Netherlands Road Network

By | October 31, 2022
Road type Length (2018)
Highway 3,047 km
Provincial way 6,536 km
Water board road 6,957 km
Municipal road 119,567 km
Total road length 139,691 km

According to wholevehicles, the Dutch road network is particularly dense, as a result of the high population density. The road network is numbered from 1 to 999 in one nationwide system, with the 1- and 2-digit roads between 1 and 99 being the major roads, and the 3-digit roads the minor ones, which can be further subdivided into a primary 3-digit network from 175 to 399 and a secondary 3-digit network from 400 to 999. The number is preceded by an A or N number, depending on the construction condition of the road, whereby in general the 1- and 2-digit A and N roads are state highways, and the 3-digit A and N roads are generally Provincial. But municipalities and water boards also have N-roadsin control. The Netherlands has 3,055 km of national highways, the provincial roads have a length of 6,533 km and the other municipal and water boards are 126,179 km. The total road network is 139,294 kilometers long. With a density of approximately 73 kilometers of motorway per 1000 km² of land area, the Netherlands has the highest motorway density in the European Union. Converted to population, the Netherlands has 144 kilometers of motorway per 1 million inhabitants.

Motorways

The A2 at the Abcoude junction.

The Dutch motorways are, after the British, among the busiest motorways in the world, if one looks at the national average. Files are therefore common. Characteristic of the Dutch highways is the exceptionally good state of maintenance in comparison with neighboring countries, the modern traffic signaling and the high traffic intensities of mostly 50,000 to 100,000 vehicles in rural areas and 100,000 to 200,000 vehicles on interurban axes in the Randstad and urban ring and ring roads. The busiest highway in the Netherlands is the A4 near The Hague with 269,700 vehicles per day, this is one of the busiest highways in Europe. The quietest highway in the Netherlands is the A7 at the Bad Nieuweschans border crossing with 10,600 vehicles per day.

While the Dutch motorway network is well maintained, it has seen little investment in expansion between roughly the 1980s and the mid-2000s, while at the same time the population continued to grow and new residential areas and office parks were developed, resulting in a strong increase in traffic congestion.. Many necessary projects were started after 2005, for example the large-scale upgrading of the A2 between Amsterdam and Eindhoven or the expansion of the capacity of the Coentunnels. The widest highway is located between both parts of the Ridderkerk junction near Rotterdam, here you can find 4×4, or 16 lanes. The widest lanes can be found on the A2 between Abcoude and the Holendrecht interchange, A12 between De Meern and the Oudenrijn junction. There are 6 lanes in the same driving direction on each of these road sections.

Motorways of the Netherlands

History

The A12 at Zoetermeer in 1937.

See motorway.

The Netherlands was one of the first countries in the world to develop the motorway network. The first highway in the Netherlands was the A12 between Voorburg and Zoetermeer on April 15, 1937. In 1943, the Netherlands had the second largest highway network in Europe with 111 kilometers of motorway. The first motorways had 2×2 lanes and grade separated intersections. The Netherlands was also the first country in the world to use integral emergency lanes.

The construction of new motorways had less priority immediately after the Second World War in connection with the reconstruction. About 90 kilometers of motorway were opened between 1945 and 1955. From 1955, mass mobilization increased due to increased prosperity. Traffic grew strongly every year. Motorway design improved in the 1960s. Older highways can still be recognized by their tight alignment, with little space under viaducts, a narrow central reservation and the lack of emergency lanes on structures. It was not until 1965 that guide rails were built along motorways.

A large part of the Dutch motorways were built in the 1960s and 1970s. A striking feature of the construction of motorways was the frequent use of space reservations in the 1970s, with a view to future traffic growth. In 1980, the Netherlands had about 1,900 kilometers of motorway. The development then slowed down, especially in the Randstad, few new motorways were opened after 1990. After 2000, the congestion increased enormously, so that the emergency road widening act was the first step to structurally expand the motorway network with extra lanes. Congestion declined sharply for the first time between 2010 and 2014, largely due to road widening.

