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 RDW (Dutch Vehicle Authority) [nl].[1]

RDW vehicle registration plates are assigned bearing the same "number" which is a sequence of characters composed of letters and digits as that is 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.

But if the car is a taxi or made before 1977, it will have a blue number plate. Taxis will have a blue number plate because they pay a different amount of tax to let people into the car legally, although if a taxi does not have a blue number plate on it, it is an illegal taxi and will let people into their car illegally; the driver will charge a lesser amount of money to the person in the car.

A trade plate is a temporary number plate used by motor traders or vehicle testers to save them the cost and time to register and tax every vehicle temporarily in their possession. If somebody has a trade plate on their vehicle, that number plate will be green. (See other formats below)

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 one J. van Dam, who purchased the first 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 license plate system uses black letters on a light-reflecting yellow background, although white reflecting letters on a dark-blue background are allowed for vehicles built before 1977. Since 2000, the blue band with the European flag and NL has been mandatory for all vehicles except vehicles built before 1977.

Dutch license plates can be formatted as follows:

Year Format Format (Sidecode) Comment
1951–1965 Dutch plate blue old code 1.png 1 This series is currently in use for imported oldtimers (pre-1973), using leftover serial letters not originally issued. The series DE, DH, DL, DM, DR, AE, AH, AL, AM, AR, DZ, and PM are used for cars, ZM, ZF, and NM for motorcycles, and BE (and from June 2021 BH) for oldtimer commercial vehicles.
1965–1973 Dutch plate blue old code 2.png 2 This series is currently in use for special permit vehicles (ZZ).
1973–1978 Dutch plate blue old code 3.png 3 Yellow plates were first introduced in 1975. These were initially optional but became mandatory from 1st January 1978, a few months before this series ended. This series is currently in use for imported "youngtimers" (1973 - 1977 vehicles), starting with Y (YA, YB, YD currently issued.)
1978–1991 Dutch plate yellow old code4.png 4 The letters K and Y were used as serial letters in this series.

This series is currently issued to semi-trailers (O).

1991–1999 Dutch plate yellow old code5.png 5 The letter K was not used as a serial letter in this series.
1999–2008 Dutch plate yellow NL code 6.png 6 In 2000, the Controlled Issuance and Intake of Licence Plates (GAIK; Gecontroleerde Afgave en Inname van Kentekenplaten) license style started with the F series in this series. All license plates except some oldtimer registrations were mandated to change to GAIK plates.

This series is currently in use for motorcycles (M).

2006–present Dutch plate yellow NL code 7.png 7 This series is currently issued for heavy goods vehicles (B) and trailers above 750 kg (W).
Dutch plate yellow NL code 8.png 8 In this series, the first letters B, D, F, G, H, J, M, N, P, and R are not used, as to not clash with export license plates. Therefore, the first letters in car plates can be only K, S, T, X, and Z, and V is used by light commercial vehicles, and W will probably in the future used by trailers.
Dutch plate yellow NL code 9.png 9 The letter L is reserved for agricultural vehicles. No SD-001-B to SD-999-Z and no SS-001-B to SS-999-Z.
2011–present Dutch plate yellow NL code 10.png 10 This series is currently issued for private vehicles, starting at G-001-BB. No x-001-SD to x-999-SD and no x-001-SS to x-999-SS.
2015–present Dutch plate yellow NL code 11.png 11 This series is currently issued to mopeds (D/F) and light commercial vehicles (V).[4] And since 1 January 2021 also for agricultural vehicles (L) and tractors (T) read
2021-present Dutch plate yellow NL code 12.png 12 Since 31 December 2021 in use by tractors from T-01-BBB.
2016–2019 Dutch plate yellow NL code 13.png 13 This series is currently in use for fast motorboats (Y) and tractors (1-GV-000 to 9-GV-999). In this series, the first letters B, D, F, G, H, J, M, N, P, and R are not used, as to not clash with export license plates. Therefore, the first letters in car plates can be only K, S, X, and Z, and V will probably be used by light commercial vehicles, and W by trailers, T for tractors, and L for agricultural vehicles.
2019-present Dutch plate yellow NL code 14.png 14 This series is currently in use for tractors (000-GV-1 to 999-GV-9).

