When driving in the Netherland you should drive on the left side of the road. The road network in the Netherlands is dense and busy but in good condition. Rules and road signs are similar to those of other mainland European countries. An excellent series of highways makes Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague) and Groningen a short day trip from anywhere in The Netherlands, and there are no tolls on any of the expressways.
There is a large number of cyclists and skaters in the Netherlands and most main roads have cycle lanes; cyclists should always be in the designated lane where available. Bikes always have priority over cars.
The minimum age for driving in the Netherlands is 18 years. To rent a car, you must be at least 19 years old (age may vary by car category) and have held your license for 1 year. Drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge.
Remember to carry important documentation at all times. Carry your driving license - Dutch, EU and International Driving Licenses are accepted. Also carry your vehicle registration documents and certificate of motor insurance - Third-party insurance is compulsory. Make sure you have your passport at all times, especially if the driving license you are using does not incorporate a photograph. If you do not own the car, you must carry a letter signed by the owner stating that he has given you the permission to drive his car.
The use of seatbelts is mandatory for all passengers in the car.
Children under 12 years of age and 1.5 meters tall cannot sit in the front unless they are secured in a child safety seat that has met the standard regulations. Otherwise they must sit in the rear fastened with a seat belt. For children under 3 years of age, a proper child restraint seat must be used.
The amount of alcohol allowed in the blood is 50mg/ml. If a driver has held their license for under five years the alcohol blood limit is 29mg/ml. The drinking and driving laws in Netherlands are quite strict so be very careful - if you are caught you could face anything up to imprisonment. Drivers who cause death by driving under the influence of alcohol may be charged with up to six years in jail. Injuring someone while drunk and driving carries a sentence of up to three years.
The speed limits vary depending on where you are driving. Here are the various speed limits:
Speeding violation enforcement is extremely strict, and radar traps are frequent. If you are caught speeding you may be subject to heavy fines if charged, including heavy on-the-spot fines, your license may be withheld, or you may even get your vehicle confiscated.
Mobile cellular telephones may only be used with a hands-free system while driving in Netherlands. Even holding a mobile phone in a moving vehicle is considered an offence.
Roads that are given priority are denoted by a yellow-orange diamond shaped sign. Trams are also given priority. Cyclists have right of way and so do busses when pulling out.
You must use the horn whenever there is danger or traffic. At night you must flash your headlights instead of using the horn.
There is no obligation but a recommendation to use dipped headlights on open roads and during poor visibility.
In some places, the police in Netherland has the authority to collect fines on the spot. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.
A warning triangle, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and a visibility vest are advised though not compulsory when driving in Netherland. The use of a warning triangle in the event of an accident or if you get stuck at the side of the road is compulsory.
When parking in a blue zone you will need a time stamped parking disc. These discs, placed on the dashboard, can be obtained at motor club offices, tobacco shops and police stations.
In metered parking areas marked by a "P zone" sign, parking tickets are available from the central meter machine (usually grey or yellow) at the side of the road. The ticket must be displayed in the front window.
Failing to display a ticket or a disc may lead to the parking police putting a boot (yellow locking device) on the car and fining the driver. If the car is towed away the costs can run into hundreds of Euros. In Netherland, parking is not allowed next to black and white or yellow curbs.