In focus: Driving in The Netherlands

On July 15, 2013 by Dutch Umbrella Company

Driving a foreign vehicle?

If you are registered as a resident of The Netherlands, you are no longer permitted to drive a foreign registered vehicle on Dutch roads. The Netherlands has an import tax on vehicles being brought into the country, known as BPM (Belasting van Personenauto’s en Motorrijwielen), or the private motor vehicle and motorcycle tax. As such, you are considered to be evading these taxes by driving a foreign registered vehicle, and will therefore be liable for hefty fines.

For those coming to The Netherlands, your options are therefore to account for your import taxes (and additional duties if the car is from outside the EU) and have your car re-registered in The Netherlands, or to purchase a replacement vehicle on arrival. Either way, you will be subject to the Dutch road taxes scheme (motorrijtuigenbelasting).

Road taxes

In general, road taxes for personal (non work) cars are based on 1) The weight of your vehicle; 2) The fuel type of your vehicle; 3) The province in which you live. To determine the applicable road taxes in your province, the tax office (Belastingdienst) provides the helpful tool.

Environmental incentives 

Until the end of 2013 cars with the following emissions are not liable for road tax:

– ≤95 grams per kilometer for Diesel cars

– ≤110 grams per kilometer for petrol cars

Driving licences

As an expat you are allowed to continue using your local driving licence provided of course it is still valid AND it is from an EU country, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), The Netherlands Antilles or Aruba. If your driving licence is from outside these areas, you may continue to use your valid licence for up to 185 days after you become a Dutch resident. After this time, your licence must be exchanged for a Dutch licence.

You are also permitted to exchange your driving licence for a Dutch version if your original licence was issued by an EU country, the EFTA, The Netherlands Antilles or Aruba. There are also exceptions which can be seen on the following link to the RDW; the vehicle registration and driving licence body in The Netherlands.

Dutch Umbrella Company wrote a blog about using and exchanging your foreign driving licence in the Netherlands and where you need to think about. You can read it here.

What’s in focus?

  • Foreign registered vehicles may not be driven by Dutch residents whilst in The Netherlands;
  • It is possible to import a foreign vehicle, although taxes and duties may apply;
  • You may use your internationally accepted foreign driving licence in The Netherlands;
  • In certain circumstances, these licences must however be converted to a Dutch licence within 185 days of registration in The Netherlands;
  • Driving licences issued by other EU countries and a number of additional areas can be converted to a Dutch licence without having to pass the Dutch driving tests.

Question for our Expat Desk?