The Netherlands is beautiful. During our last road trip, this is the country we liked most. We travelled to Holland by car. In this text we will try to answer the question if it’s worth to go to the Netherlands by car, how does driving there looks like, where to park the car in Amsterdam and if it’s possible to sleep in the car.
- 1 Mandatory documents
- 2 Car equipment
- 3 Lights
- 4 Roads and fees
- 5 Speed limits
- 6 Parking
- 7 Sleeping in the car
- 8 Fuel prices
- 9 Safety on the road
If you want to enter the Netherlands by car, you will need:
– identity document. The Netherlands is a member of European Union so you can take your identity card or passport
– driving license. Polish driving license is accepted in the Netherlands
– registration document of the car with a valid inspection
– OC insurance
– EHIC card
Equipment that you need to have:
– a warning triangle
Recommended equipment contains:
– fire extinguisher
– first-aid kit
– set of spare bulbs
Driving with passing beam during the daylight is obligatory only if the visibility is low. Apart from that, using passing beam during the day is not needed.
Roads and fees
Motorways are free of charge in Holland. You have to pay only for using two tunnels, Dordse Kill (the fee is 2 euro per car) and Westerschelde (5 euro per car). If you want to check the fee, I recommend you this website. You will find there links for websites of each tunnel where you can verify the actual fee.
Speed limits for cars are as follows:
– built-up area 50km/h
– outside the built-up area 80km/h
– expressways 100km/h
– motorways 120km/h
Parking in the center of big cities is difficult because lack of space and also very expensive. For example, one hour of parking in Amsterdam costs even 4 euro. In other cities it’s not better. In our articles about Zaanse Schans and Keukenhof, you can see how much leaving a car in car parks costs there and where you may find a free parking.
Parking in Amsterdam
As I have mentioned parking in the center costs 4 euro per hour. An interesting thing is that the parking is paid from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Sunday and feasts from 12 a.m. till 12 p.m. So even on the weekends, we don’t recommend you paring in the center of Amsterdam.
However, Park&Ride parkings work perfectly fine in Amsterdam. They are cheap and comfortable. There are 6 car parks of this type: P+R ArenA, P+R Bos en Lommer, P+R RAI, P+R Olympisch Stadion, P+R Sloterdijk and P+R Zeeburg I i II. These car parks are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, except P+R Bos en Lommer, which is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
How much does Park&Ride parking cost?
The fee for P&R car parks depends on the day and hour of entry. Parking on weekdays before 10 a.m. costs 8 euro per day. After 10 a.m. and on the weekend, it’s only 1 euro. You can park your car on P&R for 3 days with this discounted price, except P&R RAI where this price is valid only for 24 hours.
How does Park&Ride work?
While entering most of the car parks you have to take a paper ticket. On RAI parking, they scan your license plate and when you pay for the parking instead of scanning the ticket, you enter the registration number. Car park with such low price works only if you use public transport and you travel to the center of the city.
So, after you park your car you buy a public transport ticket “P+R GVB ticket”. You can get it for maximum 5 people. For 1 or 2 people it costs 5 euro. The price increases 90 cents for each extra person. So for 3 people you will pay 5.9 euro. This ticket allows you to travel to the center of the city and come back to the parking. Taking into account that a single ticket for public transport valid for 1 hour costs 3 euro in Amsterdam, the ticket offered on P&R car parks is really cheap.
Before you leave the car park, you have to scan both the parking ticket and used GVB ticket and pay the fee. Remember to always scan your GVB ticket when you enter metro station. After you scan your parking ticket in the machine, you also have to scan your used public transport ticket. You have to scan only one transport ticket, regardless the amount you have bought. Scanning transport ticket entitles you to have the discount on parking price, otherwise you will pay a normal and very high fee for parking.
Which car park should I choose?
We parked our car for more than 10 hours on P&R ArenaA. We entered the parking after 10 a.m. on a weekday and we didn’t face any problems to find a spot. If you want to be sure that the parking you have chosen still has free spaces, you can check it here.
Beschikbaarheid coumn shows the car park status: vol (full), vrij (available) or gesloten (closed). On the other hand, in Parkeerplekken column, you will see the number of parking spaces. I recommend you check this website before you go to the parking, especially because sometimes they may be closed. For example P&R ArenaA is closed when there are matches or other events on the stadium.
Sleeping in the car
Sleeping in the car in the Netherlands outside the campsites is illegal. Before we travelled there, we read many stories of people who got fine because of sleeping in a car. Despite that, we took the risk and we spent two nights sleeping in our vehicle. We didn’t have any unpleasant situations because of that. However, remember that it doesn’t have to be like that in your case. Maybe we were lucky, maybe then Dutch authorities weren’t interested in checking if someone sleeps in the car on a parking. Nevertheless, we want you to be aware of the possibility of getting a fine for spending the night this way.
Fuel prices in the Netherlands are one of the highest in Europe. During our trip through Germany, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, it was the country of tulips where fueling was the most expensive. In May 2018, the price of diesel was from 1.28 up to 1.42 euro per liter and for gasoline 95 even up to 1.7 euro. As most of the products in the Netherlands, the fuel is very expensive. I recommend you to fuel the car in Germany.
Safety on the road
Generally driving in the Netherlands is very comfortable. I have no objection to safety. If you enter cities in rush hours, you will end up in traffic, keep that in mind.
In the Netherlands there are high fines for different traffic offence. If you don’t fasten your seatbelt you may pay 140 euro, for not using direction indicator 90 euro, for using your phone while driving 230 euro. Believe me, these are examples of the cheapest tickets. You need to be careful when you drive. What’s more, in Holland there are many radars and the tolerance for errors is only 4 km/h. Fines are expensive even for the Dutch who earn much more, so I recommend you follow the speed limits.
What do you need to be careful of?
If you are travelling to the Netherlands by car for the first time, watch out for cyclists. There are really lots of them. Even on roundabouts there is a special line for bicycles. For drivers who are not used to it, it may be surprising at the beginning. Remember that in Holland, the cyclists always have a right of way and they use it. Cars just have to stop and let them pass. Sometimes you may feel that the cyclists don’t even look to the right and left when they cycle through a crossroad or a roundabout. You are right, they don’t do that. They just cycle and the driver are the ones who have to be careful and yield the right of way. You need to be extra careful and drive with caution.