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In the Netherlands, there are roads with a green stripe in the middle. Here an example from Google Street View:

Road with a green stripe

Both times I was driving on such a road there was an autoweg (expressway) sign at the beginning of that section allowing to drive at 100 km/h.

Does this green stripe always mark an autoweg, e.g. can I be sure that if there is a green stripe, then it is allowed to drive 100 km/h?

  • 1
    As a Dutch person I just wanted to say that I have seen this kind of marking only in the far north of the country (Friesland IIRC). In the rest of the country it simply seems not to be used. – Hennes Oct 8 '18 at 16:08
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    As an American I can scarcely believe "far north of the country" is a distinction when it comes to lane markings. Imagine either of us driving to Georgia, and the lane markings never changing. That's my normal. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 8 '18 at 16:37
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    @Hennes Not true. I've seen this in multiple places in lower provinces as well. – Mast Oct 8 '18 at 17:14
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    @Hennes They are also present in other provinces, at least in Overijssel and Gelderland, on the N320 near Culemborg for example. – RHA Oct 8 '18 at 17:17
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    @Harper You haven't traveled then. I've noticed enough road marking variations in the US. Example: Some states like have the dotted white lines to warn you that the lane is exit only while New York does a line-dash, and some states do nothing at all. – user71659 Oct 9 '18 at 2:34
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Apparently, normally yes, if there is also a continuous line on the outsides of the roadway.

The green area is called a Optische middenberm, which means optical central verge. When I learned driving I was taught it had no other function, but that appears to be untrue (either I remember wrongly, or I was misinformed, or it has changed; I obtained my license in January 2007 and moved out of the country 8 months later). According to Rijkswaterstaat, which is the official road authority in The Netherlands:

De groene kleur tussen twee doorgetrokken strepen geeft aan welke snelheid er gereden mag worden. Bij een dubbele doorgetrokken streep met een groen vlak ertussen, is de maximumsnelheid 100 kilometer per uur, mits [sic] anders aangegeven.

Which means:

The green colour between two continuous lines indicates what speed is permitted. In case there is a double continuous line with a green area in between, the maximum speed is 100 kilometres per hour, if [sic] otherwise indicated.

NB: the use of mits (if) is incorrect, and should be tenzij (unless).

It goes on to note:

Op wegen waar 100 gereden mag worden is de lijn aan de buitenkant van de rijbaan doorgetrokken, op wegen waar maximaal 80 gereden mag worden is de buitenste lijn onderbroken.

which means:

On roads where driving 100 [km/h] is permitted, the line at the outside of the roadway is continuous, on roads where the speed limit is 80 km/h the outer line is interrupted.

So: yes, the green area between two continuous white lines does mean the speed limit is 100 km/h, if there are also continuous lines on the outside. This applies if nothing else is indicated, any locally posted speed limit (permanent or temporary) is still binding (naturally).

Note that it is called a autoweg and not a snelweg. A snelweg is a motorway/freeway with at least two lanes in each direction, fully segregated roadways, speed limits up to 120 km/h or recently 130 km/h, no at-grade intersections, and some other limitations not applying to autoweg. And just as a reminder: both autoweg and snelweg can have locally posted speed limits, either permanently or temporarily, that the posted speed limit remains the legal limit, regardless of what lines are drawn on the road.

(NB: I deleted my previous, incorrect answer to this question)

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    I presume the same applies if the center lines are interrupted (as f.e. on N361), right? Good to know about the outside line! – Neusser Oct 8 '18 at 10:00
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    @Neusser This is an autoweg where passing is allowed. (Intuition is confirmed by Wikpedia: nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wegmarkering) – Dennis Jaheruddin Oct 8 '18 at 11:56
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    @Neusser yes, but as can be seen by ratio line vs interruptions, overtaking is highly discouraged. – JAD Oct 8 '18 at 11:59
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    @Neusser Correct. For speed, the colour of the inside lines matters and the shape of the outside lines. For overtaking, the shape of the inside lines matters. The problem is that those rules are decided on a national level, while the roads are maintained by the two lower jurisdiction levels (provincie/province and gemeente/muncipality), who get some freedom on how to implement them. Sometimes it makes no sense. There was a town that put up a green sign for speed because "nature" or something a few years back. See also: See also: anwb.nl/verkeer/veiligheid/strepen-op-de-weg – Belle-Sophie Oct 8 '18 at 12:42
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    Argh, this confusion of mits and tenzij is an epidemic. To see it in official Rijkswaterstaat text... horrible. – RemcoGerlich Oct 8 '18 at 14:15
0

gerrit's answer is correct regarding the green zone, but there appears to be some confusion regarding what the other zones look like.

TL;DR: Unless signs say otherwise, the maximum speed is:

  • 130 km/h for motorways
  • 50 km/h in towns
  • 100 km/h on main roads (which are shown by the green zone and uninterupted lines on the side)
  • 80 km/h for "other roads" (those that are not of one of the above types)

First you'll have to understand that there's an order to rules, with the higher ranking rules overriding all others:

  1. Instructions by traffic wardens and police override all other rules
  2. Lights (including those that show a different speed) come just after instructions (yes, this is why you get to "ignore" lines at traffic lights)
  3. Signs (borden in Dutch - the type generally on a pole) come after instructions and lights. This is most common with roadworks on smaller roads and roads with speed limits that got adjusted temporarily or permanently after decorating.
  4. Paint (tekens in Dutch, also called signs in English, but it really refers to paint on the road). Yellow paint goes before white paint.
  5. Rules. Unless there's one of the 4 above things overriding them, the rules are always a fallback.*

*This is a bit of a generalization. Use common sense. Generally, the lowest speed counts. If the rules say your car with trailer can only go 100 km/h, you're not suddenly allowed to go 130 km/h because a sign says so.


