Rules for driving licences

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

To drive a car, motorcycle, truck, bus, moped, speed-pedelec (high-speed electric bicycle), or other motor vehicle in the Netherlands you need a driving licence. It depends on the vehicle which type of driving licence is required. The various types of driving licences are divided into categories.

Foreign driving licence

You can use your foreign driving licence in the Netherlands. Once you are a Dutch resident, however, you must obtain a Dutch driving licence within a certain period of time (transition period). This depends on the country where you originally got your driving licence.

Passing your driving test

To obtain your driving licence you will need to pass a driving theory test and driving practical test at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR). If you apply for a driving licence, a fee is charged. This fee can vary per municipality.

Driving exam car

The minimum age to take a driving exam for a car is 17 years. After passing the exam, you are only allowed to drive with a guardian, until you are 18.

Driving exam bus

The minimum age to do a driving exam for a bus is 18 years. You also need a code 95 driver qualification card.

Exemption for small electric trucks

Do you drive an electric vehicle that weighs more than 3,500 kg but no more than 4,250 kg, such as a van or a small truck? A temporary exemption allows you to drive this vehicle with a regular driving licence (category B). This exemption expires on 1 July 2025. From then on, you need at least driving licence for light goods vehicles (category C1) to continue to drive this vehicle.

Staying qualified

Everybody who first passes their driving test gets issued a beginner's licence. Depending on your age, this is valid for 5-7 years. A system of penalty points applies to holders of a beginner's licence: points are given for traffic offenses. If you have 2 or more penalty points, you lose your licence. The CBR will then reassess your ability to drive. You may permanently lose your licence.

Health conditions and driving

If you, because of a health condition, have to show you are medically fit to drive a vehicle, a medical examination is not always necessary. CBR may request your doctor for information regarding your health condition.

Training for bus and lorry drivers

Are you a professional lorry or bus driver? You must do 35 hours of periodic training (in Dutch) every 5 years to retain your code 95 driver qualification card. The training should include at least 7 hours of practical schooling. When renewing your licence, you need to complete a declaration of good health each time.

Tractor driving licence

You need a T-driving licence (Tractor driving licence) for driving with low-speed agricultural tractors and forestry vehicles on a public road. If you have a tractor driving certificate for youths or a regular driving licence (category B) issued before 1 July 2015, you do not need a separate T-driving licence. It will be added automatically to your driving licence upon renewal. For driving with low-speed vehicles such as small street sweepers and mowing machines, you will not need a T-driving licence.

Forklift truck

You need a T-driving licence to drive a forklift truck that is more than 1.3 meter wide or is pulling a trailer. With regard to all other forklift trucks, employers must be able to demonstrate that the driver has sufficient abilities to operate it. They can do this with a CBR safety certificate or certificate of professional competence for forklift or reach truck drivers.