Road rules in the Netherlands

When you are first taking to the Dutch roads, it is of course of vital importance to be aware of all the rules that you have to adhere to.

The road rules in the Netherlands are consistent with those of most European countries, however you can be confronted with different traffic situations when you start living and working in the Netherlands. Especially with all the bikes around, and who has right of way in different situations.

Below are the most important rules for driving in the Netherlands:

traffic sign

traffic sign

  • Drive on the right-hand side, overtake other vehicles on the left.
  • 18 is the legal minimum age to drive a car (or motorbike over 125cc).
  • 16 is the legal minimum age to drive a moped or scooter.
  • Motorcycle and trike drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.
  • It is compulsory to carry a driving licence, car registration papers and insurance documents in the car (Dutch, EU and international driving licences are accepted).
  • Mobile phones may only be used with a hands-free system while driving. Even holding a mobile in a moving vehicle is considered an offence.
  • Seatbelts are compulsory in the front and rear of the vehicle.
  • Drivers should pay particular attention to cyclists, who may ride two abreast.
  • Unless otherwise signposted, vehicles coming from the right have priority.
  • Busses have priority when pulling out.
  • Trams have priority except where signposted at major junctions.
  • Children must be travelling in an age-appropriate seat until the age of 5.
  • Children shorter than 1.35 m need to sit in a child seat.
  • You must stop for pedestrians on pedestrian crossings.
  • The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management will provide you with all the rules and signs used in the Netherlands.
  • New expats can continue to use their foreign driving licence for a certain period after they arrive in the Netherlands. The length of licence validity can vary greatly - from six months up to 15 years - depending on the country of issue.

Learn more about Road Traffic Signs and Regulations in the Netherlands from the Ministery of Infrastructure and Environment.