Buying a Car in the Netherlands guide

By |Published On: 8 december 2023|Last Updated: 29 februari 2024|3,5 min read|

The guide for buying a Dutch Car

The Netherlands, with its extensive network of canals and bike paths, might not seem like a car-centric nation. But for many residents, owning a car is still a necessity. Whether you’re a new arrival or a seasoned resident, navigating the Dutch car market can seem daunting. Fear not, financial savvy drivers! This guide will steer you through the process of buying a car in the Netherlands, ensuring you drive away with confidence and financial peace of mind.

Step 1: Define Your Needs and Budget

Before hitting the road searching for your dream car, take a moment to define your needs and budget. Consider factors like:

  • Driving frequency and distance: Will you be using the car for daily commutes, occasional weekend trips, or long journeys?
  • Passenger and cargo space: Do you need a spacious vehicle for family outings or a smaller car for city driving?
  • Fuel efficiency and environmental impact: Are fuel costs a major concern? Do you want to prioritise an eco-friendly vehicle?
  • Maintenance and repair: Are you comfortable with higher maintenance costs associated with certain brands or models?
  • Once you have a clear picture of your needs, use online resources like or AutoScout24 to research prices and compare models that fit your budget.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Purchase Avenue

In the Netherlands, you have two main options for buying a car:

  • Dealers: Dealers offer new and used cars, often with warranties and financing options. The downside? Higher prices and less room for negotiation.
  • Private sellers: Private sellers offer used cars at potentially lower prices. However, you’ll need to conduct thorough inspections and handle registration yourself.
  • Popular online marketplaces for finding private sellers include:
  1. Marktplaats: The Dutch equivalent of Craigslist, offering a wide variety of used cars.
  2. AutoScout24: A more specialized platform with detailed car listings and filters.

Step 3: Secure Financing (Optional)

If your budget requires financing, consider options like:

Personal Loans are commonly provided by banks and credit unions, featuring consistent interest rates and monthly payment plans.

Car Loans, frequently extended by dealerships, come with terms and conditions customised for the acquisition of vehicles.

Leasing, as an alternative to outright purchase, permits you to utilise a vehicle for a predetermined duration in return for regular monthly payments.

Step 4: Inspection and Test Drive

Before committing to a purchase, schedule a thorough inspection by an independent mechanic, especially for used cars. This will identify any potential problems and give you leverage for negotiation. Additionally, take the car for a test drive to assess its performance and comfort.

Free Dealer Consulting Client about Car in Salon Stock Photo

Step 5: Registration and Insurance

Once you’ve purchased your car, register it at the RDW (Dienst Wegverkeer) within four weeks. You’ll need the following documents:

  • Certificate of ownership (OVRD): Obtained from the seller.
  • Valid ID or passport.
  • Proof of address.
  • MOT certificate: Proof of car’s roadworthiness.
  • Finally, don’t forget to get car insurance before driving on public roads.

Step 6: Additional Costs

Be aware of additional costs associated with car ownership, such as:

Road tax (MRB): An annual tax based on your car’s weight and emissions.
Fuel: Costs vary depending on fuel type and driving habits.
Maintenance and repairs: Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure your car’s performance and longevity.

By following these steps and financial tips, you can navigate the Dutch car market with confidence and secure a car that meets your needs and fits your budget. Remember, buying a car is a significant financial decision. Take your time, do your research, and drive away with peace of mind.

Free A Couple Standing in Front of a Brand New Car Stock Photo

Happy driving!

Author: Roger Kentie

Roger is a Dutch citizen with experience living and working as an expat in multiple countries. Roger has a deep understanding of the complex Dutch financial landscape and is able to provide insights to help other expats make informed financial decisions.

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