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Netherlands – Holland, Dutch License Plates

The Dutch or Netherlands or Holland license plates are issued by national traffic agency Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW).  Dutch vehicle registration plates are assigned bearing the same “number” (a sequence of characters composed of letters and digits) as that shown on the vehicle’s registration document. The numbering schemes used bears no relation to the place of a vehicle’s registration or ownership, and numbers – which are issued in strict time order – identify the vehicle, not its owner. Thus if a vehicle changes ownership the registration number remains unchanged.

The Netherlands/Holland introduced a system of vehicle registration plates on the 26th April 1898 – the third country in the world to do so, after France in 1893 and Germany in 1896.  Originally, plate numbers stayed with the owner, unlike the present system. From 1906 a new system used the format LL-NNNNN, where LL was a province code and NNNNN a serial number. This system lasted until 1951, when the current system was introduced.


A = Groningen

B = Friesland

D = Drenthe

E = Overijssel

G, GZ, GX = Noord Holland

H, HZ, HX = Zuid Holland

K = Zeeland

M = Gelderland

N = Noord Brabant

L = Utrecht

P = Limburg


The current Dutch license plate colors are black on reflective yellow plates.  For Taxis the colors are black on a reflective yellow background.  Dutch (Holland/Netherlands) Taxi license plates are: Black on a reflective blue background.

Dutch car number plates can be formatted as follows

1999–2008 NL 99-XX-XX Side Code 6 First in GAIK[clarification needed](Gecontroleerde Afgifte en Inname Kentekenplaten, eng.: controlled issue and taking of license plates)  series (except for 99-DX-XX-series), new font, black border and blue patch with NL were added.
2006–present NL 99-XXX-9 Side Code 7
NL 9-XXX-99 Side Code 8
NL XX-999-X Side Code 9
NL X-999-XX Side Code 10

Letters nowadays do not include vowels as to avoid profane or obscene language. To avoid confusion with a zero, the letters C and Q are also omitted. Letters and numbers are given out in strict alphabetical/numeric order. Hence, a Dutch license plate says all about the date of registration of a car, but nothing about where the car comes from or to whom it belongs.

Other Formats

With the introduction of the GAIK series, several other formats have been introduced as well





XX-XX-99 Used for trailers with a maximum weight of less than 750 KG, registration matches the vehicle pulling the trailer
XX-99-99 Dealer plates, used by dealerships to register current stock under their insurance, these plates have to be used when the car is used for a test-drive.
XX-XX-99 Taxi plates are mandatory since December 2000, also seen a lot on cars used by doctors as these are usually managed by specialized taxi services.

Special-use license plates



AA Used for vehicles registered to the Dutch royal family. (AA-??)
B, V The B in the first letter position used to refer to a “Bedrijfswagen” (commercial vehicle): a special status for cars that are exclusively used for commercial purposes. Commercial license registrations have a separate taxation class, though some 10% of the cars are registered as commercial. A commercial license is often called “grijs kenteken” (gray registration), referring to the color of the car’s registration papers.
BE Classic commercial vehicles (BE-??-??)
DE, DH, DL, DM, DR, AE, AH, AL, AM, AR Imported classic cars. (DE-??-??) till (AR-??-??)
KL to KZ & LM, LO, LU Military Vehicles: (KL, KN to KZ: Royal Army, KM: Koninklijke Marine’s(Royal Navy), LM: Luchtmacht (Air Force), KP: Regular car from the Koninklijke landmacht (Royal Army), KV: Koninklijke Marechaussee (Royal Constabulary). (KL-??-??) and (??-KL-??)
CD “Corps Diplomatique” and is used for diplomats (CD-??-??) or (??-CD-??)
CDJ Lawyers or Diplomats working for the International Court of Justice
M Motorcycles (ML-??-??)
BN or GN For vehicles whose owner is not liable to taxation such as staff from embassies without diplomatic status, consulates or international organisations such as ESA (BN or GN-??-??), (??-??-BN or GN)
GV For agricultural vehicles that may cross national borders (grensverkeer) (GV-??-??) or (??-??-GV)
HA, HF, FH For car merchants, e.g. for test-drives with unregistered cars (Green plate). (HA-??-??)
HH Dutch mopeds abroad (has been abolished with the introduction of registration plates for mopeds in 2005)
ZZ For vehicles with a special exemption to enter public roads, such as cranes. (ZZ-??-??)
O Heavy trailers (‘O’pleggers). (OX-??-?? or OX-??-XX) O is only used as the first letter!
W Medium-light trailers and caravans having own registration. (WX-??-?? or ??-WX-?? or ??-??-WX or WX-??-XX or WX-XX-??
dutch license plates
dutch license plates
dutch license plates

One Response to “Netherlands – Holland, Dutch License Plates”

  1. Cathal

    Is there any web site available to search the cars with registration number plate? I need to see what engine or which model of specific model car is it ?


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