Vehicle registration plates of the Netherlands

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Dutch vehicle registration plate

Vehicle registration plates of the Netherlands are vehicle registration plates issued by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority,[1] RDW (nl:RDW (Dienst Wegverkeer)).

RDW 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 scheme 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.

Earlier schemes[edit]

The Netherlands introduced a system of vehicle registration plates on 26 April 1898 – the third country in the world to do so, after France in 1893 and Germany in 1896.[2] A plate bearing the number 1 was issued to a Mr J. van Dam, who purchased the first 100% Dutch-built motorcar, which was manufactured at his own Groninger Motor-Rijtuigen Fabriek.[3] Plate numbers stayed with the owner, unlike the present system. From 1906, a new system used the format xx-ddddd, where xx was a province code and ddddd a serial number. This system lasted until 1951, when the current system was introduced.

Province codes[edit]

L-39272 County licenseplate Utrecht 02.JPG

Numbering schemes[edit]

The current Dutch licence plate system uses black letters on a light-reflecting yellow background. The previous series used white reflecting letters on a dark-blue background. Their numbering schemes however are the same.

Dutch car number plates can be formatted as follows:

Year Format Side Code[clarification needed] Comment
1951–1965 Dutch plate blue old code 1.png Side Code 1
1965–1973 Dutch plate blue old code 2.png Side Code 2 From 6 December 2016 ZZ-vehicles
1973–1978 Dutch plate blue old code 3.png Side Code 3 In 1976 and 1977 the color blue was slightly lighter and the font was different
1978–1991 Dutch plate yellow old code4.png Side Code 4 Several letters have been reserved for specific types of vehicles
1991–1999 Dutch plate yellow old code5.png Side Code 5
1999–2008 Dutch plate yellow NL code 6.png Side Code 6 First in GAIK[clarification needed](Gecontroleerde Afgifte en Inname Kentekenplaten, eng.: controlled issue and taking of licenceplates) series (except for 99-DX-XX-series), new font, black border and blue patch with NL were added.

This series is currently issued for motorcycles (99-MX-XX).

2006–present Dutch plate yellow NL code 7.png Side Code 7 This series is currently issued for heavy goods vehicles (99-BXX-9).
Dutch plate yellow NL code 8.png Side Code 8 The first letter can be K, S, T, X, or Z only; the V series for light commercial vehicles is already exhausted, and all other letters are reserved for export number plates.
Dutch plate yellow NL code 9.png Side Code 9 This series is currently issued for light commercial vehicles (VX-999-X) and from 30 March 2015 also for passenger cars.[4]
2011–2015 Dutch plate yellow NL code 10.png Side Code 10 This series is issued for mopeds (D-001-BB till F-999-ZZ) and from 14 October 2016 also for light commercial vehicles (V-999-XX).
2015–present Dutch plate yellow NL code 11.png Side Code 11 This series is currently issued for mopeds (DBB-01-B till FZZ-99-Z)
Yet unused Dutch plate yellow NL code 12.png Side Code 12 This series is not yet in use
2016–present Dutch plate yellow NL code 13.png Side Code 13 This series is now in use for agriculture cars which in the Netherlands didn't need license plates, but did need them in Germany and Belgium. Only GV is used from 0-GV-001 (till 9-GV-999 in the future).
Yet unused Dutch plate yellow NL code 14.png Side Code 14 This series is not yet in use

Nowadays the letters used do not include vowels, so 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 issued in strict alphabetical/numeric order. Thus a Dutch licence plate gives an indication of the date of registration of a car, but no information about where in the country the car comes from, or to whom it belongs.

Other formats[edit]

With the introduction of the GAIK series, several other formats have been introduced as well. All background colours used are retroreflective.