Development of the total number of kilometers of highways in the Netherlands per year

Nodes

The Oudenrijn junction, the most important junction in the Netherlands.

Dutch nodes are generally not particularly large, there are only two nodes that can qualify to be qualified as star node, namely the Prins Clausplein node and the Ridderkerk node. The busiest junction is the Oudenrijn junction near Utrecht, with 362,000 vehicles per day.

Configuration

Many interchanges are designed as half- turbine or cloverleaf, with or without shunting lanes. The oldest cloverleaf with shunting lanes is the Badhoevedorp junction, which opened in 1967. The trumpet node is also a regular occurrence. From time immemorial, various interchanges were constructed as traffic circles, such as the Deil interchange, the Hoevelaken interchange and the Oudenrijn interchange. These were later completely reconstructed or at least partly made grade-separated, such as the Joure junction and the Leenderheide junction.. At some junctions there are also wickerwork, most prominently between the Prins Clausplein and Ypenburg junctions near The Hague, but also at the Oudenrijn junction and Batadorp junction.

Naming

Nodes are often named after local geographic points, which are often unknown. Unknown points are given well-known names because of the traffic information, such as Everdingen, Eemnes or Watergraafsmeer. Few nodes are named after larger cities. Some examples of this are the Heerenveen, Hoogeveen, Emmeloord interchanges and the Almere interchange as the largest city. There are also junctions that are hardly known by the public, such as the junctions De Poel, Sabina, Rijkevoort and Zurich.

Junctions in the Netherlands
Almere • Amstel • Arnestein • Assen • Azelo • Badhoevedorp • Bankhoef • Batadorp • Beekbergen • Benelux • Beverwijk • Bocholtz • Bodegraven • Boterdiep • Buren • Burgerveen • Coenplein • De Baars • De Hoek • De Hogt • De Nieuwe Meer • De Poel • The Point •De Stok • Deil • Diemen • Junction Drachten • Three Claws • Eemnes • Ekkersweijer • Emmeloord • Empel • Europaplein (Groningen)Europaplein (Maastricht) • Euvelgunne • Everdingen • Ewijk • Galder • Gooimeer • Gorinchem • Gouwe • Grijsoord • Hattemerbroek • Heerenveen • Hellegat Square• Het Vonderen • Hintham • Hofvliet • Hoevelaken • Holendrecht • Holsloot • Hoogeveen • Hooipolder • Joure • Julianaplein • Kerensheide • Kethelplein • Klaaswaal • Klaverpolder • Kleinpolderplein • Kooimeer • Kruisdonk • Kunderberg • Lankhorst • Leenderheide • Lindenholt • Lunetten• Maanderbroek • Markiezaat • Muiderberg • Neerbosch • Noordhoek • Ommedijk • Oud-Dijk • Oudbroeken • Oudenrijn • Paalgraven • Princeville • Prins Clausplein • Raasdorp • Reitdiep • Ressen • Ridderkerk • Rijkevoort • Rijnsweerd • Rottepolderplein • Sabina • Sint Annabosch • Slufter• Stelleplas • Ten Esschen • Terbregseplein • Tiglia • Vaanplein • Valburg • Velperbroek • Velsen • Vught • Waterberg • Watergraafsmeer • Werpsterhoek • Westerlee • Ypenburg • Zaandam • Zaarderheiken • Zestienhoven • Zonzeel • Zoomland • Zuidbroek • Zurich

Non-highways

The N34 near Gieten.

The non-motorway network consists of one, two or three digit N-roads where generally the 1- and 2-digit N-roads are national highways managed by Rijkswaterstaat, and the 3-digit N-roads are generally Provincial. Some provinces also manage 2-digit N roads, such as the N34 in Drenthe or the N69 in North Brabant. Municipalities and water boards also manage N-roads.

