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A. van Leeuwenhoeksweg 50, 2408 AN Alphen aan den Rijn
+31 (0)172-449977

Netherlands: your all-inclusive guide to public transport and driving

Home 9 News 9 Netherlands: your all-inclusive guide to public transport and driving
For those looking to start a new chapter in the Netherlands, understanding local transport is crucial. This guide is your one-stop resource, from cycling to the many public transportation options, and the nitty-gritty of becoming a licensed driver in the Netherlands.

The Dutch cycling culture

Cycling is more than just a mode of transport in the Netherlands; it’s a way of life. The country’s extensive network of bike paths makes it the most prolific cycling nation, globally. As a newbie, cycling is an excellent way to get around and experience the local culture. Here are some insights into cycling in the Netherlands:

  • The Netherlands has more bicycles than people.
  • From students and professionals to families and seniors, everyone enjoys the convenience and health benefits of cycling.
  • The flat landscape, compact cities, and bicycle-friendly infrastructure have made it the preferred mode of transport for short to medium distances.

Purchasing a bike in the Netherlands is straightforward, with a range of options to suit different budgets. Some of the most popular bike stores include Decathlon and 12GO Biking. Diving into the second-hand market can be very cost-effective and environmentally friendly. If ownership isn’t your goal, renting is a popular choice, especially for tourists and temporary residents.

Cycling in the Netherlands is generally safe, thanks to the dedicated cycle paths. However, understanding the local rules is essential. Dutch cyclists are required to use hand signals to indicate turns; they have the right of way on bike paths and when bikes and cars intersect. It’s also compulsory to have at least one working light on your bike, especially during the hours of darkness.


Mastering the Dutch public transport system

Public Transport Overview of Train Transport System in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has an exceptional public transport system, which includes trains, trams, buses, and ferries. It’s well-integrated, with a unified payment system that makes navigating the various modes of transport a breeze.

The Dutch Railways company (De Nederlandse Spoorwegen or NS):

  • Operates the country’s extensive train network.
  • Offers intercity trains and sprinter services.
  • Is known for its punctuality, comfort, and speed.

Trams and buses:

  • Essential for urban mobility in cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague.
  • Trams are ideal for short city trips; buses serve both cities and more rural areas.
  • Payment is facilitated by a contactless smart card, the OV-chipkaart.


  • Vital due to Dutch topography.
  • Important for cross-water connectivity.
  • Ferries are FREE in Amsterdam.


Driving in the Low Countries

While public transport and cycling are highly convenient, there may still be occasions where driving becomes essential. Understanding the Dutch driving culture, legal requirements, and road rules will help you prepare for such situations.

To drive in the Netherlands, you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. As an expat, if you’re from a non-EU country, you can drive in the Netherlands using your foreign license for up to 185 days. If you plan to stay longer or you come from outside the EEA, some conditions might apply to getting a Dutch driver’s license.

Depending on their country of origin, expats from non-EEA countries may need to take a driving test in the Netherlands to obtain a local license. EEA citizens can exchange their existing license for a Dutch one without taking a test first.

If you decide to bring your car to the Netherlands, AGS Global Solutions Netherlands offers their seamless International Vehicle Transport Service. Specialising in international logistics, AGS provides door-to-door shipping services, managing all aspects of vehicle transport, including customs clearance, compliance checks with Dutch regulations, and ensuring your vehicle meets local environmental standards.

With their extensive experience in handling the logistical challenges of cross-border vehicle transport, AGS ensures a hassle-free process, so you can hit the Dutch roads with confidence as soon as you get behind the wheel.


Other modes of getting around the Netherlands

Travel Through the Dutch Landscape With the Water Transportation Network

Besides cycling, public transport, and driving, the Netherlands offers a few alternative methods of getting from one place to another.

Taxis and ride-sharing services

  • Widely available in most Dutch cities and towns.
  • Taxis are relatively expensive compared to public transport.
  • Ride-sharing services like Uber provide a convenient and more cost-effective alternative in some cases.

Scooters and mopeds

  • Popular for short commutes.
  • Subject to specific regulations, such as prohibition from bike paths in cities.
  • Required to follow the same rules as cars on roadways.


  • Useful in areas with significant waterways (e.g., Amsterdam, Giethoorn).
  • Renting a motorboat offers a unique perspective of the city through its canals.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure:

  • Increasing popularity in the Netherlands.
  • Expanding network of charging stations.
  • Convenient charging options, especially in urban areas and along major highways.

The Netherlands offers a diverse and efficient range of transport options that cater to different preferences and needs. Whether it’s the freedom of cycling, the convenience of public transport, or the practicality of driving, understanding, and adapting to the local transportation culture is key to your integration. By familiarising yourself with the information shared in this guide, you’re well on your way to becoming an adept navigator in the Netherlands.

For those who are keen on embracing Dutch culture, AGS Global Solutions Netherlands offers specialised relocation services to transport bicycles and other personal belongings to the Netherlands. With over 40 years of experience, AGS has mastered the intricacies of international moving, ensuring your treasured items, including bikes, arrive safely and efficiently.

Our tailored services ensure every aspect of the move is managed with care, from packing to completing customs forms, making the transition smooth for both your household goods and your trusty two-wheeler. Get your free quote today.