Nowadays the letters used do not include vowels, to avoid profane or obscene language. To avoid confusion with a zero, the letters C and Q are also omitted and letters M and W are not used because they are too wide. Letters and numbers are issued in strict alphabetical/numeric order. Thus a Dutch license plate indicates 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 colors used are retroreflective.

Format Comment
Taxi plates are mandatory since December 2000 for vehicles used to transport people, but aren't part of the public transportation system.
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 license plate. It is forbidden to park a car on the public road with trader plates fitted.
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.

Recent changes[edit]

Dutch license plate with duplicate code 1

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

  • Combatting fraudulent reports of stolen license plates (giving one three weeks to break speed limits with an alibi), license plates are replaced immediately but using the same number. The new license plate is tagged with a small number 1 over the first dash, which 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 license plate.
  • Large trailers, caravans, etc. have now got their black/yellow license plate.
  • The letter Y is no longer used for cars, but instead for fast motorboats.
  • 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]

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 till 75-ZS-KB
  • 01-GBB-1, registration 2008 (no 00-GBB-1 and no 00-GBB-2) (no GVD)
  • 00-HBB-1, registration 2008/2009
  • 00-JBB-1, registration 2009
  • 00-KBB-1, registration 2009/2010 (no KKK and no KVT)
  • 00-LBB-1, registration 2010 (no LPF)
  • 00-NBB-1, registration 2010/2011 (no NSB)
  • 00-PBB-1, registration 2011 (no PKK and no PSV and no PVV)
  • 00-RBB-1, registration 2011
  • 00-SBB-1, registration 2011 (no SGP and no SDB - SDZ and no SSB - SSZ)
  • 00-TBB-1, registration 2012 (no TBS)
  • 00-XBB-1, registration 2012
  • 00-ZBB-1, registration 2012/2013 till 99-ZXT-1
  • 1-KBB-00, registration 2013 (no KKK and no KVT)
  • 1-SBB-00, registration 2013 (no SGP and no SDB - SDZ and no SSB - SSZ)
  • 1-TBB-00, registration 2013/2014 (no TBS)
  • 1-XBB-00, registration 2014
  • 1-ZBB-00, registration 2014/2015 till 8-ZVK-67
  • 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 licence plates. But now sidecode 11 is since 1-1-2021 used for this, see below here)
  • NB-001-B, registration 2016/2017
  • PB-001-B, registration 2017
  • RB-001-B, registration 2017/2018
  • SB-001-B, registration 2018 (SP only SP-001-B till SP-154-P)
  • TB-001-B, registration 2018
  • XB-001-B, registration 2018/2019
  • ZB-001-B, registration 2019 till ZV-183-Z
  • G-001-BB, registration 2019
  • H-001-BB, registration 2019/2020
  • J-001-BB, registration 2020
  • K-001-BB, registration 2020/2021
  • L-001-BB, registration 2021
  • N-001-BB, registration 2021/2022
  • P-001-BB, registration 2022 (current series, now P-ZF)


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


  • 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 2015/2020
  • FBB-01-B, registration 2020/present (current series, now FLL-N)

D/FBS-01-D to D/FBS-99-D and D/FBS-01-S to D/FBS-99-S is not used, to avoid SD and SS combinations. Also, D/FxS-01-D to D/FxS-99-D and D/FxS-01-S to D/FxS-99-S (x is the second letter, D till Z) will not be used; and this also for D/FSD-01-B till D/FSD-99-Z and D/FSS-01-B till D/FSS-99-Z for the same reason.

Trucks/Lorries (weighing more than 3.5 tons)[edit]

  • BB-BB-01, registration 1994/2012
  • 00-BBB-1, registration 2012/present (current series, now BTF) BSD and BSS are both not used to avoid SD and SS combinations.

