Driving license in The Netherlands – A quick guide

To get your driving licence in The Netherlands is not less than a degree course, only the timeline is shorter but the pressure is still the same.

This is because, the roads in The Netherlands are well signed and regulated, not to mention the enormous number of bikes in the traffic and complicated round-about designs.

Everyone observes the road rules strictly, so it’s important to know and apply all these rules to keep everyone safe. Different types of the vehicle require different types of driving licenses. The instructions in this article are about the driving license for personal cars which is called license type B.

Hovenring crossing in Eindhoven (Photo Ronald Otten) Source: bicycledutch website

To obtain the Dutch driving license you need to prove two competencies: (1) understanding of all the traffic rules regarding the safety, traffic-flow and dangerous scenarios on the road, and (2) practical experience of driving auto and application of these road rules while driving. Therefore to judge these competencies, the driving exam is composed of two exams: theory exam and practical exam, respectively. The ‘Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen’ (CBR) is responsible for both of the exams. For registering any exam with CBR, it is mandatory to have a valid DigID and citizen service number (BSN number). Different types of vehicles require different types of driving licenses.

The theory exam is registered by the applicant at the CBR website. All the relevant information and updates regarding the theory exam are given on this website. The theory exams are conducted in one of the centers of CBR. While registering the exam online, it is important to mention the language of the exam, i.e. either English or Dutch. Every big city in The Netherlands has a CBR center. It takes on average three to four weeks to prepare for the theory exam. The theory exam is composed of multiple-choice questions, conducted on a computer-aided device.

The theory exam can be prepared through online training packages. There are multiple websites to practice the theory exam, the most popular one is the Traffic Trainer website. This website offers online training as well as practice exams both in Dutch and in English. The practice exams on this website are similar to the actual exam or sometimes even harder, so passing these practice exams kind of ensures success in the final theory exam.

For the preparation and registration of the practical exam, the applicant needs to be associated with a driving school or ‘rijschool’ in Dutch. These driving schools offer different packages for driving lessons. Often in the beginning, before joining the course, the driving schools offer a trial lesson for driving assessment and compatibility. There is mostly two types of packages offered by the driving schools, (1) complete driving exam package, which includes the preparation for theory as well as a practical exam, (2) only driving lessons, which includes the practice of driving on road for a specific number of hours. For an absolute beginner, it will take on average around 35 to 40 driving lessons. I know some people who took even 80 lessons and some who took just 25 lessons. So, it is a matter of how fast one can adapt to the driving rules on the roads. The practical exam is all about how comfortable one is in following traffic rules while driving on different roads and conditions.

The moment when the author passed his driving exam

It is mandatory to clear the theory exam before registering for the practical exam. Therefore, it’s recommended to start the driving lessons after clearing the theory exam. During the driving lessons, the driving instructor will train and judge the driving skills. Once ready for the exam, the driving instructor/school registers you for the driving exam with the CBR. Before registering the driving exam, the driving school asks the applicant to fill the health declaration form, in Dutch, it’s called ‘Gezondheidsverklaring’. This form will cost around 38 euros and will be submitted by the driving school. The driving exam can be registered at any CBR center in The Netherlands. Usually, in big cities, it is difficult to find an appointment for an exam within one month.

On the day of the driving exam, one has to first report at the respective CBR center, where an examiner is assigned. One can mention to the examiner if the exam instructions need to be in English. After the exam, the examiner will announce the result in a one-on-one session with the applicant and discuss your driving performance during the exam.

After passing the driving exam, the driving license can be asked at the respective municipality or ‘gemeente’ of the applicant. It will take less than one week to process the driving license by the gemeente.

That’s it! you can drive directly after receiving your driving license. Enjoy the ride.

For Eindhoven News: Yawar Abbas

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