Four weeks ago I bought a scooter. I sold it today, for reasons I will explain in my next blog post. As with most things in life, it proved to be a learning experience and I was quite surprised about how the process worked. The fact that I have a UK driving licence is the only thing that threw a tiny spanner in the works. Apart from that, buying a scooter in the Netherlands was a very easy thing to do and the ownership documents were sorted out at lightning speed. Much faster than when I used to buy motorcycles and cars in the UK.
I’ve decided to write this article for expats and other travelers who want to buy a scooter in the Netherlands. The process will be pretty much the same for a motorcycle or a car, but my experience was with a scooter, so that’s what I’m going to concentrate on.
Scooter Types in the Netherlands
Before you can buy a scooter in the Netherlands, you will need to give some thought to the size of scooter you require. There are three kinds of scooter on the road in the Netherlands. First of all, there are big ones that have a similar power to motorbikes and travel on the roads with the cars. Then there are two smaller scooter-types that fall into one of two categories. Bromfiets have a similar power to the 50cc scooters and motorcycles that are classed as mopeds in the UK. They have a yellow number plate. Officially, bromfiets are not meant to be capable of exceeding a maximum speed of 45km/h. In reality, they are likely to be capable of reaching a top speed of 55km/h. If they’ve been souped-up (illegal) they will be capable of going faster still. Sometimes riders of this type of scooter are expected to travel on the normal roads with the motorcycles and cars, at others times they have to move into the cycle lane. This can be quite a pain because it’s easy to miss the signs that show a lane change is required. Bromfiets are not allowed on the motorways.
Snorfiets scooters often look almost identical to bromfiets scooters, but they have a blue number plate instead of a yellow one and have a maximum speed of 35km/h. They have to travel in the cycle lanes at all times.
How to Buy a Scooter in the Netherlands
I bought my scooter from a scooter dealer, but the process is similar for people who are buying a scooter privately.
When buying a scooter from a dealer, after the sale has been made the dealer can usually go online and transfer ownership of the scooter immediately. The dealer who sold me my scooter was going to charge me €12 for doing this, but he was unable to proceed because my driving license was not issued in the Netherlands. That meant I had to go to the local RDW. The cost of transferring ownership at the RDW was a little over €10.
The RDW is the Netherlands Vehicle Authority in the mobility chain. It’s a little like the DVLA in the UK. However, the UK DVLA conducts all its business from Swansea, Wales. The Dutch RDW has premises in many of the larger cities, so it’s easy to visit an RDW in person and sort matters out quickly. In order to buy a scooter in the Netherlands (or any other vehicle) you need to be an official resident of the Netherlands. Not a citizen. Just someone who has an address in the Netherlands and has registered with the local council. I registered with the local council nearly two years ago, but the RDW required proof of my residency. That meant I had to go to the local council and pay for an uittreksel. It’s basically just an extract from the council records that shows your name, age, and address, etc. It’s good for three months, so if you need it for another purpose within that time you won’t need to pay again.
All of the problems I had arose from the fact that I had not got around to exchanging my UK driving licence for a Dutch one. People who have already done this will find things simple as pie. Less than 24-hours after I’d provided the RDW with the necessary documents (they needed to see my passport too), the ownership documents arrived with the post. I was amazed at how fast it was. When I bought vehicles in the UK it sometimes took weeks for me to get the logbook. The thing that I found most incredible was I also received a small plastic card, the same size as a credit card, that had all the important registration details on it, along with a built-in electronic chip. This kind of card is called a kentekenbewijs and when you are driving a vehicle in the Netherlands you need to have it with you. That’s the law. Had I had a Dutch driving license, the chances are I would have received the kentekenbewijs the day after I bought the scooter.
How to Sell a Scooter in the Netherlands
The hardest thing about selling a scooter in the Netherlands is likely to be finding a buyer. You can transfer vehicle ownership at stores and supermarkets that have the relevant terminal and a lot of them do. The RDW provides vehicle owners with a code. When the person operating the terminal receives the code and is presented with the kentekenbewijs they know you are the rightful owner, enter the new owner’s information, and the process is complete.
Scooter Running Costs and Expenses
In the UK, moped owners need to pay for insurance, road tax, and a yearly MOT (Ministry of Transport Test) that makes sure the vehicle is still in roadworthy condition. In the Netherlands, people who buy a bromfiets or snorfiets scooter will only have to pay for insurance and, of course, some fuel for the tank. The insurance cost for a small scooter in the Netherlands is dirt cheap. I was only paying around €6 per month. That was for the most basic cover. A level of cover similar to Third Party, Fire and Theft in the UK would have cost me around €10 per month.