Monthly cost of a car in The Netherlands.
What are the monthly costs for a car in the Netherlands? One of the most important and common questions if you’re an expat in The Netherlands. What does it cost to drive a car, what surprises do you have to deal with and how do you keep driving a car in the Netherlands within budget?
We summed up the 10 most important factors which you as an expat in the Netherlands with a car should take into account. This way you keep the car costs in the Netherlands under control. And you still have the freedom to go wherever you want to go.
10 things you need to know about car costs in The Netherlands
Curious about the monthly car costs in the Netherlands and want to make sure you don't miss anything? We will make sure that you have all the important information in a clear overview:
- A valid MOT is required
- Driving with a valid driving license
- Keep the road tax in mind
- The car insurance is mandatory
- Parking in the city is expensive
- Filling up on the highway is expensive as well
- Traffic fines are even more expensive
- Older cars are not allowed everywhere
- Financing is possible
- Possibilities for expats
Please note that some of the links we share with you refer to Dutch websites (because they are not available in English). For example, use Google Translate to translate the text. You can also enter a URL, after which you will get a link to view the translated web page. Instead, you can use the Google Chrome plugin for Google Translate, for example, which allows you to have websites you visit translated automatically.
A valid MOT (APK) is required
No car in the Netherlands is allowed on public roads without a valid MOT. MOT stands for the Ministry of Transport test. A General Periodic Inspection. It is a mandatory legal inspection throughout Europe, which guarantees that the car you drive can safely participate in traffic.
The Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW) reminds car owners in the Netherlands when the car has to undergo the MOT inspection. New vehicles only need to be inspected after a number of years. After a number of years, this has to be done annually to keep older vehicles in good condition.
The MOT inspection in the Netherlands costs about €20 to €75 and can be conducted by a garage of your own choice (for example Kwikfit). For older vehicles you have to do the inspection annually. If the inspector rejects the car, you must have a repair done before the car is approved again, which allows you to drive on the public road.
Driving with a valid driver's license
You may only drive in the Netherlands with a valid driver's license, wheter it is foreign or Dutch. If you have a foreign driving license, you can drive with it in The Netherlands for a certain period. It depends if it is a EU or non-EU driving license, You can find official information on the website of the RDW. If you have a foreign driver's license you can exchange it for a Dutch driver's license. It is important that you are registered with a residential address in the Netherlands.
The Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW) deals with driving licenses in the Netherlands. Whether you can exchange your driving license depends on the country you come from and the type of driving license you have there. Click here for more info.
To exchange your driver's license to a Dutch driver's license you visit the municipality where you are registered with your home address. It costs around €30 to €50, depending on the municipality where you live.
Tip: are you eligible for the 30%-rule for the tax authorities? It does not matter from which country you come, you always have the possibility to exchange your driver's license for a Dutch one.
Think of the road tax
Everyone who owns a car in the Netherlands pays road tax. It is part of the monthly car cost. It is the Belastingdienst (tax authority) that depreciates the road tax. This happens once a quarter, so you pay the amount for 3 months 4 times a year. You can choose for direct debit, to prevent a fine for late payment.
The amount of the road tax depends on a number of factors:
- Type of vehicle you drive, e.g. a passenger car
- The fuel the car runs on, such as LPG, hybrid, electric, petrol or diesel
- The CO2 emissions of the car you drive
- The province in which you live
- The weight of the car
You can calculate the amount online on the website of De Belastingdienst. How much road tax you pay? On the basis of a few questions the website will show you the costs per month or per quarter. The road tax is automatically debited by the Belastingdienst, it is not necessary to register for this. As soon as you buy a car, the RDW will pass on the details to the Tax and Customs Administration.
Tip: do you want to pay little or no road tax in order to reduce the monthly car costs in the Netherlands? Drive an electric car or a hybrid car with (very) low CO2 emissions.
