Transport of dangerous goods by road

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

Do you transport dangerous goods by road in the Netherlands? These hazardous goods are dangerous to humans, animals, and the environment, such as explosives, toxins, or carcinogens. You must comply with a number of Dutch laws to transport these goods. These laws are based on the European Agreement on the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (Europese overeenkomst voor het vervoer van gevaarlijke stoffen over de weg, ADR).

The ADR contains safety regulations for the dispatcher, the addressee, the loader, the packer, the haulier, and the filler.

As a haulier you must:

  • check if the shipment complies with the ADR
  • check if the right documents accompany the load
  • make sure the vehicle and the way the goods are loaded comply with the rules
  • make sure the goods are properly secured, so they cannot slide or get damaged

You are also responsible for transporting, loading, and unloading the dangerous goods.

Obligatory route for transporting dangerous goods

In the Netherlands, municipalities and provinces can appoint a route that you must follow to transport certain dangerous goods. This is called route obligation (in Dutch). This means that municipalities may appoint routes within their municipal boundaries with traffic signs for the transport of dangerous goods. Provinces must appoint a road network for the transit of all dangerous goods through the province on roads under their control.


There are some additional rules in the Netherlands to protect people near transport routes. These rules are drawn up in Basisnet (in Dutch), a Dutch system to establish safe transportation of dangerous goods via rail, road, and water.

Basisnet sets risk caps for dangerous goods that can be transported on public roads, railways, and waterways (in Dutch). It also prescribes the maximum risk allowed for people who live and work near the route. If the risk is high, the trajectory should not run close to houses, hospitals, schools, or care homes.


Some tunnels have restrictions for the transport of dangerous goods. Tunnels are divided in 5 safety categories. Which dangerous goods are allowed to pass, depends on the tunnel's safety category (in Dutch). There are no restrictions for Category A tunnels. For categories B to D there are increasing limitations on the type and quantity of dangerous goods that can pass. There is a ban on transporting almost all dangerous goods through Category E tunnels.

Exemption from prohibition on transport

In certain weather conditions, such as icy roads or dense fog, you are prohibited from transporting dangerous goods. You can obtain an exemption from this prohibition if these circumstances are persistent, and if you can prove the transport is urgent. You can obtain this exemption from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport, ILT).


In some areas, you are not allowed to park vehicles loaded with dangerous goods. For example, you are not allowed to park in residential areas. Municipalities may have allocated parking spaces for trucks carrying dangerous goods in their General Municipal By-Law (APV).


The vehicle should be equipped with the right tools to handle an incident. Among others, there should be a fire extinguisher and personal protection equipment on board.

Soot filters

The ADR describes the requirements for exhaust pipe guard and safety of electrical components. If you are going to install a soot filter in a vehicle that transports dangerous goods, please note that the vehicle must still meet these requirements.

ADR certificate for drivers

You need an ADR certificate of professional competence to transport dangerous goods. You can apply for one at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR, in Dutch).

ADR instruction cards

Drivers who transport dangerous goods must carry an ADR instruction in writing, called a hazard card. This card provides information on the danger posed by the substances, the precautionary measures to be taken, and the tools and personal protective equipment that must be present.

Drivers must understand the written instructions and be able to take the right course of action. You can download ADR instructions in different languages from the UNECE website. If you transport a small load of dangerous goods according to the ADR, you do not have to carry the ADR instructions.

Recognition placards

The rules on the labelling of dangerous goods are laid down in the ADR. In addition, every vehicle transporting such substances, must show the orange recognition placards with the right hazard identification numbers (Kemler codes).

Inspections of vehicles carrying dangerous goods

In some cases, vehicles intended for carrying dangerous goods (in Dutch) must undergo a periodic inspection in addition to the periodic motor vehicle test (APK). The inspections depend on the type of vehicle and are carried out by a testing station run by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW). After the inspection, you will receive an inspection certificate. The driver must carry this certificate in the vehicle during the transport.

Transport safety advisor for dangerous goods

Do you dispatch, transport, load, unload, or temporarily store dangerous goods? You will often need to employ a safety advisor. However, in some cases you may be exempt from this requirement, or you may instead hire an external safety advisor. Safety advisors for dangerous goods have for instance the following tasks:

  • advise the company on the transport of dangerous goods
  • supervise compliance with the rules
  • take measures to prevent accidents

A safety advisor must have a safety advisor certificate that is issued by the CCV department at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen, CBR).

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