Format Comment
XX-XX-99 Used for trailers with a maximum weight of less than 750 kg, registration matches the vehicle pulling the trailer. Also used for export, temporary and provisional (single coded, H for 1 month and Z for 1 week) vehicles.
XX-99-99 Trader plates, used by automotive companies to register current stock under their insurance, these plates are to be used if the car is used for a test-drive and has no insurance on its own license plate. It is forbidden to park a car on the public road with trader plates fitted.
Netherlands taxi license plate graphic.png
Taxi plates are mandatory since December 2000 for vehicles used to transport people, but aren't part of the public transportation system.

Recent changes[edit]

The licence plates have subtly changed shape in 2002, when not only the letter type (or font) changed, but also a few other changes were made.

  • Combatting fraudulent reports of stolen licence plates (giving one three weeks to break speed limits with an alibi), licence plates are replaced immediately but using the same number. The new licence plate is tagged with a small number 1 over the first dash, that is increased with each new plate.
  • A blue background is used for taxis.
  • White letters on a blue or black background are used for classic cars older than 1 January 1978 and with a registration number in Side Code 1, 2 or 3.
  • Black letters on a white background are used for small trailers that hide the car's actual licence plate.
  • Large trailers, caravans etc. have now got their own black/yellow licence plate.
  • The letter Y is no longer used for cars, but instead for fast motor boats.
  • The letter combinations SDB to SDZ and also SSB to SSZ are not issued because 'SD' and 'SS' (and also SA) continue to have fascist connotations in the Netherlands. However, registrations with the letter combination NSB were issued in 2010, although these were recalled because these were the initials of the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging.[5]

Mopeds have after F-999-ZZ now the new side code 11, beginning with DBB-00-B.[6] As the old series of licence plates for cars, big and small lorries has come to an end, new vehicles are registered with marks in the format DD-LLL-D (where 'D' is a digit, and 'L' is a letter). Small lorries have also D-LLL-DD and from January 2013 LL-DDD-L is used for small lorries and from October 2016 L-DDD-LL is now used. The registration plate format for personal cars is D-LLL-DD and issuing of this is started on 5 March 2013 because the DD-LLL-D combinations are exhausted on that day. From 30 March 2015 DD-LLL-D combinations are also exhausted and LL-DDD-L is now in use.

Current series[edit]

Motor cars[edit]

  • 01-DB-BB, registration 1999/2000
  • 01-FB-BB, registration 2000
  • 01-GB-BB, registration 2000/2001
  • 01-HB-BB, registration 2001/2002
  • 01-JB-BB, registration 2002
  • 01-LB-BB, registration 2002/2003
  • 01-NB-BB, registration 2003/2004
  • 01-PB-BB, registration 2004/2005
  • 01-RB-BB, registration 2005
  • 01-SB-BB, registration 2005/2006
  • 01-TB-BB, registration 2006/2007
  • 01-XB-BB, registration 2007
  • 01-ZB-BB, registration 2007/2008
  • 01-GBB-1, registration 2008 (00 does not exist in the G-series)
  • 00-HBB-1, registration 2008/2009
  • 00-JBB-1, registration 2009
  • 00-KBB-1, registration 2009/2010
  • 00-LBB-1, registration 2010
  • 00-NBB-1, registration 2010/2011
  • 00-PBB-1, registration 2011
  • 00-RBB-1, registration 2011
  • 00-SBB-1, registration 2011
  • 00-TBB-1, registration 2012
  • 00-XBB-1, registration 2012
  • 00-ZBB-1, registration 2012/2013
  • 1-KBB-00, registration 2013
  • 1-SBB-00, registration 2013
  • 1-TBB-00, registration 2013/2014
  • 1-XBB-00, registration 2014
  • 1-ZBB-00, registration 2014/2015
  • GB-001-B, registration 2015
  • HB-001-B, registration 2015/2016
  • JB-001-B, registration 2016
  • KB-001-B, registration 2016
  • (L was reserved for agricultural vehicles but was not used after the Tweede Kamer voted against a proposal for agricultural license plates.)
  • NB-001-B, registration 2016/2017
  • PB-001-B, registration 2017
  • RB-001-B, registration 2017/2018
  • SB-001-B, registration 2018
  • TB-001-B, registration 2018
  • XB-001-B, registration 2018/2019 (current series)
  • ZB-001-B, registration 2019