Examples of national highways are the N48 and N65. By far the largest part of the N-roads are managed by the provincial road authorities. Several provincial roads have formerly been state highways; a street name such as the “rijksweg” or “rijksstraatweg” often recalls this. The provincial roads are classified into primary provincial roads with numbers N175 to N399 and secondary provincial roads with numbers N400 to N999. In the latter case, these are by no means always signposted.

Nevertheless, only a relatively small proportion of roads in the Netherlands are numbered as motorway or non-motorway, in total less than 10% of all roads in the Netherlands.

Numbering

The N-roads are zoned numbered. The numbering does not exactly correspond to province boundaries, but provinces often have primary (N1xx-N3xx) and secondary (N4xx-N9xx) in the same series under management. For example, N-roads with a number between N300 and N399 mainly run in the north and east of the country, but N-roads with a number between N200 and N299 mainly run in the west and south of the country. There are relatively few N numbers between N100 and N199. The same applies to secondary N-roads, for example numbers in the N400 series mainly run in the center and west of the country, while the N900 series lies in the north.

Categorization

The Dutch roads are categorized by means of sustainable safety into a through road, distributor road or access road, with the associated maximum speed and essential recognizability features, the road marking, also known as line markings. Roads are categorized according to the desired function and road use, although the two things do not always correspond.

Toll roads

The Dutch highway network is toll-free and is financed by fixed taxes such as motor vehicle tax, BPM and fuel excise duties. These taxes are among the highest in the world. Freight traffic also pays a heavy vehicle tax and foreign trucks pay toll via the Eurovignette. Some connections in the Netherlands are toll roads, such as the Westerscheldetunnel in the N62, the Kiltunnel in the N217 and, for example, the drawbridge in Nieuwerbrug. In addition, the government pays tolls for each vehicle passed in the Wijkertunnel (A9) andNorth tunnel (A15) through shadow toll. Foreign trucks pay toll in the Netherlands via the Eurovignette. It is planned to introduce a kilometer charge for freight traffic.

Speed ​​limits

Indication 130 km/h on the A2 near Everdingen during the trial period in 2011.

The maximum speed is intertwined with the principle of sustainably safe. Outside built-up areas, access roads (etw), distributor roads (gow) and through roads (sw) follow the limits of 60, 80 and 100 km/h respectively from the three road categories. The motorway is a special category of through-road and is not sustainably safe. Thus, only the motorways, also known as regional through roads, fall under the flow road. The Netherlands is one of the few countries in which motorways have their own speed limit and where this limit only follows from that status and not from the design of the road.

Within built-up areas, only etws and gows are distinguished with a limit of 30 and 50 km/h respectively. A limit of 70 km/h is sometimes applied on important through roads within the basin, often with separate lanes. Such roads are sometimes incorrectly referred to as stream roads. In practice, there are also a few motorways within the basin, but here a limit of 50 km/h (or 70 if indicated) applies without indication.

Outside the built-up area, 60 km/h applies on almost all unnumbered roads, mostly ETWs. Few countries have such a large share of the road network with a speed limit lower than the general speed limit outside built-up areas. In 2008 this road category accounted for 57% of the area of ​​non-urban roads outside built-up areas. Speed ​​limits are sometimes enforced on (motorways) roads with a section control. The legal correction for speed enforcement is 3%, which is very strict from an international perspective.

From 1 March 2011, experiments have been carried out on a number of motorway sections with a higher maximum speed of 130 km/h. Dynamax has partly been used for this and partly with a fixed permanent maximum speed of 130 km/h. On 1 September 2012, the general speed limit on motorways was increased to 130 km/h. There are exceptions to this, many motorways have a limit of 120, 100 or 80 km/h. This may depend, for example, on buildings in the vicinity of the road, on noise or emission ceilings in the area or on nature reserves (such as Natura 2000). There are also several roads where a speed limit applies during the night that differs from the daytime. An open rush hour laneoften means a custom limit. In December 2016, 61% of the motorways had a maximum speed of 130 km/h. Due to the nitrogen crisis, the maximum speed on motorways from 06:00 to 19:00 was reduced to 100 km/h on 16 March 2020.

