Driving in Netherlands

Netherlands has an excellent network of motorways, making it easy and pleasant to drive along the country. In contrast to other countries, you don’t need to pay a toll to drive on motorways. The Dutch drive a lot, especially during weekends and holidays, so the motorways may become crowded. The speed limits are 120 km/h on motorways, 100 km/h on express roads, 80 km/h outside cities and 50 km/h within the cities. Signs on the roads may enforce different speed limits, so always look for them.

The police performs many speed checks, so don’t think about speeding. It is also common for police to drive in unmarked cars on motorways to surveil traffic, and they will pull you over and fine you if you break the rules. Fines need to be paid on the spot. The tolerated alcohol limit is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood. The limit is even lower at 20 mg if you have been driving for less than five years.

The motorways are well marked, so if your destination is a bigger city, you will likely find it even without a GPS device. The other drivers will expect you follow all the traffic rules, so don’t overtake on the right, don’t use the speed lane except for overtaking and so on.

Driving in Netherlands is expensive however. You will find here one of the most expensive fuel in Europe, with a price getting close to €2 per liter. If you are coming from Belgium or Germany, it’s a good idea to fill your tank before entering Netherlands. Parking is also very expensive in big cities, with rates of €5 per hour being common. Many parking garages are available, but these are expensive too, with prices of €20 – €30 per day. You won’t find free parking in the city center, but you may find free spots in the outskirts.

You need to pay particular attention to bicycles. They are everywhere, have the right of way and bikers assume you see them and know the traffic rules. Buses have right of way when leaving a bus stop and they expect you to know this. Trams have priority too, unless the road signs say otherwise.