Netherlands Driving Licence or Driver Permit

Netherlands Driving Licence : Having a valid driving license is required for all individuals who wish to operate a motor vehicle on public roads in the Netherlands.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about applying for and holding a Dutch driver’s license.

Types of Driver’s Licenses Issued in the Netherlands

The Netherlands issues different categories of driving licenses depending on the type of vehicle you want to drive:

  • Category AM – Mopeds up to 50cc
  • Category A1 – Light motorcycles
  • Category A2 – Medium-sized motorcycles
  • Category A – All motorcycles
  • Category B – Motor vehicles up to 3,500 kg and up to 8 passenger seats
  • Category C – Trucks over 3,500 kg
  • Category D – Buses with more than 8 seats
  • Category T – Tractors and other agricultural vehicles

The minimum age to obtain each category varies from 16 to 24 years.

Eligibility Criteria for a Dutch Driving License

To qualify for getting a driving license in the Netherlands, you must:

  • Meet the minimum age requirement for the license category
  • Pass a medical examination to prove physical and mental fitness
  • Pass the theory and practical driving exams
  • Show proof of identity and legal residence in the Netherlands
  • Pay the applicable license fees

How to Apply for a New Driving License in the Netherlands

Follow these key steps to get a new driving license issued in the Netherlands:

Step 1: Enroll in a Certified Driving School

  • Choose a certified driving school or instructor to start your lessons.
  • You will be taught traffic rules, regulations, driving skills, vehicle controls etc.
  • The number of mandatory lessons varies for each license category. Typically 30-40 classes are required.
  • You can take lessons in manual as well as automatic transmission vehicles.

Step 2: Book the Theory Test

  • After completing required lessons, book the theory exam with the CBR (Dutch driving license authority).
  • The theory test has multiple choice questions testing your knowledge on traffic laws and road safety.
  • You can take free practice theory tests online to prepare.
  • Passing the theory test is mandatory before the practical driving test.

Step 3: Take the Practical Driving Test

  • Once you pass the theory exam, schedule the practical test.
  • Arrive with your theory test certificate, identity proof, eye test report and fee.
  • The examiner will assess your driving abilities on public roads for 40-60 minutes.
  • You must demonstrate safe driving, adherence to rules, parking skills etc.
  • Passing the practical test will make you eligible for the provisional license.

Step 4: Apply for Provisional Driving License

  • Submit application form, photos, medical report and identity proof.
  • Pay application fees.
  • Upon processing, you will receive a provisional driving license valid for 5 years.
  • You can only drive under supervision of an experienced driver with provisional license.

Step 5: Obtain the Permanent License

  • After 1 year with provisional license, you can apply for the permanent license.
  • Pass another practical driving test.
  • Show proof of completing advanced driving lessons.
  • Pay the fee and get your plastic card format permanent license.
  • This license is valid until your 50th or 70th birthday depending on category.

Documents Required for Obtaining Dutch Driving License

You need to submit the following documents when applying for a Dutch driving license:

  • Completely filled license application form
  • Passport size photographs
  • Valid medical fitness certificate
  • Proof of identity (passport/Dutch residence permit)
  • Theory and practical exam pass certificates
  • Payment receipt of license fees

Fees for Acquiring a Driver’s License in the Netherlands

The typical fees charged for getting a new driving license in Netherlands are:

License TypeTheory TestPractical TestIssue of LicenseTotal Fees
B (Car)€39€240€39€318
A (Motorcycle)€39€240€39€318
C (Truck)€39€240€39€318
D (Bus)€39€240€39€318

How to Renew a Dutch Driving License

  • Driving licenses must be renewed before expiry to keep them valid.
  • The renewal process is similar to getting a new license.
  • You may have to undergo medical examination and also give practical driving tests again.
  • Submit the renewal application with necessary documents and fees.
  • Once approved, your renewed Dutch license will be issued.

Replacing a Lost or Stolen License

If your Dutch driving license is lost, stolen or damaged, you must apply for a replacement by:

  • Reporting the loss/theft and obtaining a police report.
  • Filling out the replacement form and submitting it to the municipality.
  • Providing passport photos and proof of identity.
  • Paying the replacement fee of €39.70
  • A duplicate license will be issued within 1-2 weeks.

Converting a Foreign Driver’s License

  • If you hold a non-EU license, you can drive for 185 days after becoming a Dutch resident.
  • To continue driving, you must convert it into a Dutch license within this period.
  • Pass a theory and practical test for the equivalent Dutch category.
  • If license verification is successful, you can directly obtain the Dutch driving license.

Traffic Rules and Violations in the Netherlands

Strictly abide by Dutch traffic laws to avoid fines, penalties or suspension:

  • Drive on the right side of the road. Overtaking only from left side.
  • Observe speed limits – 50km/hr in urban areas, 100km/hr on highways.
  • Wearing seat belts is compulsory for all passengers.
  • Using mobile phones while driving is prohibited, except with handsfree devices.
  • Drink driving can lead to huge fines, prison time and cancellation of license.
  • Running red lights incurs a €230 fine.
  • Violating priority rules at intersections also results in fines.
  • Non-payment of traffic fines can lead to license suspension.

Tips for Safe Driving in the Netherlands

Follow these tips for safe driving habits and practices in the Netherlands:

  • Get adequate practice before driving solo. Complete all mandatory lessons.
  • Drive defensively and anticipate other’s actions.
  • Maintain safe braking distance from vehicles in front.
  • Be very cautious while passing cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Use dipped headlights during day time as well for better visibility.
  • Avoid using high beam headlights when other vehicles are around.
  • Check for bicycles coming from behind before opening car doors.
  • Give way to traffic from right at unmarked intersections.
  • Stay alert and reduce speed in residential areas and school zones.
  • Park only in designated areas to avoid fines.
  • Carry your license, registration papers and ID proof always when driving.

FAQs on Netherlands Driving Licence

Q1. What is the minimum age to get a car driving license in Netherlands?

The minimum age to apply for a Category B car driving license in the Netherlands is 18 years. You must pass the theory and practical tests.

Q2. For how many years is a new driving license valid in the Netherlands?

New driving licenses issued in the Netherlands are valid for 10 years in case of regular passenger vehicles and 5 years for commercial vehicle licenses.

Q3. Can I drive in other European countries with a Dutch driving license?

Yes, a Dutch driving license is valid for driving within all European Union member states. No international permit is required while travelling within the EU.