Now, about the lines on the road and the rules regarding them.

The rules say that the maximum speed on main roads is 100 km/h, inside of towns it is 50 km/h, on motorways it is 130 km/h and on "other roads" it is 80 km/h. Signs and lines can override this.

Images courtesy of driving school Ben Verhagen.

The shape of the outer lines and the colour of the inner lines specify the speed you're allowed to go. The shape of the inner lines decides whether you're allowed to pass or not.

The green area in the middle along with an uninterupted, continuous white line on the side means the maximum speed is 100 km/h (small interupts of a few cm are to stop the paint from damaging and don't count as interuptions). Technically, these are the only lines with meaning. These make a road a "main road" with a speed limit of 100km/h. 80 km/h is the default speed for "other roads" and the 60 km/h areas require signs.

On this particular road, you're allowed to pass because the middle lines are interupted.

enter image description here

Interupted lines on the side, with any type of middle line mean the maximum speed is 80 km/h. On this particular road, you are not allowed to pass, because the middle lines are continuous. This signifies the road as an "other road", but technically all roads other than motorways, town roads and main roads are "other roads".

enter image description here

Interupted lines on just the side and no other lines means the maximum speed is (generally) 60 km/h. Technically these don't have meaning unless accompanied by a 60 sign (a 60 zone sign is okay too, it counts until you pass the "leaving 60 zone" sign), but I've never seen lines like this where I wouldn't recommend going 60 km/h anyway.

enter image description here


If there are any signs or lights that show a maximum speed, they will override what the lines say. If there are no signs and the lines follow none of these 3 examples, the maximum speed follows the rules (50 km/h in towns, 80 km/h on normal roads and 130 km/h for motorways).


Source: This booklet by Rijkswaterstaat (government) with the rules in (and I have a Dutch drivers license, so I passed the exam)

  • I have a Dutch driver's license too (well, it was changed into a German one when I moved) and I have the exam too, but from 1982, and then most of these things didn't exist yet. ;-) – Rudy Velthuis Oct 9 '18 at 15:57
  • There is a class of roads defaulting to 100kmh, rather than 80. That's where you'll most often find this marking. – jwenting Oct 10 '18 at 4:44
  • as to the last image, that road would be 80 by default unless otherwise marked. But given how curved and narrow it is it's almost certainly marked as 60. – jwenting Oct 10 '18 at 4:46
  • @jwenting That's correct. Seems I missed the 80 ones in my TL;DR. I got my license about 5 years ago, but sometimes I tutor people that want to pass the exam. – Belle-Sophie Oct 10 '18 at 13:53
  • @Belle-Sophie I've had my Dutch license for almost 25 years and the changes they sneak in in the rules and signage still trip me up at times. Especially as they're not always well publicised in advance, only mentioned in sidenotes of long dry texts in the Staatscourant (and who reads that). – jwenting Oct 11 '18 at 5:51
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The answer to the question is clearly: no, the green stripe does not always mean that you may drive 100 km/h. As others already pointed out, with dotted lines the speed limit is lower.

The question is on the wrong item. There is not so much meaning in the green stripe, as it merely serves to separate and combine the two white lines to make this combination a really really clear division between two lanes, to make sure you will not even think of crossing this line, e.g. to pass a car. And between dotted lines, usually long stripes with very small gaps, where it is obviously allowed to pass, it should discourage you from doing so if not really really necessary.

The actual speed limit is posted at the begin of the road section, and often repeated on hectometer signs, visible as small white sticks to the side of the road in the screenshot at the question. As there are many situations where it is difficult to correctly guess the speed limit, you might see such hectometer postings with values of 50, 60, 80, 100, or 120 km/h. The higher values may only be posted on hectometer posts at round km numbers.

I have never seen roads with these green stripes without a posted speed limit.

Speed limits may be different during the day and at night. So, in Holland, do not try to guess the speed limit from color clues, you might get fined. Pay a lot of attention to the posted speed signs, and try to decipher the code. E.g. "120 7-19h" means you may drive 130 km/h past 19:00 h. The sign for "autoweg" means standard 100 km/h.

More info and pictures

I am not sure if these are dotted lines. Personally, I would not think of passing here. Found on Google Maps here

enter image description here

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    Those are not "dotted" lines, that is just gaps so the paint doesn't break during temperature changes. That is an uninterupted/continues line (doorgetrokken streep). Passing is not allowed there. Passing is only allowed at an interupted one, where the interuptions are at least about long as the lines themselves, like here: 4.bp.blogspot.com/-IB2SCBS9JCo/TyT95JIde1I/AAAAAAAAA1M/… the shorter the distance between them, the more danger. – Belle-Sophie Oct 9 '18 at 13:25
  • Oh, the Traktaatweg between Zelzate and Terneuzen looks like that and has various zones with posted limits of 70. – Belle-Sophie Oct 9 '18 at 14:13
  • @Belle-Sophie The Traktaatweg has a speed limit of 100km/hr. At intersections the speed limit is temporarily lower. Look on the other side of the 70-sign! – RHA Oct 9 '18 at 14:25
  • @RHA exactly. That’s why there are signs. – Belle-Sophie Oct 9 '18 at 14:37

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