Parking and Parking Regulations in The Netherlands (2024)

It doesn’t take long after moving to The Netherlands to realize that it’s a country built for cycling. Thanks to its vast flat landscape and safe network of bicycle paths, it’s an ideal place to get about on two wheels. But, plenty of us travel between cities for work. Most have families to entertain on the weekends. Some relish the thrill of getting behind the wheel. Life often makes giving up our cars that little bit too much of a sacrifice. There are, however, a few things to bear in mind if you do buy, rent, or bring a car along. One of them being parking (another, car insurance). Yes, it can be somewhat of a challenge, so let’s take a look at what you’ll need to know about parking and parking regulations in the Netherlands.

Parking and Parking Regulations in The Netherlands (1)

On-Street Parking

The first thing to note is that in most places, you’ll have to get lucky to find a convenient parking space on the street. They’re few and far between, put it that way. If you do, the average rate in The Netherlands is €2.80 per hour but expect to pay €3.00 – €4.00 in places like Utrecht, The Hague, and Rotterdam and up to €7.50 in Amsterdam. Although, it goes without saying that the further away you are from the city center, the cheaper you’ll be able to park up.

Keep an eye out for areas with blue curbs, known as “Blue Zones”. These are areas where paid parking is not yet enforced. It’s actually possible to park here for a few hours free of charge. All you need to do is display a blue parking badge, which you can buy from police stations, gas stations, or tobacco stores.

Steer clear of yellow or black and white curbs. You’re not allowed to park in these areas. Instead, lookout for a blue “P-Zone” sign and pay by cash or card at the parking meters situated by the side of the road. You’ll either have to display a ticket in your front window or register your license plate to the parking gods.


For paid parking, you can let Mobypark take care of things. It’s active in several countries worldwide including France, The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and Switzerland and Germany which makes it ideal to use back home. Download to any Apple or Android device, input your phone number, license plate, and card details (no other personal details are necessary) and you’re good to go. Digging around in the back seat for spare change is a thing of the past! Pay by the minute, get a gentle notification when your time’s almost up, and extend it as you need. The last thing you want is to get hit by a hefty fine – they can set you back hundreds of Euros.

Mobypark also accepts credit cards. Even if you’re new to The Netherlands, you’ll already be familiar with the Dutch aversion to this little piece of plastic. Most businesses will not let you use it, which can be a bit of a pain for Expats. For Mobypark, it’s not an issue.

Parking and Parking Regulations in The Netherlands (2)

Off-Street Parking

Whilst you can only use MobyPark for on-street and airport parking, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than city parking garages. Although, there are plenty of them, and they’re often filled with empty spaces. Prices vary depending on the city, but you are able to park confident that your car is secure. Most garages like Q-Park and APCOA Parking offer long term subscription plans, too. So, if you’re looking to leave your car for a while as you get set up in the Netherlands, this might be the way to go.

Resident’s and Visitor’s Permits

Soon, you’re going to want to apply for a resident’s parking permit – the easiest way to avoid the stress of parking and parking regulations in The Netherlands in the long run. The process is painless. Generally, all you need to do is check the availability in your permit area through your gemeente (municipality) website and apply. Bear in mind there may be a waiting list. You must be registered at the same address for which you are applying for the permit. The vehicle must also be registered in your name. If you’re driving a company or hire car, it’s imperative that you are the only user of that vehicle. The costs differ from city to city, increasing the closer your permit area is to the center.

If you’re planning to have visitors arrive by car, you can also apply for a visitor’s parking permit, which offers on-street parking at a discounted rate. You don’t need a resident’s parking permit yourself to apply, just be registered at an address and you’re good. In bigger cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam, the discount can be between 50% and 65% off the normal parking price, even in the center. Be mindful that there are limits as to how many times you’re able to use it throughout the year.


There’s also Park+Ride. Again, useful if you have visitors but also for your own city breaks in the Netherlands. You’ll find P+R services on the outskirts of most big cities and it’s a steal to park there if you play it right. Pick up a special rate of anywhere between €1.00 and a maximum of €8.00 per day if you follow a few simple steps.

Once you’ve parked up, make sure you travel to the city center via public transport. Bus, tram, or metro is fine, but don’t forget to check-in when you enter. You can use your own OV-chipkaart if you have one or purchase a P+R GVB ticket from the facility (not online – you won’t be able to access the special rate otherwise). Then, check out from whatever public transport you’ve used and enjoy your time in the city. Don’t forget to keep your ticket with you! When it’s time to leave, take public transport back to your Park+Ride spot from the city center. Remember to check-in and make sure to pay within one hour of checking out. Scan your OV-chipkaart or P+R GVB ticket to receive the special rate. You’ve dodged a humongous parking bill!

Parking and Parking Regulations in The Netherlands (3)

Airport Parking

At some point during your time in the Netherlands, home is bound to come calling. Whether you like it or not, that most likely means a trip to the airport. Short- or long-term parking is of course available at all international airports. Often, you’ll have to book online, but if you need a spot for less than 48 hours, pick-up or drop-off, you usually won’t have to. A week’s unsheltered parking over Christmas and New Year at Schiphol will set you back around €75 (€90 if you want sheltering), and that includes a free bus ride to the terminal. Happy holidays!