Route numbering

For the main article on route numbering see road number.

The following route number systems are used in the Kingdom of the Netherlands:

  • European mainland:
    • National system of A, N, R and S route numbering 1 – 999
    • National System of U-Route Numbering 10 – 99
    • European route numbering from 1 – 999
  • Aruba: National Road Numbering System 1 – 7

National

The national numbering system from 1976 and the subsequent provincial route numbering system from 1992 (which is still used today) is based on the very first National Road Plan from 1927, but from the 1930s onward, several numbering systems have been reviewed.

The route numbering in the Netherlands forms one system. The numbering ranges from 1 – 999. The number can be preceded by an A, N, S, or R, indicating the type of road or the construction condition. If the prefix is ​​an “A” then the road has been developed as a motorway, with an “N” this is a non-motorway, with an “S” a city road and with an “R” a recreational-tourist road. The route numbering is divided as follows:

  • 1 – 99 are reserved for the main A and N roads. These are generally the national axes. Each route number appears only once in the number system.
  • 100 – 175 are reserved for the city roads and recreational roads. Each route number can be used multiple times in the number system and can occur at multiple locations in the Netherlands.
  • 176 – 999 are reserved for the secondary A and N roads. These are generally regional axes. Each route number appears only once in the number system.
    • 176 – 399 are reserved for the main secondary A and N roads. The route numbers are generally shown on the signage.
    • 400 – 999 are reserved for the minor secondary N roads. The route numbers are generally not shown on the signage.

Indication of road types in the route numbering:

  • A-number: Motorway. Recognizable by white letters on a red background.
  • N-number: Non-motorway. Recognizable by black letters on a yellow background. Can be a stream road, distributor road or access road.
  • S number: City Road. Recognizable by black letters on a white background, in a coil. City routes have been set up in various cities in the Netherlands in the form of S-routes.
  • R-number: Recreational-tourist road. These can be recognized by white letters on a brown background. Recreational routes (R-wegen) are also numbered in a number of areas in the Netherlands.

A route number can run over several types of roads when it comes to A and N numbers and says nothing about the manager of the road. In that case, only the leading letter changes. If a motorway becomes a non-motorway, the road can keep the same number. For example, route number 200 starts as a non-motorway with the designation N200 at the Ring A10, then changes into a highway west of Halfweg with the designation A200 and then changes again at Haarlem to the N200 until Zandvoort. In addition, the road between the A10 ring road and Zandvoort is managed by Rijkswaterstaat, a number of municipalities and the province of North Holland. This is also an obvious example that the route number says nothing about who manages the road. It makes the management system quite opaque for the road user.

When an A or N route merges into an S or R road, the unique route number will not be preserved, because the route numbering of S and R roads is numbered in the range from 100 to 175 and the numbering in each a separate area (urban or recreational-tourist area) in the Netherlands can be reused. Well-designed S or R numbering can help smooth the transition from the A or N number to the S or R number. For example, the A13 runs into the S113 near Rotterdam, and the N202 runs into the S102 near Amsterdam.

As mentioned above, it is not clear in advance from the road number who manages the road. In general, the following management situation can occur, classified according to road numbering:

