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The Netherlands is a relatively small and densely populated country. Besides an extensive road and public transport network, bicycles are one of the main and best forms of transport, especially in the larger cities. Below you'll find out more about the Netherlands' transport infrastructure and public transport systems, as well as how to bring your own vehicle to the Netherlands.
One of the Netherlands' key transport assets is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. There are also some regional airports: Eindhoven Airport, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Maastricht Aachen Airport and Groningen Eelde Airport. The country is served by a dense and intricate network of motorways and secondary roads that offers access to international routes throughout the rest of Europe. It is also the starting point for a widely extended network of waterways for international transport throughout Europe. The Netherlands constantly upgrades its transport system and allocates substantial budgets to reducing rush-hour congestion, for instance by promoting 'The Blue Road' (transport via water).
The Netherlands has an extensive public transport system. Its rail network is modern and efficient. You can plan your trips in advance using 9292.nl or the Dutch Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS) website. Both offer free apps.
The Dutch use a contactless smart card system (OV-chipkaart) on trains, buses, metros and trams throughout the Netherlands. Paper tickets were discontinued in mid-2014. The OV-chipkaart is available at rail and bus stations, kiosks and many supermarkets. A card costs €7.50 and needs to be kept topped up to a minimum of €10. For additional information about the OV-chipkaart, please visit Dutch Railways.
Importing a vehicle
If you plan to bring your own vehicle to the Netherlands, you'll have to register it with the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (Rijksdienst voor Wegverkeer, RDW).
You'll have to register your vehicle within six months of arriving in the Netherlands, after which you'll have to pay Dutch road tax and switch to Dutch number plates. To get Dutch number plates, you'll first have to have your vehicle inspected. For more information on importing a vehicle, visit the RDW website.
If you plan to import a car or motorcycle into the Netherlands, you'll have to pay:
- Private Motor Vehicle & Motorcycle Tax (Belasting van Personenauto's en Motorrijwielen, BPM)
- VAT on the value of the car or motorcycle
- Customs duty – if importing a vehicle from outside the EU
For additional information about taxes levied on imported vehicles, please visit the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) website.