7 essential things to know about driving in the Netherlands

7 essential things to know about driving in the Netherlands

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Are you planning to drive in the Netherlands after your relocation? Keep these seven tips in mind to put your best driving foot forward and successfully get on the Dutch roads.

1. BPM

When purchasing or importing a car, motorbike or RV in the Netherlands, BPM is payable. This is a ‘luxury tax’ that is determined based on CO2 emissions, the age and the market value of the vehicle. For some cars this can be as much as tens of thousands euros. Fortunately, there’s good news. Most expats who relocate their car as household goods are fully exempt from BPM. Lucky you!

2. Electric vehicles (EV’s & PHEV’s)

In the Netherlands you see more and more electric and plug-in cars on the road. But anyone who thinks that Dutch people are more environmentally conscious than average is wrong! It is primarily good for their wallet as business drivers pay considerably less fringe benefits tax — a form of income tax — when they drive in an electric or hybrid car.

3. Mind the tram

Inhabitants of large Dutch cities are used to it, but someone who is not familiar with the ‘tram’ phenomenon will probably have to get used to it. Trams are different than buses as they usually have right of way. So, if you see a tram on a crossroad or roundabout where the right of way is not regulated with traffic signs or lights, the tram always has priority, even if the tram is coming from the left.

4. More bikes than inhabitants

The Netherlands is a real biking country and therefore has more bicycles than inhabitants. In fact, there are 18 million bikes, compared with 17 million inhabitants. It’s useful to know that a cyclist is (just like pedestrians) considered a more vulnerable road user. Therefore, in case of an accident a motorist is always liable for the damages to the cyclist without his guilt having to be proven. Conversely, the motorist must claim any damages he incurs as a result of a mistake from a cyclist or pedestrian from the cyclist or pedestrian. In this case the normal statutory rules apply.

5. Average speed checks

Every 17 seconds, someone in the Netherlands is given a speeding camera ticket by an average speed check. An average speed check is where you as a driver are photographed between two points. By comparing the times between both points, your average speed is calculated to determine whether you have kept to the speed limit. Because the speed limit is not always indicated clearly, you really have to watch out. For illustrative purposes, the infamous average speed check on the A2 between Amsterdam and Utrecht took 31 percent of all speeding fines on Dutch motorways.

6. High fines

The Netherlands is famous for its high traffic fines. For example, the penalty for using a non-hands-free phone or ignoring a red light is EUR 230 and EUR 370 when parking in a handicapped parking place. And don’t beep the horn when you see someone you know, because unnecessary honking can cost you EUR 370!

7. The Dutch are the best drivers in the world

The high fines in the Netherlands may have paid off though, because Dutch people are considered the best drivers in the world. This conclusion is based on figures regarding the driving behaviour of a whopping fifty million motorists in 32 countries. The drivers’ behaviours were judged in conjunction with several factors: the amount of traffic on the road, the roads, the number of traffic jams and road safety. Latvia and the United States make up the rest of the top three countries with the best drivers. According to the research, the worst drivers are found in El Salvador.

(8.) To discover more about cruising alongside the Dutch click here

Contributed by VDS Automotive
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