Renting a car in the Netherlands: driving in Amsterdam and beyond
Amsterdam might be a city of cyclists, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from driving to, from, or in the Dutch metropole. In fact, renting a car in the Netherlands could be the perfect way to explore the country beyond the capital!
But what should you look for in a rental car? When is it worthwhile to rent a car in Amsterdam? And how do you go about it all?
Easy! Let’s have a look at everything you need to know about car rentals in Amsterdam (and beyond).
- Requirements for renting a car in Amsterdam and the Netherlands
- Comparing car rental agencies in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Costs of renting a car in Amsterdam
- Picking up your Dutch rental car
- Parking your rental car in Amsterdam
- Pros and cons of renting a car in Amsterdam
- Renting a car in Amsterdam: frequently asked questions
Requirements for renting a car in Amsterdam and the Netherlands
When it comes to renting a car in the Netherlands, different rental companies have different requirements for prospective drivers.
So, make sure that you’ve actually read those terms and conditions before signing off on your sweet ride.
In all cases, you’ll need a valid driver’s licence (duh). However, if the details on your licence are written in another alphabet than the Roman one, you’ll need an international permit to drive in the Netherlands.
What is the International Driving Permit (IDP) and how do I apply? The IDP is regulated by the UN and is an official translation of your national driver’s licence, not a replacement for it (i.e. bring both!). You need to apply for an IDP with your own country’s issuer before travelling to the Netherlands.
So, what do they need to read on that licence? Well, first of all, your age.
Most car rental agencies in Amsterdam and beyond require you to be 21 to take out a rental from them. Many also want you to have at least one or two years of driving experience.
Comparing car rental agencies in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Sounds vague? Alright, let’s break the tables out! We’ve done the legwork for you. These are the requirements and the most important knowledge for the five biggest rental car agencies in the Netherlands.
|Rental agency||Age||Years of driving experience||Surcharge for under-25s||Other requirements|
|Hertz||21 or 25, depending on the car group.||One||€12.10 per day, €48.40 per week, or €72.60 per month (incl. tax).||Specific requirements for licences issued from China, Japan, Korea, or Vietnam.|
|Avis||21 or 25, depending on the car group.||One||Yes, price varies depending on the car type (€20-24 per day, and max €240).||None|
|Sixt||21||Two||Yes, price varies depending on the car type.||None|
|Europcar||21 or 25, depending on the car group.||One||None||None|
|Enterprise||18 or 25, depending on the car group.||One||None||None|
Costs of renting a car in Amsterdam
Unfortunately, renting a car in Amsterdam is not always a cheap endeavour. Of course, you have to pay the rental fees, but on top of that comes gas, parking expenses, and (potentially) insurance.
Since gas seems to get more expensive by the minute and parking in Amsterdam deserves a section of its own, we’ll break down rental, toll, and insurance costs below.
Rental fees in the Netherlands
Prices for car rentals in Amsterdam vary wildly, but sometimes you can be lucky to scoop up a good deal! To give a rough estimate, the keys to an economy vehicle could be yours for only €30-60 per day in the off-season.
Generally, you’ll probably want to set aside €60-100 per day for an economy car if you want to tour the Dutch countryside in the summer.
If you’re booking last minute or want something a bit snazzier than a Kia, a rental car can set you back €100-300 per day.
Our tip? Book a ride well in advance and ask yourself whether you really need to drive a Volvo or BMW to enjoy your vacation.
Tolls in Holland
Unlike other European countries, the Netherlands does not have any toll roads, which makes driving around the country much simpler (and cheaper!).
The only places you’ll encounter toll booths are by the Kiltunnel in Dordrecht and the Western Scheldt Tunnel in Zeeland.
You’ll be paying a max of €5 to pass the Western Scheldt Tunnel and only €2 for the Kiltunnel if driving a normal car.
Rental car insurance in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, fire insurance and third-party liability insurance are included in the price of all car rentals.
Generally, you can choose whether you want to pay for a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and/or Theft protection (TP).
