Rumours go that as a non-resident it is forbidden to drive a Dutch registered car in the Netherlands, with rental cars being the exception. The rumours continue that this even applies to Dutch citizens, who got their initial drivers license in the Netherlands, but now live abroad. Being an example of the latter, I am wondering how factual these rumours are.

The other way around, i.e. letting a Dutch friend drive my Belgian registered car in the Netherlands is forbidden on the grounds that it is considered tax evasion. The Netherlands has a hefty car tax called (BPM) which is easily evaded by driving a car from a neighbouring country. However, that does not apply to me driving a Dutch registered car in the Netherlands. I don't see how I would be evading taxes.

This topic is quite extensively discussed on different fora, but what is said in different posts is quite contradictory.

Does anyone know an authoritative answer on this matter.

Since I like traveling, it would be nice if the answer applies to the rest of the EU, or even the world.

  • This seems like a strange rule, and it certainly doesn't apply everywhere in the world. I wonder if it's legal in the EU to discriminate between nationality in this way (for holders of licenses from other EU countries).
    – Max
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 8:05
  • @max Since I am Dutch citizen, it hardly is discrimination on nationality and I can still drive my own car in the Netherlands.
    – user141
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 8:29
  • I meant the nationality of the license. What about truck drivers who live in Belgium and work for a Dutch company?
    – Max
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 8:34
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    It may be an insurance rule rather than a law?
    – Max
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 8:53
  • Reading the FAQ of an insurance comparison site I see two relevant points: 1) the car is insured even if someone else than the owner is driving (given that the owner allowed it, so no joy-driving, etc...). 2) If you have an international driving license you're allowed to drive in the Netherlands. So if 2) is true and 1) is true you should be able to drive in a friends car without being a Dutch resident. Best idea is though to contact the insurance company. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


This is the official page about foreign driving licenses in The Netherlands: http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/rijbewijs/vraag-en-antwoord/mag-ik-met-mijn-buitenlandse-rijbewijs-in-nederland-aan-het-verkeer-deelnemen.html

What it boils down to is this, you need a valid driving license from a EU country (and a few more) to drive a motor vehicle. The car and it's papers need to be OK of course, and it is allowed for a limited period only, if you take residency in The Netherlands you need to get an NL license at some point, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. So for the legal part you should be fine. (Note that you couldn't rent a car if this wasn't true)

There is a catch though, you need to be driving with a valid car insurance. So do check the terms on the insurance of your friends car, the might forbid him from borrowing the car to foreigners. For example OHRA specifically won't pay out when the car is borrowed to someone without a valid dutch license (see 'Randvoorwaarden'). I also checked my own insurance, they simply state the driver should legally be allowed to drive the car, no specific requirement for a Dutch license. When in doubt call the insurance company, they may also have some sort of arrangement for these kind of situations.

This is where the confusion arises, legally you are allowed to drive any car, but insurance on the car may not allow it.

Note that driving uninsured is a criminal offense, getting caught will be expensive, being involved in an accident even more so.

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    I would be really surprised if the insurance requirement for the driver to hold a Dutch driving license is not a breach of EU/EEC anti discrimination regulations. AFAIK, a driving license from any other EU/EEC country holds the same legal significance (both public and civil) as a Dutch driving license. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 11:53
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo That is not completely true. e.g. German traffic violations points can't be assigned to a non-German license, and you are obliged to exchange your foreign EU license for a local one if you change EU-country.
    – user141
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 12:00
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    @andra: That's both incorrect. German traffic violation points are assigned to a person, not a license and the person does not even have to be a German resident (StVG § 28). EU/EEC citizens are (with only a few exceptions) allowed to keep and use their foreign license even if they are permanent residents of Germany. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 12:14
  • I just wonder how they will tell the difference between a Dutchman driving a foreign car through the Netherlands and a foreigner doing that. Without following the driver to his home, I don't think you can tell the difference. And even if he was followed, it might very well be a foreigner visiting a Dutch relative.
    – Nzall
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 12:33
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    Comments are getting off-topic. AVee's answer focuses on insurance companies rules, rules which are indeed limited by the EU/EEC non-discrimination clauses. Traffic violations are a whole different branch of (EU) law.
    – MSalters
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 13:11

You can drive in Holland with a Dutch car, rental or borrowed as a foreign person. This unless you have valid drivers-license, The CAR is insured and it had his annual safety-check (APK). Just make sure you have an international driverslicense to get no problems or questions. I think it's even neccesary.

A Dutch person is not allowed to drive a foreign-registered car inside the Netherlands, cause of the tax(evading)-issue. For incidental use you can get/ask for a permission for 14 days at the Dutch tax-bureau...

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    Do you have some official refernces?
    – user141
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 10:52
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    Dutch persons ARE allowed to drive foreign registered vehicles, but there is a time limit. We used to have a house in Spain, it would be legal for us to drive our Spanish registered car to the Netherlands as long as it didn't stay in the country for more than I think it was 90 days. Yes, it's for taxation reasons. And the period gives people the time to either re-register the car on the Dutch registry or remove it from the country.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 12:36
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    @jwenting it is 14 days: belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontentnl/belastingdienst/…
    – user141
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 15:04

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