Do you have questions about travelling within the Netherlands or Europe? On this page you will find information about travelling to the Netherlands, the public transport system within the Netherlands, cars and help with returning to your own country.
Because of the complex legal positions of Ukrainian refugees, information regarding car insurance is still rather unclear. It is possible that rules regarding liability insurance will be adjusted. We recommend awaiting further developments and to contact the insurer in case there are any problems.
Driving in the Netherlands
Currently, refugees from Ukraine are allowed to use their Ukrainian car in the Netherlands without registering the car. This is an exception to the normal rules.
Normally, people from a country outside the European Union are allowed to use their car in the Netherlands for up to six months without declaring it. Those who want to use the car in the Netherlands for longer than six months must file an import declaration. After the car is registered in the Netherlands, people must pay two types of tax:
Taxation of passenger cars or motorcycles (Belasting van Personenauto's of Motorrijwielen)
Motor vehicle tax (Motorrijtuigenbelasting)
The Dutch government has not yet decided whether refugees from Ukraine should start registering their car in the Netherlands. So at the moment, you can simply use your Ukrainian car in the Netherlands. You do not have to file an import declaration or pay taxes on your car.
This may change. You can call the Belastingdienst (Tax Office) to be informed of this. The Belastingdienst will ask you for some information (BSN number, your address and vehicle information) and call you back when things are more clear.
The phone number of the Belastingdienst (Customs) is: (0800) 01 43. You can call toll-free Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The driver's license
Currently, you can drive a car in the Netherlands with a Ukrainian driving licence. Normally, you have to get a Dutch driving licence from the CBR (Central Bureau of Driving Licences) after 185 days. On 7 July 2022, a proposal was adopted by the European Commission calling for people with Ukrainian driving licences, who are under Temporary Protection, to keep their driving licences. In addition, Ukrainian driving licences will be able to be renewed. People who have lost their Ukrainian driving licence can, after verification with Ukrainian authorities, obtain a new European driving licence.
Ukrainian driving licences that expired before 2022 must be renewed by Ukrainian authorities. Ukrainian driving licences that expired in 2022 are considered by Ukraine (and therefore the EU) as still valid.
Buying a car in the Netherlands
Refugees from Ukraine can buy a car in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, cars are usually bought second-hand from a car dealer or via the Internet. Always be critical when buying a car. The ANWB has a page with handy tips for buying a car. The moment you own a car with a Dutch registration plate in the Netherlands, you have to take out third-party insurance and pay motor vehicle tax. In addition, the car you are buying may require an MOT. The seller of the car can tell you whether the car still has a valid MOT. Finally, you have to register the license plate when you buy a car. This can be done by appointment at an RDW desk. For this you need:
A valid foreign identity document; and
An extract from the BRP showing your BSN.
As far as civil liability insurance is concerned, some cars from Ukraine are only insured in Ukraine. Refugees who have come to the Netherlands with their own car must in that case take out additional insurance. Insurer de Vereende has developed a insurance solution (only in Dutch) in the form of Short Term Insurance, where you get third party coverage for up to 3 months.
In addition, Allianz offers a free short-term insurance for refugees from Ukraine in various transit countries in Europe. It is sometimes also possible for refugees to contact their own (or another) insurance company in Ukraine. A number of Ukrainian insurers are still active. They can issue insurance policies with coverage for the whole of Europe and at a more favourable rate. It may also be possible to extend expiring policies. See the website below for more information.
Tax on motor vehicles
Did you bring your car from Ukraine to the Netherlands? On the website of the Tax and Customs Administration, you can find all information about the rules for taxes and your motor vehicle with a foreign license plate.
If you left Ukraine because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you do not have to pay motor vehicle tax (mrb) or passenger car and motorbike tax (bpm) until 3 March 2024. It is important that the vehicle you came to the Netherlands with is registered in the unified state register of vehicles of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
If you bought a car in the Netherlands, you do have to pay mrb and bpm.
Accidents on the road
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 parking lot or gas 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 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 hectometer pole and is located every 100 meters on bigger roads. Mention the numbers on the distance pole and whether you are on the left or right side of the road.
It is important to know how to act in traffic situations to avoid accidents. Below you can 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 sidewalk and cross at a pedestrian crossing. If there is no sidewalk, it is best to walk along the left side of the road.
•It is highly dangerous and forbidden to walk and cycle on (motor) highways and railroad and streetcar 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.
You'll find a helpful overview of traffic rules and signs in this PDF document. This document is available in English.
Parking in the Netherlands
Parking is expensive in big cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague. The average rate in the Netherlands is €2.80 per hour, but count on €3.00 - €4.00 in places like Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam and up to €7.50 in Amsterdam. The further you are from the center, the cheaper it gets.
Blue sidewalk zones, called "Blue Zones" are areas where you do not 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, gas stations or tobacco stores.
When it comes to paid parking, mobile parking is an option. For this you use an app that allows you to find cheap parking spots. For example with ANWB Onderweg and Parkmobile. With the app you pay your parking fee per minute.
You can read more about parking in the Netherlands at the website ofExpat Republic.
When you receive a traffic fine, it will be sent to the address at which the vehicle is registered. If your vehicle is still registered in Ukraine, the fines will automatically go there.