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Tips for Expats Driving in Amsterdam

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Amsterdam.
|-Tips for Expats Driving in Amsterdam

1. Consider Alternatives to Driving

Amsterdam is a city that is not particularly car-friendly. The city is compact and has an excellent public transportation system, including trams, buses, and a metro system. Cycling is also a very popular mode of transportation in Amsterdam. Therefore, many expats and locals choose not to own a car and instead rely on these other modes of transportation.

2. Limited and Expensive Parking

Parking in Amsterdam can be difficult and expensive. The city center is particularly challenging, with limited parking spaces and high fees. Some areas require a parking permit, which can have a long waiting list. It’s also worth noting that many streets in Amsterdam are narrow and can be difficult to navigate in a car.

3. Small and Fuel-Efficient Cars are Recommended

If you do decide to drive in Amsterdam, a small, fuel-efficient car is recommended. This is due to the narrow streets and the high cost of fuel in the Netherlands. Electric cars are also becoming more popular, with many charging points available throughout the city.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in the Netherlands with an international driving license for up to 185 days. After this period, you will need to obtain a Dutch driving license. If you have a driving license from an EU or EEA country, you can use it in the Netherlands for up to 15 years from the date it was issued.

5. Obtaining a Dutch Driving License

To obtain a Dutch driving license, you will need to pass a theory test and a practical driving test. The tests are conducted in Dutch, but English translations are available. You will also need to have a medical examination. It’s recommended to take some driving lessons to familiarize yourself with driving in the Netherlands before taking the tests.

6. Follow the Traffic Rules

Like any other country, the Netherlands has its own traffic rules and regulations. For example, you must always give way to cyclists and pedestrians. Speed limits are strictly enforced, and there are heavy fines for drink driving. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these rules before you start driving in Amsterdam.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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