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My girlfriend lives in Amsterdam and I live in Spain. I own a 1989 Ford Escort which has all the documents and inspections passed in Spain.

I am planning to stay with her for a month while I look for a job in the EU. Is it allowed for me to drive an old vehicle (28 years) in the Netherlands?

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    Not your question but you might find that parking and generally going around with a car in Amsterdam is a royal pain in the bottom. – Relaxed Aug 22 '17 at 12:49
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    On the other hand, with a 28 year old car, getting some scratches on your car from careless bikers isn't your chief concern. – MSalters Aug 23 '17 at 13:02
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As long as you still live in Spain, you should be allowed to drive a car registered in Spain in the Netherlands without any special formality. Note that two cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam and Utrecht, have special rules banning cars like yours from the city centre (cf. official information regarding Rotterdam, Utrecht only bans old cars with a diesel engine). Amsterdam also has restrictions but only for lorries and delivery vehicles.

Theoretically, if you gave up your place in Spain and moved with your girlfriend with an eye towards living permanently in the Netherlands, you might be required to register as a resident and that could have a number of consequences (taxes, health insurance, car registration and insurance, driving license, etc., etc., etc.) But as long as you don't need to start working or open a bank account and only stay for a few weeks during the summer, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

In practice, I was even able to get a resident's parking permit for a car with foreign number plates for almost a year (close to the maximum time allowed before registering it in the Netherlands at the time).

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  • The driving licence should not be influenced at all. It doesn't matter in which EU country you got it. But in order to move a car to another country, your car has to comply with the other country's regulations. I've helped someone move a car from France to Germany, and we had to get a full Dekra assessment in order for the KFZ-Zulassungsstelle to produce the full car papers (Fahrzeugbrief*/_Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil 1_), which was costly and took some time. The biggest hurdle was getting the French plates off, though. – simbabque Aug 22 '17 at 13:21
  • @simbabque That's not true, different EU countries have different validity duration for their driving licenses and can require you to exchange it under certain conditions (you should be able to find details or ask on expatriates as it's more relevant there). On the other hand, there are no separate national “regulations” on which vehicle are allowed, just a cumbersome process to prove it satisfies EU regulations (that's what the type-approval certificate is about) and local roadworthiness standards. And Dekra is just one company providing tests. All this is already covered by the answer. – Relaxed Aug 22 '17 at 14:49
  • A licence probably won't be the problem for moving permanently, insurance will be. The car will still be registered in Spain and most insurance policies require that the car not be outside the country for more than a certain number of days per year. – Niall Aug 23 '17 at 14:16
  • @Niall I am not sure I see how that's relevant. If you move permanently, you have to register your car in France within a month so if you care about doing things above board, the car will not be registered in Spain and this requirement doesn't matter. And if you don't care about legality, then… – Relaxed Aug 23 '17 at 14:50
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    @Niall Sorry, I got a little confused, I thought this was a comment on another answer I wrote recently regarding France and there the rule is one month. But in general car insurance, registration and driving license are all things you might have to worry about and I already listed them in the answer. – Relaxed Aug 23 '17 at 15:09

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