What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driving Licence (IDL)?
An International Driver’s Permit is a legally accepted translation of your driver’s license and is accepted by 141 countries worldwide. Depending on what international motor traffic convention a country was contracted to, an IDP can be used for 1 or 3 years. An international driving permit is a grey booklet with white pages slightly bigger than a passport. It will contain translations of your driving license in more than ten languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. An IDP cannot be used in the country it has been issued.
An International Driver’s License is not a legally acknowledged document; however, it is a translation of your license that can come in handy. Ensure that the country you are going to does not require an official IDP to drive in it.
How do you apply for an IDP in the Netherlands?
You can apply for an IDP on our website now.
How long does it take to get an IDP in the NetherlandsIDP?
A digital IDP takes up to 2 hours to land in your email. However, we will process your application within 20 minutes if you choose the Express Order option. A printed IDP will be delivered to your preferred address. The estimated delivery date will vary based on your chosen delivery method (approximately 2 to 30 working days).
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
The United Nations has authorized institutions in contracting countries to issue authentic international driver’s permits. There have been three international motor traffic conventions in Paris (1929), Geneva (1949), and Vienna (1968). Many countries were contracted to honor IDPs as valid documents in each convention.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in the Netherlands
Functionality as an ID
Suppose you do not want to carry your passport or national ID when traveling abroad for security reasons. In that case, you can use your international driver’s permit as an identification document instead. It can also be helpful if your identification documents are in a language that is not internationally recognized.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Although some countries are willing to allow the use of a foreign driver’s license for driving for a period, an IDP can still be useful. Law enforcement authorities will have trouble deciphering your driver’s license information if it is not in an internationally recognized language. An international driver’s permit will allow police officers to quickly note down your particulars and send you on your way.
Car rental companies
You may need an IDP when renting a vehicle in those countries. Car rental agencies will recognize an IDP over your driver’s license as an IDP is recognized by the United Nations. You can save valuable vacation time when renting a car by carrying an international driver’s permit.
Laws requiring an IDP
As the Netherlands was contracted to the Geneva and Vienna Motor Traffic Conventions in 1949 and 1968, it recognizes international driver’s permits for 1 year.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in the Netherlands
Short-term visitors vs. residents
You are considered a resident if registered with a local municipality in the Netherlands. Suppose you received your foreign driving license while being a resident of the Netherlands. In that case, you cannot drive in the Netherlands with it, and you will have to exchange your valid driver’s license for a Dutch driver’s license. Residents can use driving licenses issued by a country in the EU or EFTA for 15 or 5 years from the date of its issue, depending on the vehicle category with an IDP. Irrespective of the date of issue, you may use a driving license issued by a country in the EU or EFTA for two years from the date of the registry at a municipality. Residents can use their foreign driving license issued outside the EU or EFTA for 185 days.
The Netherlands does not limit the recognition period for a foreign driving license used by a tourist. The regulation of this type of international driver is conducted through the issue of Dutch visas.
How long can I drive with a foreign driving license?
Tourists can use their foreign driver’s license for as long as they are in the Netherlands and generally have to use an IDP.
There are limitations to foreign driving license use once you become a resident of the Netherlands. Suppose the country that issued your driving license is the EU or EFTA. In that case, driving licenses of most categories can be used for 15 years from the date of issue. Your driving license will be valid for five years if it is in a particular category, such as heavy vehicles. If your driving license is still valid when you register as a Dutch resident, you can use it for at least two years after the registration date.
Dutch residents with driver’s licenses issued by a country outside of the EU and EFTA can use their driving licenses for 185 days from registering as a resident.
When should I get a Dutch Driver’s Licence?
The Dutch licensing system is systematic, and its traffic law enforcement authorities have been well trained on its driving license regulations. You should consider registering as a Dutch resident and getting a Dutch driving license if you have business or personal matters that will keep you in the Netherlands for an extended period.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s Licence While in the Netherlands
Renewing your International Driving Permit
You can renew your IDP on our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
When driving in most countries, you must have a valid international driver’s permit and driving license. You need to contact the government department that initially issued your license to renew it if it expires while you are abroad. Some countries offer online services to expatriates to reduce the hassle. However, if your country requires a medical report or a vision test, you might have to go back to your home country for the renewal.
Car Rental in the Netherlands
Requirements for car rental
The minimum age for renting a car in the Netherlands is 19 though most car rental agencies require you to be 21. Rental companies will need you to be 25 and have had your license for three years for faster and heavier vehicles. Some rental companies will have a surcharge for international drivers below 25. Most rental companies will require the driver’s license to be printed in the Roman alphabet or have an accompanying international driver’s permit. Almost all car rental companies will need the payment method with a credit card in the driver’s name.
