Three different road signs
Source: Pexels
Traffic regulations in the Netherlands
Last updated: 4/9/2024, 4:10 PM

It is important to know how to act in traffic situations in the Netherlands to avoid accidents. Below you can read what is important to know about traffic in the Netherlands.

The main general traffic rules

Below you will read some of the rules that are important in Dutch traffic:

Driving on the right and giving priority

  • In the Netherlands, all traffic must keep to the right.

  • At intersections and side roads, traffic from the right always has priority unless traffic signs or signals indicate otherwise.

  • If you want to merge or enter a roundabout, you must give way.

  • Ambulances, police and fire trucks with blue flashing lights and sirens always have priority.

Other traffic rules:

  • For a red traffic light, you must stop.

  • In a car, you are required to wear the seat belt, even as a passenger.

  • A vehicle changing direction must indicate direction. A motor vehicle does this with an orange flashing light. A cyclist extends his arm.

  • Pedestrians must walk on the pavement and cross at a pedestrian crossing. If there is no pavement, it is best to walk along the left side of the road.

  • It is forbidden to walk and cycle on (motor) highways and rail and tram tracks.

  • As soon as it gets dusk, every vehicle must turn on front and rear lights. This also applies to bicycles.

  • For violating the rules, the police can give you a fine.

Rules about parking

In the Netherlands, you are not allowed to park your car or other motor vehicles everywhere. Also, you usually have to pay to park. Blue curbs, called "Blue Zones," are areas where you don't have to pay to park. If you have a blue card, you may park for free in these zones for a few hours. On this card you indicate what time you arrived at the parking spot. You can buy the card at police stations, petrol stations or tobacco stores.

In big cities, you almost always have to pay for parking. Especially in big cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague this can be expensive. The average rate in the Netherlands is €2.80 per hour, but count on €3.00 - €4.00 per hour in places like Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam and up to €7.50 in Amsterdam. The further you are from the centre, the cheaper parking is.

Rules in the event of car breakdown

If you experience a breakdown on the highway, it is important to get yourself to safety as soon as possible. Below is what you should do if you have trouble on the highway:

  • If possible, drive to a car park or petrol station.

  • If this is not possible, turn on the emergency lights, park the car as close to the right guardrail as possible and turn the front wheels toward the guardrail.

  • In doing so, leave enough room that you and other passengers can exit to the right.

  • Get behind the guardrail with the other passengers as quickly as possible. Preferably with a safety vest on.

  • From there, call a vehicle rescue company, such as the Wegenwacht or another official rescue company. In case of an emergency or an unsafe situation, you can also call the Dutch National Information Line (0800-8002)

  • If there is imminent danger, call 112.

In the event of an accident or breakdown, report exactly where you are. You can find this information on the nearest distance pole on the right side of the highway. A distance pole is a pole located along roads that shows the distance to a certain starting point. A distance pole is also called a hectometre pole and is located every 100 metres on bigger roads. Mention the numbers on the distance pole and whether you are on the left or right side of the road.