • Anyone who drives a motor vehicle in the Netherlands must have a valid driving license and at least third party liability insurance

Using a Foreign Driving Licence

A driver's license issued in a Member State of the European Union or in Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland is valid and can be used in the Netherlands.

Though a Dutch licence is not required for EU citizens who become residents of The Netherlands, Dutch licence regulations will apply to their licence regarding:

  • The period of validity of the licence
  • Medical checks
  • Taxes
  • Penalties and restrictions, including suspension, withdrawal and cancellation of the licence

If a driving infraction occurs, Dutch authorities can require the holder of a licence from an EU country to replace their licence with a Dutch one.

Driving licences obtained from the following countries may be exchanged against a Dutch one, providing the holder is resident in the Netherlands and has a valid residence permit:

  • Aruba, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jersey, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Isle of Man, Monaco, Dutch Antilles, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta.
  • If a drivers licence from any of these countries was issued after the 19th January 2013 (meaning that it is in the new EU standardised format) then the licence is valid in the Netherlands for 15 years or until the licence expires, whichever comes first.
  • If a licence from any of these countries was issued before the 19th January 2013 (meaning it is an older style) then the licence is valid for ten years or until it expires, whichever comes first.

Driving licences issued in the following countries may only be exchanged in specific cases:

  • Andorra - B (passenger vehicle)
  • Taiwan - B (passenger vehicle)
  • Israel - B (passenger vehicle)
  • Japan - IB (passenger vehicle and motorcycle of more than 400cc)
  • Singapore - Class 2 (motorcycle of more than 400cc) Class 3 (passenger vehicle)
  • South Korea - B (passenger vehicle)
  • Canadian province Quebec – Class 5 – B (passenger vehicle)

To exchange a foreign driving licence, it must be valid at the time of the application and have been issued in a year during which the person was resident in the country of origin. The exchange must occur within 6 months (185 days) of taking up residence in the Netherlands.