Deposit and costs
When renting a car in the Netherlands, you must deposit €200 to €1,000. A four-door sedan will cost around €35 to €70 daily, and a week’s rental will cost you about €350. Luxury and sports cars will cost you considerably more, and additional features such as a GPS will have a daily surcharge.
You must have 3rd party insurance cover when driving on Dutch roads. Third-party insurance covers damage to people, animals, and property, but not to the driver of the vehicle he is driving. Dutch car rental companies usually provide 3rd party and fire insurance on the rental charge. Before starting your trip, you should get a theft and collision damage waiver (CDW) cover. You will not have to worry about any excess payments if you get a super collision damage waiver (SCDW), as it covers all expenses in case of an accident.
The crime rate in the Netherlands is low compared to other developed countries and European states. It’s always advisable to get travel insurance when traveling. You can look over the following points to keep in mind when getting travel insurance:
- The insurance cover should include medical expenses during hospital stays.
- It should cover costs incurred due to cancellations and lost deposits if there is more than one stop in your trip.
- Expenses incurred due to damaged or lost baggage should be reimbursed.
- The insurance cover should include excess payment liability not covered by the rental car insurance during an accident.
- The cover should consist of expenses incurred due to emergency dental surgery.
- It should cover the costs of a funeral while abroad.
Driving and Safety in the Netherlands
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
You may download a copy of the Dutch driver’s handbook (The Highway Code) at its official government portal https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/assets/customsites/study-abroad-exchange-students/road_traffic_signs_and_regulations_jan_2013_uk.pdf. You may get a printout of these rules to get an overview or buy a handbook from a bookstore in any metropolitan area. You will be given a copy of the highway code if you enroll in a Dutch driving school.
Some tips to remember are:
- You drive on the right-hand side of the road
- The minimum age for driving unsupervised on Dutch roads is 18
- The driver and passengers of a car are required to wear seatbelts
- Passengers under 135 cm must be in a child seat at the rear
- Riders of motorcycles and scooters should wear helmets.
- Drivers should use dipped headlights when there is poor visibility (misty, foggy, or precipitation).
- You may only use your horn if in danger in built-up and urban areas
- You may not park by yellow and black curbs in Dutch metropolitan areas.
- The speed limit is 50 km/h in built-up and urban areas, 80 km/h outside of built-up areas, and 100 km/h (63 mph) on expressways
- You can only have an alcohol concentration of 50 mg per 100 ml of blood when driving on Dutch roads
Top 3 Places to Visit in the Netherlands
Amsterdam is known to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and it has a lot of places to explore that have historical significance. Amsterdam is also a center for exciting nightlife, with a great range of restaurants, bars, and clubs. You should visit The Anne Frank House, Bloemenmarkt, Vondelpark, the Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum on your visit. You can catch the ferry to Amsterdam North, take the canal cruise or visit Amsterdam’s extensive shopping district to explore this bustling metropolis.
Delft is a town that is renowned for its intriguing artworks. It has an extensive water canal system with many museums littering its historic canals and roadways. You should visit downtown Delft to get immersed in its artsy culture. You can buy some Delft pottery and visit the birthplace of the famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Make sure you visit The Old Canal (Oude Delft), The Lambert Van Meerten Museum, The Vermeer Delft Museum, the Delft City Hall, the Prince’s Court, and Prinsenhof Museum on your visit. You can climb the bell tower in the New Church for beautiful views spanning miles in every direction.
Rotterdam is a vacation destination for couples and families alike, and it has rich architecture and historical attractions to keep everyone interested in your trip. You should make sure you visit Rotterdam Central Station, The Euromast Tower, De Markthal, Rotterdam Zoo, and Climbing Park Fun Forest on your visit. You can also participate in workshops and tastings at the Fenix Food Factory and explore the city through the guided Rotterdam Boat Tour.
Am I required to have an International Driving Permit in the Netherlands?
While some countries will accept a foreign license for a while, many will require you to have an IDP.
How long will my international driving permit be valid in the Netherlands?
As the Netherlands was contracted to the Geneva and Vienna Motor Traffic Conventions in 1949 and 1968, you may use your IDP for 1 or 3 years.
How long will transferring my license to a Dutch one take?
You can expect to exchange your driving license for a Dutch one within a month.
On which side do you drive in the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands, vehicles drive on the right side of the road.