Driving in Amsterdam
Amsterdam isn’t a city that was designed for a large amount of car traffic. The streets that line the canals are narrow and difficult to navigate traffic tends to back up easily. In general, it’s better to take public transport to and within the city, or simply rent a bike.
However, if you’re planning to visit several different areas within The Netherlands, you may decide to rent a car and that obviously will involve driving in Amsterdam. And while having a car does make it easier to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam to anywhere else within the country, there are some things to keep in mind before you get behind the wheel.
First, you of course need to have a valid driver’s license. Fortunately, The Netherlands allows tourists to use the driver’s license from their county of origin if they come from a European Union country, Iceland, or Norway. Depending on the county, citizens of non EU countries may want to consider getting an International Driver’s License. If you’re not from the EU, check with your embassy to see if you need an International Driver’s License to drive in the Netherlands which covers you for driving in Amsterdam.
Parking is also an issue&emdash; and can get expensive. Since the city wasn’t designed for heavy car traffic, driving into the city is discouraged, and you’ll find that there is no free parking in Amsterdam at all they simply don’t want you driving in the city. Paid parking is not marked, so even if a parking area looks like it’s free, it’s not. You’ll need to look for the ticketing machine, or risk getting a boot on your car.
When driving in Amsterdam, it’s better to use P and R (Park and Ride) facilities; you simply park your car at the edge of the city and finish your journey by public transport.