A lack of space in city centers has made parking and parking regulations in The Netherlands somewhat of a tricky business. It’s also one of the most expensive countries to park in Europe. Although, thanks to mobility pioneers like MobyPark, easy-to-apply permits, and inexpensive Park+Ride schemes, using your car here is a whole lot cheaper and easier than it used to be.

Remember to watch out for the bikes!

Parking and Parking Regulations in The Netherlands (2024)


Parking and Parking Regulations in The Netherlands? ›

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.

How does parking work in the Netherlands? ›

Parking in the Netherlands

Metered parking areas are marked with a blue 'P-Zone' sign, and parking tickets from meter machines can cost between €2.80 and €7.50 per hour depending on the city or municipality. You can pay for parking using a bank card, cash, or a mobile app.

Can you park for free in the Netherlands? ›

Street parking

For some areas, parking is free of charge; in others, it is paid parking. With your international blue parking disk, you can park for free in the designated blue zone for a limited number of hours. If you need one, you can purchase a parking disk from tobacco shops, car supply shops and police stations.

What is the National parking Register in the Netherlands? ›

The National Parking Register is a national database containing all transactions concerning parking rights in the Netherlands.

What is the blue line parking in the Netherlands? ›

Blue Zone. In areas where paid parking is not (as yet) in force, you may find there is a Blue Zone. Within these zones you are only permitted to park for short periods of time by clearly displaying a blue parking disc. You can buy them at large department stores and filling stations.

What is the Dutch parking method? ›

Use the Dutch Reach When Opening Car Doors
  1. Step 1: Reach for the door handle using the far hand.
  2. Step 2: Look for cyclists and pedestrians who may be passing.
  3. Step 3: Open the door slowly.
  4. Step 4: Exit the vehicle and quickly step away from the path of traffic.
Oct 10, 2023

How to pay for parking in the Netherlands? ›

At the parking meters you first type in your number plate. You then indicate how long you would like to park. You can pay safely using your bank card or credit card. Your PIN code is not required.

Is parking expensive in Netherlands? ›

On-Street Parking

If you do, the average rate in The Netherlands is €2.80 per hour but expect to pay €3.00 – €4.00 in places like Utrecht, The Hague, and Rotterdam and up to €7.50 in Amsterdam. Although, it goes without saying that the further away you are from the city center, the cheaper you'll be able to park up.

Is the Netherlands car friendly? ›

Getting around in the Netherlands. The Netherlands boasts one of the world's best infrastructures and road safety is priority in our small, densely populated country. The distances between cities and villages are relatively small, which is why we have an extensive and well-maintained road network.

Can tourists drive in Netherlands? ›

Tourists are allowed to drive in the Netherlands on a valid state license, preferably in combination with an International Driver's License which may be obtained in the United States through the AAA.

What are the blue car plates in the Netherlands? ›

Taxis will have a blue number plate because they pay a different amount of tax to let people into the car legally. If a taxi does not have a blue number plate on it, it is an illegal taxi and the driver will charge a lesser fare to the person in the car.

Do I need a sticker to drive in Netherlands? ›

You do not need an emissions sticker to drive in cities in the Netherlands. Some cities operation low emissions zones, which applies to some types of diesel vehicles. If you have a diesel car, you can drive it in the Netherlands, but you may find you are not able to drive into low emissions zones in some Dutch cities.

What happens if you don't register in the Netherlands? ›

If you are not correctly registered

You may receive an administrative fine of €325. You will no longer receive allowances for housing, healthcare (zorgtoeslag) or children. Your health insurance allowance (ziektekostenvergoeding) will be discontinued. You can no longer apply for a passport, ID card or driver's licence.

What is the blue zone parking in the Netherlands? ›

A disabled parking space can be recognised by a blue road sign with a white wheelchair icon. A blue zone is an area demarcated with a blue line or a 'P Zone' road sign where you can park for a specific period with a parking disc.

How long can you park in a blue zone? ›

The Blue Zone confuses

From 7 p.m. to 7:59 a.m. and on Sundays and equivalent holidays, parking is unlimited (unless otherwise indicated, of course). From Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6:59 p.m., depending on the time of arrival, one may park for one hour, up to a maximum of 89 minutes with a parking disc.

Are roads free in Netherlands? ›

Currently, there is no general toll for driving on country roads and motorways in the Netherlands. This means you can travel around the country without paying any additional road tolls. However, there are two tunnels that are subject to tolls: the Kiltunnel and the Westerschelde Tunnel.

How do tourists use public transport in the Netherlands? ›

OVpay: use your smartphone, debit card, or wearable to pay for public transport. For visitors to the Netherlands, OVpay is the best way to check in and out when travelling by public transport. You only need your debit or credit card to easily travel throughout the country by train, tram, bus or metro.

Can tourists drive in the Netherlands? ›

Tourists are allowed to drive in the Netherlands on a valid state license, preferably in combination with an International Driver's License which may be obtained in the United States through the AAA.

What happens if you don t pay a parking ticket in Netherlands? ›

If you neglect to pay the fine in time, or neglect to pay the full amount, you will receive a maximum of two payment reminders. The sum payable will increase with each reminder. The amount of the first reminder is 1.5 times the original amount. The amount of the second reminder is three times the original amount.

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