  • MB-01-BB, registration 1979/1998
  • MB-BB-01, registration 1998/2011
  • 01-MB-BB, registration 2011 (current series, now MK)


  • 01-DBB-1, registration 2005/2006
  • 01-FBB-1, registration 2006
  • DB-001-B, registration 2006
  • FB-001-B, registration 2006/2008
  • D-001-BB, registration 2008/2011
  • F-001-BB, registration 2011/2015
  • DBB-01-B, registration 16 January 2015 (current series, now DSR)

DBS-01-D to DBS-99-D and DBS-01-S to DBS-99-S are not used, to avoid SD and SS combinations. Also in the future, DxS-01-D to DxS-99-D and DxS-01-S to DxS-99-S (x is the second letter, D to Z) will not be used, for the same reason.

Lorries (weighing more than 3.5 tons)[edit]

  • BB-BB-01, registration 1994/2012
  • 00-BBB-1, registration 2012 (current series, now BLP)

Lorries (weighing 3.5 tons or less)[edit]

  • 01-VB-BB, registration 1998/2001
  • 01-BB-BB, registration 2001/2006
  • 01-VBB-1, registration 2006/2009
  • 1-VBB-00, registration 2009/2012
  • VB-001-B, registration 2012/2016
  • V-001-BB, registration 2016 (current series, now V-TH)


  • WB-00-01, registration 2000/2008
  • 00-WB-01, registration 2000/2008
  • 00-01-WB, registration 2000/2008
  • WB-01-BB, registration 2000/2008
  • WB-BB-01, registration 2000/2008
  • 01-WB-BB, registration 2008 (current series, now WT)


  • OB-00-01, registration 1979/1988
  • OB-01-BB, registration 1988 (current series, now OR)

Special-use licence plates[edit]

