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OnderwijsInternational studentsLiving in the Netherlands

Driver's licence

Depending on the country you are from, your driver’s licence may still be valid in the Netherlands. In some cases, you can continue to use your foreign driving licence or exchange it for a Dutch driving licence. Those who are unable to exchange their licence can take a Dutch driving test at the CBR .

EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland

If your driving licence was issued in a Member State of the European Union or in Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, you can register it in the Netherlands and continue to use it until it expires. You can also choose to exchange your licence for a Dutch licence. To exchange your licence, you must report to the municipal office within one year of taking up residency in the Netherlands.

In order to exchange a foreign driving license for a Dutch driving license, you will need to meet a few conditions:

  • You are a registered resident of the Netherlands with a valid residence permit (if applicable).
  • You are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland
  • You have obtained your current driving license while being a resident of that country for at least 6 months.
  • If your current licence is expired, it may still be exchanged as long as you have a declaration from the agency in the country where the licence was issued. The declaration must state that they have no objection with you being issued a Dutch driving licence.
Vismarkt Groningen
Vismarkt Groningen

Countries from outside the EU and EEA

You may continue to use your licence for a maximum of 185 days (or 6 months) after making residence in the Netherlands, after which you must pass a CBR driving test. The CBR (National Driver’s Licence Agency; in Dutch: Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen) is responsible for administering driving tests to the public. Please note that during these 185 days you may be required to show an international driving licence. An international driving licence can be obtained at the CBR. Your embassy can give you more information about the specific cases in which an international driving licence is required.

Under certain conditions, you may exchange your foreign driving license for a Dutch license. Only licences from countries outside the EU/EFTA which the Netherlands has concluded a contract can be exchanged. More information regarding countries under this contract can be found at the Rijksdienst voor Wegverkeer (RDW). The RDW is the Netherlands Vehicle Authority that deals with the licensing of vehicles and vehicle parts as well as registration, enforcement, and the issuing of documents

Dutch procedure to obtain a driving licence

International students who are unable to exchange their driving licence will have to take a driving test at the CBR . In the Netherlands, you can obtain a driving licence after passing a theory test and a practical driving test.

The process of learning to drive and applying for a licence is as follows:

  1. First, check with your municipality if you are eligible for a driving licence
  2. Select a driving school or practical and (optional) theory lessons
  3. Request a theory exam with the CBR
  4. Complete the theory exam (auto theorie)
  5. Complete a health statement (eigen verklaring)
  6. Request a practical exam with the CBR (via your driving school)
  7. Do the practical exam (auto praktijk)
  8. Provide your certificate to your municipality to collect your driver’s licence

In the Netherlands, it is not uncommon to take the test several times before passing. CBR, the national driver licence agency, is responsible for organising and conducting driving tests.

Driving in the Netherlands

In order to drive a car in the Netherlands, you must be over 18 years, have a valid licence, third party insurance and be operating a registered vehicle. When driving in the Netherlands there are certain traffic laws and road conditions to keep in mind:

  • Lanes in the centre of many urban two-way streets are reserved for buses, trams, and taxis.
  • Drivers must yield the right-of-way to vehicles and bicyclists coming from the right at intersections or traffic circles unless otherwise posted.
  • Trams have priority on roads of equal importance. Always be aware of trams and tram lines.
Last modified:23 July 2018 1.54 p.m.