  • 1 – 99: Road numbers 1 – 99 may be managed and maintained by municipalities, provinces and Rijkswaterstaat, but the vast majority of these are owned by Rijkswaterstaat. The roads that are managed and maintained by Rijkswaterstaat are called Rijkswegen. The deviant administrators in the range 1 – 99 are:
  1. N34 Witte Paal (N36) – De Punt (A28): Provinces of Overijssel and Drenthe.
  2. N35 A28 connection Zwolle – border Zwolle: Municipality of Zwolle.
  3. N62 border Belgium – A58 connection Heinkenszand: Province of Zeeland and NV Westerscheldetunnel
  4. N69 Eindhoven – Belgium: Since January 1, 2009 Province of North Brabant
  • 100 – 175: Road numbers 100 – 175 can be managed and maintained by municipalities, water boards, recreation boards, provinces and Rijkswaterstaat, but the vast majority of these belong to municipalities and a recreation board. The route number of an S-road takes precedence over that of an N-road, which means that both an N-number and an S-number can run on one road, with the S-number then applied to the signage.
  • 176 – 999: Road numbers 176 – 999 can be managed and maintained by provinces, Rijkswaterstaat or municipalities, but the vast majority of these are managed and maintained by one of the Dutch provinces. The roads that are managed and maintained by a province are called provincial roads. An exception to this is the city route number S200, which runs over roads of the municipality of The Hague and the province of South Holland, with the part of the province of South Holland administratively known as N440.

Other route numbering

  • U-routes: Alternative routes are fixed diversion routes for national N-roads and national highways in the event of a complete blockage. Recognizable by white letters on a blue background, using attachments (riders) on permanent signage. These generally run parallel to the blocked road from connection to connection. In principle, a fixed numbering is maintained for each blocked road in the range 10-99, but there are several exceptions to this.
  • E-roads: European roads are internationally designated roads in Europe, which are identified by the prefix “E” followed by 2 or 3 numbers. Recognizable by white letters on a green background. The European route number system can run on different A or N routes of the national system, or run along with part of it. If an E-route runs over an A-route, both route numbers are indicated, if an E-route runs over an N-route, a separate sign is possible 100 meters before the action point and 50 meters after the intersection.
  • Aruba: On the island of Aruba, which is also a country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a route number system is used of 6 numbered roads in the series 1 – 7. Recognizable by a white number with a trailing letter A or B, indicated in a box.

Road management

In the Netherlands, the main road authorities are Rijkswaterstaat, the provinces and the municipalities. In addition, there are a number of other road authorities such as water boards and large companies such as the port of Rotterdam.

The largest road authorities in the Netherlands are the municipalities that manage more than 120,000 kilometres, or more than 85% of all roads. The provinces manage approximately 6% of all roads and the central government manages approximately 4% of all roads. The rest is managed by other road authorities. Although the government manages only 4% of all roads, 50% of all vehicle kilometers are covered on them.

Length

Rural

The total length of all roads in the Netherlands per year in kilometers :

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
130.446 131,531 132.397 133,383 134.218 134,948 135.470 136.135 140.264 141.124 141.366 141.828

National highways

Of the national roads, 2,471 kilometers are motorways (excluding double numbering).

Note: these figures come from SWOV and CBS, but they probably relate to the number of kilometers of carriageway, and not kilometers of road. Presumably, motorways are counted twice. The Dutch motorway network covers 2,471 kilometres, but Rijkswaterstaat also manages approximately 500 kilometers of other national roads.

Length of roads owned, managed and maintained by Rijkswaterstaat. Length in kilometers per year:

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
4.892 4.997 5.104 5.136 5.178 5.204 5.012 5.050 5.218 5.253 5.227 5.266

Provincial roads

Length of roads owned, operated and maintained by a province. Length in kilometers per year:

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
7.885 7.866 7.856 7.799 7.743 7.745 7.899 7.848 7.932 7.939 7.877 7.900

Municipal roads

Length of roads owned, operated and maintained by municipalities. Length in kilometers per year:

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
113.569 114,300 115,396 116,451 117.228 117,868 118,494 119,266 119,739 120,487 120,800 121.180

Water board roads

Length of roads owned, managed and maintained by water boards. Length in kilometers per year:

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
7.171 7.176 7.103 7.059 7.060 7.166 7.181 7.180 7.208 7.231 7.241 7.243

Congestion

Although the Netherlands is known for being prone to traffic jams, congestion in Dutch cities is relatively low compared to many other European cities. In the TomTom Traffic Index of 2016, almost all larger cities in the Netherlands are in the bottom half of the list. At that time, Haarlem was the most congested city in the Netherlands and the 82nd most congested city in Europe. Zwolle was the least congested city in the Netherlands, and occupied the 213th position in the list of 215 cities.

