Driving Tips – The Netherlands
The Netherlands is a great place to explore by car, especially those parts not connected by public transport. But before journeying off onto the Dutch roads to admire the spectacular countryside, you will have to have a half-way decent knowledge of what it’s like to drive there. Here are some vital bits of information before setting off:
When driving in The Netherlands, it’s obligatory to carry:
- A valid driving licence (with photo or IDP)
- The vehicle registration document
- All insurance documents pertaining to the vehicle, including car rental
- You must be at least eighteen (18) years old to drive
- Children under twelve (12) years old are prohibited to sit in the front
- Children up to five (5) years old must be sat securely in an age-appropriate seat
- Children under 1.35 metres must be placed in a child seat
Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations
- You must drive on the right hand side and overtake on the left
- Right of way is given to buses pulling out
- All traffic coming from the right has right of way (including bicycles)
- Be aware of cyclists who are allowed to ride abreast
- Trams have priority except at major junctions
- Pedestrians at a crossing have right of way
- Vehicles with sirens or flashing lights always have priority
- Basically, trams, buses and cyclists have priority
Speed Limits and Fines
The following speed limits must be adhered to at all times, unless otherwise indicated:
- 50km/hour (31mph) in the city and/or built up areas
- 80km/hour (50mph) on regional roads
- 100km/hour (62mph) on national roads
- 130km/hour (81mph) on expressways
Speed limits can vary throughout the Netherlands, especially on the expressways, so the best thing to do is make sure you always check the signposts on every road. Lower speeds might also apply in some speed zones.
In the Netherlands, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 50mg/100ml. For novice drivers (those who are driving for less than five years), the limit is 20mg. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, drunk drivers are usually fined and made to attend a course.
Drivers who are discovered to have more than 130mg will have their licence revoked. This is also applicable to novice drivers with 50mg. Serious offences such as death by drunk driving can mean up to six years imprisonment.
Breath tests can be carried out by the police at any time, and are obligatory. Failure to comply can result in more offences against you, and hence more charges.
Black and white or yellow curbs mean that parking is prohibited.
Due to the cities, above all Amsterdam, being quite congested, there is a Park and Ride scheme that is in place in most areas. This scheme allows the driver to park their vehicle outside of their desired location and use public transport to get there.
In most urban areas, parking comes at a charge. You will need to pay at a machine by the roadside and display the ticket clearly in the windscreen of your vehicle. Failure to do so will result in a fine and possibly your vehicle being towed away, which will incur extra charges.
Blue zones mean that in order for you to park, you will need to purchase a parking disc. You can get these from police stations, tobacco shops and motor club shops.
Amsterdam Driving Guide
There are a lot of things that are special about Amsterdam, a rich artistic heritage, the romance of the many canals that run like a system of veins through this pulsing yet relaxed city, the friendly locals, narrow gabled cottages, the traditional pubs (known as Brown Pubs) where you’ll find some other special….delicacies on the menu.
Amsterdam has a museum district, housing the Rijksmuseum which shows off art from the 17th Century (the Golden Age), the Van Gogh Museum and more recent art at the Stedelijk. Head off to the Jewish Quarter for a trip to the Anne Frank House, or chill in the Vondelpark. Unlike other major cities in the world where it seems like everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere, in Amsterdam, there really is no rush.
While the free bikes and the 400km of bike paths may entice you towards this type of travel, don’t get too stuck in this city as there are plenty of interesting places just outside of Amsterdam that shouldn’t be missed. While theoretically you could cycle +200 km to the suggested location below, it is far quicker to rent a car with us.
Amsterdam to Bruges (Belgium):
2 hour 46 to Bruges (266 km) via A27
Perhaps a little further than an average day trip, Bruges is definitely worth the drive, which is nevertheless, quite scenic. On your way to Bruges you’ll pass much rural landscape and large green meadows complete with happy cattle. On your way, factor in a pit stop at Antwerp, complete with its own system of canals. When leaving Antwerp the R1 will assist you to cross the immense Schelde canal, get out your camera, as this is an excellent photo op.
You’ll also need your camera while in Bruges, it is a beautifully preserved town that dates back to Medieval times. It is difficult to walk for 5 minutes along the cobblestone paths without stumbling upon canal. It is known as the Venice of the North after all. Don’t discount a brewery tour at the Brewery De Halve Maan or a chocolate tour at the Choco-Story Museum. The town square has its charms as well.
Amsterdam to Lisse:
40 min to Lisse (34.3 km) via A4
Can you even imagine Amsterdam without conjuring images of tulips? Keukenhof Gardens, the largest flower garden in the world, is found near the town of Lisse. The 80 acres of Keukenhof consist of a number of gardens separated into different themes, such as the Historical Garden, the Japanese Garden and the English Garden. Seven million bulbs are planted every year and burst into bloom every spring, so try and aim your visit for mid-March to mid-May, but even in the autumn and winter months, you’ll still be spoiled with a cornucopia of beautifully designed flowers, amongst manicured gardens.
During a visit to a destination, sometimes plans change and you can find yourself falling in love with a nearby destination and wanting to spend a few days there. Not only is our accommodation very reasonable, but our extensive list of accommodation is available throughout Europe, in and around all of the major cities, including Amsterdam of course.
If like us, you don’t have the budget to travel extravagantly, then you probably follow our ethos of Spend Less, Do More. That is, rather spend les on your accommodation at Cheaperthanhotels and your rental car at Cheaperthancars, choosing a simple place to lay your head and a car that gets you there, and spend the cash you save on activities in and around Amsterdam. As it is the things you choose to do that make the memories of a trip away, not the car you rent.
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