Rent a Car for Travel in Amsterdam

Renting a car can provide the freedom to fully explore Amsterdam and the surrounding areas of the Netherlands. With some planning, renting a car in Amsterdam can be easy and affordable. This guide covers everything you need to know.

Finding a Rental Car Company

The first step is to find a rental car provider. Here are some options:

Major Rental Agencies

Major international companies like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar and Budget have locations at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and in the city center. These provide global standards of service and vehicle options.

Local Dutch Companies

Consider renting from local Dutch brands like ADA, Van Kampen, AmicoRent or Vahrenhorst for lower rates. Research reputability and policies.

Peer-to-Peer Rentals

Sites like SnappCar allow locals to rent out their own vehicles. This can save money but verify insurance coverage.

Aggregator Sites

Compare rates across multiple companies using aggregator sites like, Kayak and AutoEurope. Look for deals but watch for hidden fees.

Amsterdam Car Rental Companies

HertzSchiphol Airport, Amsterdam Centraal Station, City Center
AvisSchiphol Airport, City Center
BudgetSchiphol Airport, City Center
EuropcarSchiphol Airport, City Center
ADASchiphol Airport, City Center

Choosing a Rental Car

Consider the following when selecting a rental car in Amsterdam:

  • Rental duration – Are you renting for a day or longer term?
  • Number of passengers/luggage – Choose a car that fits all passengers comfortably.
  • Locations – Will you stay in the city only or take road trips?
  • Fuel efficiency – Opt for diesel, hybrid, or smaller petrol cars for better mileage.
  • Features – Automatic transmission, GPS navigation, child seats, etc.
  • Cost – Balance size, fuel, and features with the rental rates.

Insurance Needs

Rental car insurance in Amsterdam can be confusing. Ask these questions:

  • Is basic insurance included or will you need to add a CDW (collision damage waiver)? Know what’s covered.
  • Should you purchase supplemental liability insurance for extra protection?
  • Does your credit card provide rental coverage? If so, understand the benefits.
  • Are there exclusions for damage to windows, tires, the roof, or undercarriage?

Purchase insurance wisely so you are protected from large out-of-pocket expenses for damages or theft.

Pick Up and Drop Off Locations

Choose convenient locations and times for rental pick up and drop off. Options include:

  • Schiphol Airport (AMS) – Easiest for visitors flying into Amsterdam. Locate your rental counter in the arrival hall.
  • Amsterdam Centraal Station – Pick up a car right at the main train station downtown.
  • City rental offices – Major agencies have locations scattered within the central area.
  • Flexible return – Some companies may allow returning the car to a different office for a small fee.

Review opening hours to avoid after-hours return fees. Also factor in public transit connections.

Driving Tips for Amsterdam

Driving in Amsterdam and the Netherlands requires caution. Be prepared with these tips:

  • Navigate unfamiliar streets using GPS and maps offline. Mobile data is not always reliable.
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists have right of way. Use extra care at intersections and roundabouts.
  • Parking is limited. Reserve spaces ahead of time whenever possible.
  • Avoid historic city centers with restricted vehicle access. Use public transportation instead.
  • Watch speed limits carefully. Fines from speed cameras are steep.
  • Be alert for narrow streets, lanes marked for bikes or trams, and spaces to reverse into.

Rules of the Road in the Netherlands

Follow these rules when driving in the Netherlands:

  • Drive on the right side of the road.
  • Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers.
  • Children under 1.35 meters must be in approved child seats.
  • Use headlights at all times, day and night.
  • Yield to traffic from the right at intersections without signals.
  • The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% for drivers.
  • Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal, even with hands-free units.
  • Speed limits are generally 50 km/h in urban areas and 100 km/h on expressways.

Refueling Your Rental Car

Most rentals start with a full tank but you will need to refill before returning it. Gas stations accept major credit cards.

  • Review whether you must return the car with a full tank or can pay for the missing fuel.
  • Refuel your rental car near the drop off location before returning it.
  • Save your fuel receipt as proof in case of any dispute over the remaining fuel level.
  • Gas stations are self-serve. Press the pump number to activate the self-service machine.

Dropping Off Your Rental Car

When returning your Amsterdam rental car:

  • Return during office hours or you may incur after-hours drop off fees.
  • Inspect the car carefully with the agent before turning it in.
  • Keep your rental agreement in case of later disputes about damages or charges.
  • Have your fuel receipt ready to show how much gas is remaining.
  • Get a $0 balance invoice from the agent showing no additional fees due.

Helpful Resources

These additional resources are useful for trip planning:

By following this guide, you can feel confident renting a car for smooth travels in Amsterdam and the Netherlands!

Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Car in Amsterdam

What documents do I need to rent a car in Amsterdam?

You will need a valid driver’s license, passport, and credit card in your name. Some rental companies require an International Driving Permit.

What is the minimum rental age in Amsterdam?

The minimum age to rent a car is usually 23-25 years old depending on the rental company and vehicle type. Drivers under 25 may incur young renter fees.

Can I take a rental car from Amsterdam to other European countries?

Yes, but notify the rental company in advance. Extra fees and insurance restrictions may apply when driving outside the Netherlands.

Is automatic or manual transmission more common for Amsterdam rental cars?

Manual transmission is much more common in European rental cars. Ensure you are comfortable driving a stick shift before renting.

Are Amsterdam rental cars equipped for GPS or Bluetooth connections?

Most modern rental cars will have built-in GPS navigation and Bluetooth. But verify features in advance if needed.


Renting a car in Amsterdam provides the freedom to visit top destinations in the city and throughout the Netherlands. By booking the right car for your needs, understanding insurance, and following local driving laws, you can comfortably navigate by rental car in Amsterdam. Use this guide to start planning your Amsterdam itinerary by car!


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