Environmental zones against car pollution

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

With an environmental zone (low emission zone), Dutch municipalities can exclude particular types of cars, vans, and trucks from specific areas. The goal is to improve local air quality. All municipalities with an environmental zone use the same traffic sign (in Dutch) to indicate the boundaries of the zone and the permitted emission class.

Rules for cars, vans, and trucks

Environmental zones apply to diesel-powered vehicles. Vehicles using a fuel other than diesel are allowed in all environmental zones. Your vehicle’s emission standard determines in which environmental zone you are allowed to drive.

  • Yellow zone: applies to diesel powered cars and vans. Only cars and vans with an emission rate of 3 and higher are allowed.
  • Green zone: applies to diesel powered cars and vans. Only cars and vans with an emission rate of 4 and higher are allowed.
  • Purple zone: applies to diesel powered trucks and coaches. Only diesel trucks, buses, and coaches with an emission rate of 6 are allowed.

From 1 January 2025 municipalities may introduce zero-emission zones for vans and trucks.

Registration number check

If your van or truck meets the emission standards, you may enter the environmental zone. Use the Dutch Environmental Zones Expert Centre's registration number check (in Dutch) or tables to find out if you are allowed to do so with your vehicle. Alternatively, you can consult the Urban Access Regulations in Europe website.

Exemptions and waivers

If your vehicle does not meet the local emission standards, you can apply for an exemption to the relevant municipality (in Dutch). The municipality may charge costs for local exemptions.

In specific cases you can be exempt for the entire country (in Dutch). For example, if your vehicle is 40 years or older. Such an exemption is awarded automatically.

Funfair vehicles, circus vehicles, and 4 axle tractors automatically receive a waiver. Removal vans and trucks with a heavy loading crane need to apply for a waiver (in Dutch). Extra rules also apply for exceptional transport (in Dutch).