The Netherlands is an easy country to navigate thanks to its well-maintained roads and the short distances between cities and sightseeing destinations. While the road rules across much of Europe are relatively standardized you should brush up on the individual countries to avoid fines and offenses. Here we will cover important rules and regulations to observe and give you some navigation and sightseeing tips for your car rental vacation in the Netherlands.
General Rules and Regulations
- Drivers must give way to vehicles and bicycles at “STOP” signs, at a line of white triangles and when the intersection is marked with “priority road ahead”.
- Drivers must yield to traffic coming from the right at intersections and roundabouts, even when not signposted. This includes bicycles, slow-moving vehicles, and mopeds or scooters.
- Buses have right of way at bus stops in urban areas and you must allow them to leave the curb when signaling.
- Vehicles on paved roads have priority over vehicles turning from unpaved roads such as dirt tracks.
- Drivers should always yield the right of way to buses that are indicating and re-entering traffic.
- The driver and all passengers must wear a seat belt while children under 1.35 meters (4’5″) must be in the rear seats.
- Drivers can be charged for aggressive driving if they make any dangerous actions that put another driver, or pedestrian, in danger.
- The blood alcohol limit is just 50 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood. For drivers under 24 or those who have been driving for less than 5 years, this is reduced to 20 mg.
Speed Limits in the Netherlands
Like in much of Europe, speed limits in the Netherlands are posted in kilometers. The maximum speed limit on motorways can vary but generally stays within the range below.
|Within city limits||50 km/h (31 mph)|
|Highways outside city limits||80 km/h (50 mph)|
|Motorways||100-130 km/h (62-81 mph)|
Overtaking, Turning and Parking
- In slow-moving traffic, drivers may overtake on the right but only when it does not obstruct the flow of traffic.
- You must not overtake at a pedestrian crossing.
- You must not park or wait on a yellow line, on bike paths or footpaths, or on a railway crossing.
- You must not park or wait within 5 meters of a pedestrian or bicycle crossing, intersection or within 12 meters of a bus stop.
- Parking discs must be used when you see the sign “parkeerschijf” and parking can be restricted at different times.
- You must not park on carriageways of priority roads, on dotted yellow lines, when you would obscure road signs or traffic lights, or in front of driveways.
- There are usually parking spaces for disabled drivers. Disabled drivers can also park in residential areas outside of the marked areas as long as you do not obstruct traffic.
Driver’s License Requirements
Driver’s licenses from other countries can be used in the Netherlands for up to 6 months before you need to apply for a Dutch license. The U.S. Embassy recommends that you get an International Drivers Permit when planning to drive in the Netherlands. At SIXT this is only required as a translation for non-Roman alphabet licenses.
The Netherlands does not generally charge tolls but there are two tunnels on major routes that do require a small toll charge: the Kiltunnel and the Westerscheldetunnel.
Car Rental with SIXT in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, we have 5 locations in the capital city of Amsterdam as well as many more locations in major cities across the country. With SIXT you will be well connected wherever you land. The Netherlands’ towns and cities provide visitors with a fascinating mix of traditional and cutting edge architecture. Thanks to its compact size, it’s easy to incorporate sights such as Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam with a visit to somewhere classicly Dutch like the Kinderdijk Windmills.
Though the Netherlands is mostly very flat, it still provides great outdoor leisure activities thanks to its many bike routes and famously scenic waterways. We highly recommend trips to the sand dunes of Hoge Veluwe National Park, the serene Keukenhof Gardens and if time permits you can take a ferry trip out to the Wadden Islands in the North Sea.