Letters Description
B, E, S
Caribbean Netherlands license plate (Saba).png
Caribbean Netherlands. License plates are North American standard size and do not carry an EU flag. License plates start with one letter: B for Bonaire, E for St. Eustatius and S for Saba, followed by three or four digits. The colour of the plate differs per island. Some plates start with different letters, sometimes similar to that of the European Netherlands: V for commercial vehicles, TX for taxi, D for governmental vehicles, AB for buses.
Royal Dutch License plate AA-64.jpg
Used for vehicles registered to the Dutch royal family. (AA-??) or (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 licence registrations have a separate taxation class, though some 10% of the cars are registered as commercial. A commercial licence is often called "grijs kenteken" (gray registration), referring to the previous colour of the car's registration papers, which is now, like commercial vehicles, green. (XB-??-??), (??-??-XB), (??-XB-??). Above capacity of 3,500 ton (BX-??-XX) till (??-BXX-?). And till capacity of 3,500 ton (VX-??-XX) till (VX-???-X).
BE Classic commercial vehicles (BE-??-??).
Oldtimer kenteken.jpg
Imported classic cars 40 years of older. (DE-??-??) till (DZ-??-??).
YA, YB and YD Imported classic cars younger than 40 years (yongtimers). (??-YA-??) till (??-YD-??).
KL to KZ & LM, LO, LU, DM
Dutch Military Police license plate.JPG
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). Example: (KL-??-??) and (??-KL-??) which is used from Royal Army. Also DM but only in the sidecodes 7, 9 and 10. The third letter is B till Z but not an A, C, E, I, M, O, Q, U, W, or Y. But in side code 9 KB till KZ is now in use for common personal cars instead of for military vehicles.
Netherlands diplomatic license plate CD-79-31.jpg
"Corps Diplomatique" and is used for diplomats (CD-??-??) or (??-CD-??).
Netherlands diplomatic license plate CDJ-253.jpg
Lawyers or Diplomats working for the International Court of Justice (CDJ-???).
Werknemers VN in Nederland.JPG
Used for private vehicles of Dutch and German military servants working for British Forces Germany/NATO. They are issued by the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Military Police in Driebergen. They carry a different font, similar to that of the German license plates, to allow them being produced in Germany if necessary.[7]
NATO vehicles. RC stands for 'Région Centrale', dating from when the NATO headquarters were situated in France. Currently in use by Joint Force Command Brunssum. Newer license plates are yellow, look like the regular ones and have dashes between the letters and numbers and in the middle of the numbers (similar to Side Code 1, but yellow plates).
Netherlands licenseplate motorcycle.JPG
Motorcycles. Several letters in sidecode 1. After that (MX-??-XX) till (??-MX-XX).
BN or GN
BN plate of the Netherlands (special plate).JPG
For vehicles whose owner is not liable to taxation such as staff from embassies without diplomatic status, consulates or international organisations such as ESA, ICC, UN-ICJ or OPCW (BN or GN-??-??), (??-??-BN or GN), (??-BN or GN-??).
Dutch special license plate (Grens Verkeer) 01.jpg
For agricultural vehicles that within the Netherlands, do not need a license plate but may cross national borders with countries where they do (i.e. Belgium) (grensverkeer/border traffic) (GV-??-??).
Dutch dealer license plate (new green).JPG
For car merchants, e.g. for test-drives with unregistered cars (green plate) (HA or HF or HH or FH-??-??). For mopeds HC in side code 1 is used.
Old Dutch moped plate.jpg
Dutch mopeds abroad (has been abolished with the introduction of registration plates for mopeds in 2005) (HH-??-??).
ZM, ZF, NM Secondhands motorbikes.
Nederlands kenteken Qbuzz 4203 Utrecht.jpg
For vehicles with a special exemption to enter public roads, such as cranes. Vehicles with these license plates do not need a periodic check-up. The extra long, double articulated buses in Utrecht also carry ZZ license plates. (ZZ-??-??).
Dutch trailer plate 02.jpg
Heavy trailers ('O'pleggers). (OX-??-?? or OX-??-XX) O is only used as the first letter!
Medium-light trailers and caravans having own registration. (WX-??-??) till (??-WX-XX).
AF Used by Allied Forces Northern Europe vehicles. (AF-XX-??)
MM-BS and LBT in side code 8 Used for cars which have a limited speed 25 or 40 km/h, read and see also and regarding LBT see

This list is not exhaustive. The Dutch Wikipedia article nl:Nederlands kenteken contains more exceptions.

Vehicle registration[edit]

Since January 1, 2014, the Netherlands has an all plastic vehicle registration on credit card format. This and the driving licence (which is the same size) are the only things you have to carry with you while driving in the Netherlands. This registration looks the same (green) for every vehicle category, only the information on the card differs. It has a chip which contains more detailed information about the vehicle. All previously issued vehicle registrations will remain valid until the car changes ownership, or until when the owner requests replacement vehicle registration documents to be issued. While you previously needed a so-called overschrijvingsbewijs (a separate document that came with the vehicle registration) in order to sell your vehicle, this has now been replaced with a code. If you bring the registration card and the correct code you can sell the vehicle, even if you do not have the original letter (that comes with the new car registration) stating the code.

Vehicle registration card


  1. ^ "About RDW". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Geschiedenis van de kentekenplaat". Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Groninger Motorrijtuigen Fabriek". Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Dutch call back car licence plates with 'Nazi' initials". Daily Telegraph. 2 November 2010.
  6. ^ (Dutch) Changes 2014 Q2
  7. ^ Archived 24 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

  •, latest news and all information about Dutch License Plates
  • [1] RDW, the Netherlands Vehicle Authority
  • [2] public vehicle registration data
  • Matriculasdelmundo, information, images and pictures of Netherlands license plates (Spanish)