For most car rentals, these aren’t mandatory insurances, and the terms and conditions vary per agency. So, make sure you read that fine print to make an informed decision about your insurance package.
In some cases, your credit card may offer some sort of insurance on car rentals as a benefit of having an account. That could save you some great cash!
Picking up your Dutch rental car
There are 55 car rental locations in the Netherlands, meaning heaps of pick-up points. This way, you’re sure to find a place that suits your arrival location and travel itinerary.
The most popular city to rent a car in is Amsterdam. There, you’ll find several agencies at transport hubs such as Schipol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal station — but there are also agencies scattered around the city.
If you’re planning on renting a car from a smaller city or town in the Netherlands, we recommend checking what rental agencies operate there.
When picking up your rental car, make sure to bring:
- Your national driver’s licence,
- International Driving Permit (IDP), if applicable,
- A valid ID (such as your passport),
- Any other documentation specified by the rental agency.
Parking your rental car in Amsterdam
Sometimes, it seems like the most difficult thing when renting a car in the Netherlands is finding a place to park it — especially in Amsterdam.
But while you may not notice a ton of available parking spots when first glancing at the cityscape, there are actually more than meet the eye.
If you’re brave enough to parallel park along the canals in true Dutch fashion, you can opt for on-street parking. These spots are plentiful — but busy and expensive.
If you need to park your rental car for longer periods while you explore the city by foot, we recommend getting a day or week ticket to save some bucks.
Generally, a better option than on-street parking is to seek out one of the city’s parking garages.
Looking for cheap parking in Amsterdam? Of course you are! The further away you are from the city centre the goedkoper (cheaper) parking will be. However, the only places you’ll find free parking are in Amsterdam-Noord.
If you’re not put off by parking on the outskirts of Amsterdam, check out the municipality’s Park and Ride (P+R) discounts!
Tip: The municipality of Amsterdam has an interactive map showing the hourly prices in the city’s different parking zones.
Pros and cons of renting a car in Amsterdam
As the organisational freaks we are, we love a good pro and con list — and we bet you do as well. So here goes!
- Booking a car rental in Amsterdam is easy! Not only do you have heaps of rental agencies, but there are also plenty of pick-up points to choose from.
- The road network in the Netherlands is extensive and well maintained, making driving a rental around the country a breeze.
- This mighty country is actually quite small, so it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have to drive for more than three hours.
- There aren’t any toll roads in the Netherlands, so you don’t have to budget money for that as you would in other European countries.
- Renting a car in Amsterdam can be expensive.
- There is almost no free parking in Dutch cities.
- Driving in the city centre is not advised due to the many cyclists and narrow roads.
Renting a car in Amsterdam: frequently asked questions
Is it necessary to rent a car in Amsterdam?
No, renting a car in Amsterdam is not necessary. You can easily get around the city by foot, bike, or using public transport. However, if you want to explore the surrounding cities or the countryside, renting a car might be a good idea.
Is it easy to drive in Amsterdam?
Driving in Amsterdam can be a challenge due to the city centre’s narrow roads and the many cyclists. How easy you’ll find driving in the Dutch capital depends on what you’re used to. Is it easier than driving in Paris? Yes. Is it easier than driving in Berlin? Probably not.
How expensive is parking in Amsterdam?
Parking in Amsterdam costs as little as €1.40 per hour on the outskirts of the city but up to €7.50 per hour in the city centre.
What do you need to rent a car in Amsterdam?
To rent a car in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general), you’ll need a valid driver’s licence, a valid ID, and any additional documents requested by the rental agency.
If your licence is written in a non-Roman alphabet, you’ll also need an International Driving Permit.
Do you need an international driver’s licence to rent a car in the Netherlands?
You do not need an International Driving Permit unless your national driver’s licence is written in a non-roman alphabet. If that is the case, remember to bring both when you pick up your car rental.
Can you rent a car in Amsterdam and drive to a different country?
In most cases, you can pick up your car rental in Amsterdam and drive to other European countries without additional costs. However, this will depend on the terms and conditions for your specific hire, so make sure to read them.
Do you have any tips for renting a car in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!
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