Signage

A signpost according to the new motorway signage (NBA).

In the Netherlands, the ANWB lost its monopoly in placing signage in 2003. During that period, the central government took the position that it should put out signage to public tender on the basis of European regulations, and in addition it was felt that no innovation was taking place at the ANWB. Many local authorities took the same position at the time, so that the ANWB was no longer automatically assured of being allowed to place signage throughout the Netherlands. Rijkswaterstaat had contracted the signage of national roads to Tebodin. until 2014. Until 2009 Tebodin used a well-known subcontractor, ANWB Bewegwijzering. In addition, there are 2 more provinces in the Netherlands, the provinces of Overijssel and South Holland, which have carried out a tender for signage within the framework of European regulations, which was won by Tebodin for two years. The signposting in these provinces has been carried out in accordance with the Signposting Directive. Until 2014, ANWB Signposting was still in charge of many other road authorities.

Due to the breaking up of the monopoly on signage, uniform signage was no longer guaranteed. In the monopoly situation, the monopolist ANWB itself naturally ensured uniformity by designing its signs in the same way as standard. In the situation up to 2014, the uniformity of guidelines that governments and their contractors have to adhere to had to be uniform. Such a directive also existed; this is the 2005 Signposting Directive. However, this document was not declared universally binding. Governments were free to adhere to it or not. Players in the sign market could also report their own design to government authorities.

In the latter way, the ANWB in particular has reported to many of its customers with designs in the Redesign that it designed. Redesign was originally going to be the new standard of signage in the Netherlands, but that route was eventually canceled for the national roads at Rijkswaterstaat. The ANWB itself has continued to place signs in Redesign, which therefore deviated from the 2005 Signposting Directive. Contracting authorities have tolerated this, probably partly out of trust with the “good old” ANWB and unfamiliarity with the Signposting Directive.

Signage variants have also appeared in other ways that are not based on the Signposting Directive. The Municipality of Almelo can be mentioned as a prominent example. It has gone its own way by using upward pointing arrows on the non-signposts and interrupted piping around road numbers. Signs have appeared in Zoetermeer that are more similar to the variant prescribed in the 2005 Directive, but which differ quite significantly from it in appearance. Finally, Rotterdam can be mentioned. In the Redesignsigns of this city, a complete parking guidance has been integrated, using the otherwise completely non-occurring color code of green in the Netherlands. It seems that players in the signage market had developed an “anything goes” mentality, which focuses more on drawing their own plans (or, from the perspective of sign manufacturers, enabling them) rather than achieving the foreseeable future. well-functioning signage so uniformity is necessary.

In the meantime, Rijkswaterstaat did not sit still either. She has developed signposting for the through roads owned by the government, which is known as New Autobahn Signposting (NBA). Tests for this signage have been conducted at the Velperbroek junction on the A12 (since December 2006), at the Zaarderheiken junction on the A67 (since November 2007) and at the Zaandam junction on the A7 (since January 2008). This form of signage is characterized, among other things, by long arrows pointing upwards instead of the previously usual falling arrows. At the end of 2012, this method of motorway signage was incorporated into a new Signposting Directiveand has since been rolled out nationally, in 2016 a significant part of the signage had already been implemented according to the new directive.

Until 2014, work was done on a completely new guideline signage for all roads in the Netherlands. In 2013, NBA would be introduced on national roads and Redesign on all other roads managed by local authorities. On the urgent advice of the Association of Sign Manufacturers in mid-2013, the Platform Bewegwijzering finally decided to use 1 font for all signage in the Netherlands, as a result of which large parts of the Redesign have more or less been pushed aside. The Signposting Directive of 23 January 2014 is based on ascending arrows and the font Ee on motorways and Dd on non-motorways.

