How to get a driving license in the Netherlands

How to get a driving license in the Netherlands

Getting a driver’s license in the Netherlands is very important after registering in the Netherlands. If you already have a driver’s license (that is not from the EU), you need to obtain a Dutch driver’s license. After registering yourself in the Netherlands, your foreign driver’s license is only valid for 185 days. As a matter of fact, here are a few easy and simple ways to get a driver’s license in this country!

There are several kinds of driving licenses you can pick from:

Driving License A

  • Motorcycles

Driving License B 

  • Automobiles

There are two main driving organizations that are responsible for issuing driving licenses as well as conducting driving tests:

RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer) – Road Transportation Authority

The RDW government agency issues driving licences, supervises registration such as licence plates and monitors the technical condition of motor vehicles.

CBR (Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheid) – Central Office of Driving Certification

The CBR is responsible for conducting driving exams in the Netherlands for all motor vehicles including cars, scooters, motorbikes and trucks.

The process for learning to drive and applying for a licence is as follows:

  • First, check with your municipality if you are eligible for a driving licence.
  • Select a driving school for practical and (optional) theory lessons.
  • Request a theory exam with the CBR (available in English).
  • Do the theory exam (auto theorie).
  • Complete a health statement (eigen verklaring).
  • Request a practical exam with the CBR (via your driving school).
  • Do the practical exam (auto praktijk).
  • Provide your certificate to your municipality to collect your driver’s licence.

Driving theory exam

Driving theory tests are administered in Dutch and English (which is slightly more expensive) at 20 driving theory examination centres all over the Netherlands. The test takes 45 minutes and questions are asked concerning hazard recognition (25 questions), traffic rules (30 questions) and understanding of traffic (10 questions). You need to be at least 16 years of age to take this test and you will need to pass it in order to take a practical test.

You can take a course in the theory at a driving school, although this is not mandatory. Or you can study the theory yourself with a theory book, available from (online) bookstores, your driving school and publishers of traffic resources. It is also possible to take a course online and there are several websites that offer courses.


Driving practical exam

The practical examination takes 55 minutes at one of the practical exam centres across the Netherlands. Only driving schools are able to book you in for a practical exam, so you will need to find a suitable driving school and arrange it with them.

The exam can be conducted in any language, and your driving school should be able to help you if you need an interpreter. You must take this test within 18 months after passing your theory test and you need to be at least 17 years old.

Driving as a 17-year-old

Even though you need to be at least 18 years old to drive in the Netherlands, there are quite a few exceptions to let 17 year olds drive as well.

  • If you already have a driving license at 17 years old, you can drive accompanied by an adult
  • The adult who is accompanying you must officially be registered as an ‘accompanier’ or ‘begeleider’ in Dutch
  • The young driver should drive with his or her driver’s license as well as its issued special license, called a begeleiderspas (this pass is the ‘accompanier’s document’, and it will have the name of the young driver’s approved ‘accompaniers’
  • Both of these documents must always be carried while driving

For more information, you can look at the following website: https://www.iamexpat.nl/expat-info/official-issues/driving-licence-netherlands

In the link , you can find the driving schools available in your city:

Written by: Chiara