Conditions apply to foreigners driving in the Netherlands, otherwise there’s an excellent public transport system.
- Once you are a resident of the Netherlands you cannot drive a car registered in another country.
- You must have a valid licence recognised by Dutch law, be at least 18, and have third party insurance.
Exchanging a driving licence
To exchange (omwisselen) your existing national driving licence (rijbewijs) for a Dutch one, you must fit into one of the categories below. Otherwise you can use it for 185 days after becoming a resident, during which time you need to take the CBR theory and driving tests. You can take both the theory and practical exam in English. ‘Drivers in international traffic’ — essentially tourists or short-term visitors — are considered non-residents and do not need a Dutch driving licence, although non-EU nationals should check with their Dutch embassy if an international licence is required (essentially a translation of your national licence). Dutch licences are generally issued for 10 years. Foreign licences from EU/EFTA countries can be used in the Netherlands for 10 years from the date of issue, or 15 years if issued after January 2013. You may like to exchange it anyway: it is a valid proof of identity in many cases.
Read more about Transport in the Netherlands in the Expat Survival Guide.