The car insurance is mandatory
You will need a car insurance, there are three possibilities:
WA car insurance
The cheapest car insurance. It is the legally required coverage, which only applies to injury and property damage to others and their vehicle. You always pay damage to your own car yourself.
WA Limited Casco
A more comprehensive coverage, also for damage to your car when you are not at fault. You are covered for theft, joyriding, animal collisions, storm and other weather damage, among other things.
WA Full Casco (Allrisk)
The most comprehensive coverage, including damage to your own car that you cause yourself. The most popular choice for new and very new cars, although you also pay the highest premium.
Curious about which car costs in the Netherlands you have to think about when it comes to insurance? Depending on the coverage you choose and the number of claim-free years you have, you pay between €25 and €100 per month. You can compare the different insurers online to find a good offer.
Tip: the number of claim-free years determines your discount on the premium. With every year that you do not claim any damage you get a higher discount. The discount can be as much as 80% on the nominal premium.
Parking in the city can be expensive
The MOT, road tax and car insurance arranged? As an expat you are allowed to drive in the Netherlands, if you have a valid driver's license of course. So, where do you want to go on your first trip? Are you going to visit Amsterdam, Rotterdam or one of the other big cities? Keep in mind that parking there can be expensive.
Parking costs in Dutch cities are around €3 to €6 per hour. You pay the amounts for parking on the street (in the center) and in the parking garages. It is sometimes wiser to park on the outskirts of the city, and then continue to the center by bus, streetcar or train. You can use P+R locations. They stand for Park & Ride, because you park and then continue your journey by public transport (OV). On the website of the ANWB you will find an overview of P+R locations in the Netherlands, at least in all major cities.
Tip: do you want to park on the street and make it as easy as possible? With an app like ParkMobile (https://parkmobile.nl) you can easily pay with your smartphone. You pay for the time you park there, after which you will receive an invoice for the costs.
Filling up on the highway is expensive as well
Have you finished your first rides and are you starting to empty your tank? There are more than enough petrol stations available, although fuel prices can vary considerably. So do you want to better control the monthly car costs in the Netherlands? Check where you can refuel cheaply.
And if you don't have the website open, but you do need a sudden refuel? No problem, keep in mind that it's cheaper not to fill up your car along the highway. Look for a village or a city, for example by driving 5 minutes away from the highway. You will come across cheaper gas stations.
Tip: do you want extra cheap fuel? Choose an unmanned filling station, where you can pay with a debit or credit card. Thanks to the self-service tank you can fill up your car way cheaper.
Cars which you can trust
A few of our cars
Traffic fines are even more expensive
It is important to pay close attention to the speed limits in the Netherlands. Usually there is a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour on highway between 06.00 and 19.00 hr. Between 19.00 hr and 06.00hr the speed limit is 120 km/hr. There are a number of exceptions, so regularly check the current overview on the website of the central government.
The speed limit is indicated on signs, so you are always well informed when driving. And do you want to prevent accidentally driving faster than allowed? You can use an app like Flitsmeister and Waze. It helps you not to inadvertently add a fine to your monthly car costs.
Older cars are not allowed everywhere
Do you want to save on costs for a car in the Netherlands, for example with an older model? That's a good choice in many ways, but also take into account the disadvantages. For example, you can't just go everywhere in the city.
Dutch cities repel older cars because they emit a relatively large amount of harmful gases. There are environmental zones in which you are not allowed to drive a (much) older car. You can check online which environmental zones apply, to prevent you from driving a car into cities when it’s prohibited.
Only the older cars do not meet the standards that apply to the environmental zones. With a car up to 5 or 10 years old, you will generally have no problems. There is no need to drive a brand new car if you try to control the costs per month as much as possible.
Are you specifically curious about the possibilities for expats in the Netherlands? At Bynco we are helping out expats daily. The website is of course available in English and we'll be happy to explain how it works with your Dutch driver's license.
Do you have other questions about the car costs per month in the Netherlands or do you want to know how it works if you want to drive in The Netherlands? Please contact us and we will be happy to explain it to you.