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Step-by-step plan to start as a truck driver

This information is provided by:CBRCBRNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNederlandse versie

What do you need to do when you start as an independent truck driver? Read here which steps you have to take. And which rules apply to you.

1. Register your business at KVK

You must register your business in the Business Register of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. KVK passes on your data to the Tax Administration (Belastingdienst), so you do not need to register separately at the Tax Administration. When the Tax Administration decides you are an entrepreneur for VAT purposes, you get a VAT number and a VAT ID.

2. Pass the exams for professional truck drivers

In addition to drivers’ licence C, you must have code 95 on your drivers’ licence. Without a valid code 95 you cannot drive professionally for more than 12 hours. You get the code 95 indication in your licence when you pass the initial qualification for professional drivers (in Dutch) at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR). That exam consists of 2 theoretical exams at CBR and 2 practical exams with a trainer.

Do you not have drivers’ licence C?

For a drivers’ licence C you must pass a theoretical exam and a practical exam. For drivers’ licence CE (truck with trailer) you must pass a separate practical exam.

3. Apply for a Euro licence

Are you going to transport goods commercially for others? Then you need a Euro licence (in Dutch) if you will drive vehicles with a load capacity of more than 500 kg. From 1 January 2024, this permit requirement will also apply to vehicles with a maximum authorised weight of 2,500 kg or more. You can apply for this licence at the national and international road transportation organisation (Nationale en Internationale Wegvervoer Organisatie, NIWO).

Watch the video ‘How do I apply for a Euro licence’ (in Dutch) at NIWO.nl.

To get a Euro licence, you must:

  • Be competent

When you drive a truck, you must have a certificate regarding competence(in Dutch). For this, you have to pass exams on 6 sections. You can choose where you want to train for this.

  • Have your business located in the Netherlands

Your business has to be established in the Netherlands. You can prove this with an extract from KVK.

  • Have enough equity

If you drive with your own truck, you must have enough equity. For one truck, this is €9,000. You need to prove this with a declaration from a financial expert, such as a bookkeeper. The financial expert has to be registered at industry organisations NBA, NOAB (in Dutch), or RB (in Dutch).

  • Be reliable

You can prove this with a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG). You can apply for this at your municipality.

  • Have your own truck or lease it

You must have at least one vehicle. The NIWO checks this with the RDW. You can prove this with a vehicle registration certificate (ownership) or a rental or lease agreement. Register your vehicle in the vehicle register (in Dutch) of the NIWO.

4. Pay motor vehicle tax

For trucks special rates apply for the motor vehicle tax. Usually, for a truck or articulated vehicle you pay heavy vehicle tax (Eurovignette) as well.

5. Use the correct terms and conditions for transport

For transport within the Netherlands, the general transport conditions (Algemene Vervoerscondities, AVC 2002) are usually applied. These are general terms and conditions you can use for road transportation in the Netherlands. For international transport you need a road transport waybill for each part of your load. This is an agreement between the sender and the carrier.

6. Register your driving time and rest periods

Your driving times may not be too long and you need to take breaks regularly. A tachograph registers the driving time and rest periods. For vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kg, a digital tachograph is mandatory.

To use a digital tachograph, you need a tachograph card. You can apply for that at Kiwa after getting your drivers’ licence and the code 95 indication. The tachograph registers the driving time and rest periods and these are saved on the tachograph card (in Dutch).

7. Get your vehicle checked regularly

You need to get a periodic motor vehicle test (APK) regularly at a garage or testing station that is approved by RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority). The APK obligation also applies to trailers weighing more than 3,500 kg.

Do you use a truck with a tailboard? This must be inspected annually as well. This does not happen during the APK inspection, but at a recognised testing station (in Dutch).

8. Comply with the rules for international transport and drivers

Do you drive outside the Netherlands, too? Then you need to comply with the new rules for international transport. These rules protect drivers and are meant to improve safety in traffic.

The most important ones are:

  • Rules for driving times and rest periods
    • Drivers may rest at a suitable sleeping location for their weekly rest at the expense of the employer
    • Drivers may return home at least once every 4 weeks.
    • From 31 December 2024, drivers must be able to show an overview of their driving times and rest periods of the last 56 days.
  • Location tracking with the tachograph

    Since 2 February 2022, truck drivers must register with a tachograph when they cross borders.

  • Transport within another EU country (cabotage)

    Do you pick up cargo in another EU country and do you deliver that cargo in that same country? That is considered cabotage. You can do a limited number of cabotage trips, because this competes with carriers in that country. A vehicle can do 3 cabotage trips in a row. After that, the vehicle has to leave the country. After the last cabotage trip, the vehicle cannot make cabotage trips in that country for 4 days.

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