Driving in The Netherlands is one of the easiest ways of transport. The country is quite small so you can discover a lot of cities just by driving through. Did you know that The Netherlands only has two toll roads: de Westerscheldetunnel and Dordse Kil.
Driving in the Netherlands is not like driving in UK. First of all you have to drive on the right side of the road. The second thing that is important to know is that the alcohol limit is 0.05% and penalties by the police can be severe. Everywhere in the county they have police surveillance for driving too fast. Don’t drive to fast or call when you are in the car. You can only call handsfree. Even eating in the car is forbidden in the Netherlands. Always wear your safety belt in the front and in the back. Kids smaller than 1.36 m and under 18 have to be seated in a car seat for kids.
The speed limit on the highway is between 100 and 130 km / hour. On national roads the maximum limit is 80 km / hour and in cities you can only drive 30 – 50 km / hour.
Be aware of the priority from the right rule. In some streets you have to give priority to the car that is coming from a street at your right. You also need to be extra careful at roundabouts. Whoever is at the roundabout first has priority. You can drive with your driving licence in the Netherlands but When it is expired you need to change it to a Dutch driving license. Also when your licence is over 15 years old you need to change it.
Documents you MUST carry:
- Insurance certificate – obligatory at least for third party
- Driving licence, the original not a copie
- Vehicle registration documents
- APK inspection certificate of the car
Equipment you MUST carry:
- Headlamp adjuster
In a lot of countries it is mandatory to carry a safety vest, a warning triangle, first aid kit and a Fire extinguisher but this isn’t the case in the Netherlands. However it is still safer to have this objects in your car.
Not mandatory but it could spare you from a fine; extra lamps.
- Radar detector
- Even a GPS that can tell the location of the speed camera is forbidden
Public transportation in The Netherlands
Holland has excellent public transport; they have a swipe card system for metro, bus and tram. You can buy anonymous cards from chipkaart machines or personal, bought online or by post with a photo. They can load automatically from your bank and you are eligible for automatic discounts. You simply swipe your card at the start and end of your journey. For details go to www.ov-chipkaart.nl
The trains also offer discounted tickets – ask at the desk but pay at the machines to save money.
Taxis are expensive and not permitted to pick up people on the street. You need to reserve your taxi at a taxi stand, look for the ‘standplaats taxis’ sign. There is also a special service to and from Schiphol airport that offers fixed rates and must be booked in advance
You may find this trip planner website useful – there is an English section. www.9292ov.nl It will provide a door to door travel plan.
But the most used way of transportation in Holland is the bike. In every major city there a more bikes than people. If you want to blend in you need to ride a bike.
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