How To Get to the Netherlands by Car

The Netherlands has good roads to Belgium and Germany, and ferry links to Great Britain. The country has a dense, well-maintained trunk-road network. Borders are open under the terms of the Schengen Agreement. Cars may be stopped at the border for random checks, but this rarely happens.

Driving in the Netherlands

Road rules, markings and signs are similar to other European countries but have some particularities:

  • At unmarked intersections traffic coming from the right ALWAYS has priority. Traffic includes bicycles, horses, horse-drawn carts (recreational use and fairly uncommon), electric wheelchairs, small mopeds and motorised bicycles.
  • Cycle paths are clearly marked and are widespread throughout the country.
  • On motorways, on and off-ramps (slip-roads) are usually long and allow for smooth merging however do note that as of 2009 returning onto the motorway from an off-ramp lane is illegal. Passing on the right and needless use (other than for passing) of the inside lane(s) is prohibited. (passing on the right is permitted only in congested traffic)

Urban driving

Urban driving in the Netherlands is considered by many tourists and locals alike to be an exasperating, time consuming and expensive experience. City roads are narrow, riddled with speed bumps, chicanes and a large variety of street furniture (with knee-high, asphalt-coloured anti-parking poles being probably the most dangerous threat to paintwork as they tend to either blend into the background or be beneath the driver’s view)

Other hazards are:

  • Pedestrians protruding on the road or crossing in dangerous and not-permitted areas.
  • Cyclists and moped riders generally tend not to adhere to the rules or traffic lights so preventive driving is crucial.
  • Narrow bridges.

Parking

Parking in city centres can be expensive. Particularly in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam street parking is sometimes limited to only a few hours and prices range between 3 and 6 Euros per hour. Generally, underground car parks cost between 4 and 6 Euros per hour and may be by far the best choice for practical and safety reasons.