Road safety

Year Total Car Bicycle
1996 1251 609 239
1997 1235 591 264
1998 1149 603 212
1999 1186 587 227
2000 1166 543 233
2001 1083 504 225
2002 1066 503 195
2003 1088 496 219
2004 881 420 180
2005 817 356 181
2006 811 340 216
2007 791 317 189
2008 750 317 181
2009 720 296 185
2010 640 246 162
2011 661 231 200
2012 650 232 200
2013 570 193 184
2014 570 187 185
2015 621 224 185
2016 629 231 189
2017 613 201 206
2018 678 233 228
2019 661 237 203
2020 610 195 229
2021 582 175 207

Comparison with other countries

The Netherlands has structurally one of the lowest numbers of road deaths per 1 million inhabitants. In particular, the number of deaths among car occupants is very low. The Netherlands generally ranks in the top 5 safest countries in the world, along with countries such as Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Malta. In 2015, 37 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, well below the EU average, but just short of the top 5 safest EU countries.

Since 2010, however, the decline in the number of road deaths has stagnated. This phenomenon can be seen in several countries where the level of road deaths is low.

Taxes

Taxes on the possession and use of motor vehicles in the Netherlands are among the highest in the world.

Tax revenue

Type Revenue (2014) Revenue (2017) Revenue (2020)
Excise duty on light oil (petrol) €4,042 million €4,293 million € 3,916 million
Excise duty on other oil (diesel & LPG) €3,832 million €3,875 million € 3.485 million
Motor vehicle tax € 3,901 million €4,070 million €4,227 million
Tax on heavy motor vehicles € 142 million €172 million €187 million
Tax on passenger cars and motorcycles (BPM) €1,122 million €2,000 million € 1,504 million
VAT on excise duties € 1,653 million € 1,696 million € 1,554 million
Total €14,692 million €16,106 million € 14,873 million

Fuel tax

The fuel excise tax in the Netherlands is one of the highest in the world, which means that the Netherlands has one of the highest petrol prices in the world. As of 2014, due to the decreasing value of the Norwegian krone, the Netherlands even had the highest fuel price in Europe. Different excise duties apply to petrol, diesel and LPG. As of April 1, 2022, fuel excise duties have been temporarily reduced due to the sharp rise in fuel prices during that period. It concerned 17.3 cents for petrol, 11.1 cents for diesel and 4.1 cents for LPG/LNG.

Motor vehicle tax

In the Netherlands, every vehicle owner has to pay motor vehicle tax (MRB), also known as ‘road tax’. This is not a target tax but a general budget tax. The motor vehicle tax consists of a national part and a provincial part, also called the ‘provincial surcharges’. In particular, the motor vehicle tax on diesel vehicles is very high compared to other countries in the region. Partly because of this, the share of diesel cars in the Netherlands is lower than in most other countries in the region. The motor vehicle tax on LPG is also high, but this is compensated by the much lower excise tax on LPG.

The motor vehicle tax depends on the province in which you live, the fuel type and the weight of the vehicle. Different rates apply for trucks through the heavy motor vehicle tax (bzm).

Tax on passenger cars and motorcycles

The tax on passenger cars and motorcycles, known as the bpm, is a purchase tax on the purchase of a new vehicle. This tax used to bring in a lot of money, but due to the sharp drop in the number of new cars sold, the proceeds are not as high as for 2007. Also, from that moment on, the number of cars sold with tax benefits was much greater, especially for plug-in hybrid cars. As of 2016, the tax benefits were phased out, so that BPM revenues are expected to rise again. Between 2008 and 2014, revenues fell by approximately €2.4 billion, with revenues declining by nearly 70 percent.

At the bpm, a tax has to be paid on the list value of the vehicle. This depends on the CO2 emissions. Electric cars are exempt. The bpm must also be paid when a vehicle is imported from abroad.

Due to the bpm, passenger cars in the Netherlands are quickly thousands of euros more expensive than comparable models in Belgium or Germany. For some models with a large engine, the price difference can amount to (several) tens of thousands of euros.

Netherlands Road Network