Trucks/Lorries (weighing 3.5 tons or less)[edit]

  • 01-VB-BB, registration 1998/2002
  • 01-BB-BB, registration 2002/2006
  • 01-VBB-1, registration 2006/2009 (no 00-VSB-1 till 99-VSZ-9)
  • 1-VBB-00, registration 2009/2012 (no 1-VVD-00 till 9-VVD-99)
  • VB-001-B, registration 2012/2016
  • V-001-BB, registration 2016/2019
  • VBB-01-B, registration 2019/present (current series, now VRJ-X)

VBS-01-D to VBS-99-D and VBS-01-S to VBS-99-S is not used, to avoid SD and SS combinations. Also, VxS-01-D to VxS-99-D and VxS-01-S to VxS-99-S (x is the second letter, D till Z) will not be used, for the same reason.


  • WB-00-01, registration 1963/1977
  • 00-01-WB, registration 1977/1983
  • 00-WB-01, registration 1983/1989
  • WB-01-BB, registration 1989/2000
  • WB-BB-01, registration 2000/2008
  • 01-WB-BB, registration 2008/2021
  • 00-WBB-1, registration 2021/present (current series, now WFR)


  • OB-00-01, registration 1963/1988
  • OB-01-BB, registration 1988/present (current series, now OT-KG)

Agricultural Vehicles[edit]

  • LBB-01-B, registration 2021/present (current series, now LRG-N)

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


  • TBB-01-B, registration 2021. TBS is not used; TSD and TSS are both not used to avoid SD and SS combinations. TDS-01-D to TDS-99-D and TDS-01-S to TDS-99-S is not used, to avoid SD and SS combinations. Also TxS-01-D to TxS-99-D and TxS-01-S to TxS-99-S (x is the second letter, F to Z) is not be used, for the same reason.
  • T-01-BBB, registration 2021/present (current series, now T-DXX) No T-..-xSD and no T-..-xSS, x is the second letter B to Z to avoid SD and SS combinations.

And read now also

And see now also,,,20,0,0,0::recentpostdate/sticky,,,20,2,0,92093618,previd%3D1656615281845091066,nextid%3D1575135608633572571&previd=1656615281845091066&nextid=1575135608633572571

Special-use license 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 color 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 the taxi, D for governmental vehicles, AB for buses.
Royal Dutch License plate AA-86.jpg
Used for vehicles registered to the Dutch royal family. (AA-??) or (AA-???).
B, V The B in the first letter position is used to refer to a "Bedrijfswagen" (commercial vehicle): 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" (grey registration), referring to the previous color of the car's registration papers, which is now, like commercial vehicles, green.
BE, BH Classic commercial vehicles. Sidecode 1. BE until June 2021, BH after it. Current high BH-03-20 (15 June 2022).
Oldtimer kenteken.jpg
Imported classic cars 40 years or older. Sidecode 1. PM since August 2020. Current high PM-42-12 (15 June 2022).
ZM, ZF, NM Secondhands motorbikes. Sidecode 1. NM since November 2017. Current high NM-28-67 (15 June 2022).
YA, YB, and YD Imported classic cars younger than 40 years. Sidecode 3. YD since July 2014. Current high 96-YD-97 (15 June 2022).
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 are used by Royal Army. Also, DM but only in the sidecodes 7, 9, and 10. The third letter is B to Z but not an A, C, E, I, M, O, Q, U, W, or Y.
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 to be produced in Germany if necessary.[6]
NATO vehicles. RC stands for "Région Centrale", dating from when NATO headquarters were located 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) to (??-MX-XX). M is only used as the first letter!
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 sidecode, 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-??-??).
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-??-??) and (??-??-ZZ). Sidecode 1 until December 2016, sidecode 2 after it. Sidecode 2 is divided to three subseries: "open" series from 00-01-ZZ to 03-73-ZZ (not issued after 5 July 2018), test vehicles from 10-00-ZZ to 10-06-ZZ, and normal ZZ-vehicles from 20-00-ZZ to 28-60-ZZ (Updated 15 June 2022).
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. Currently in sidecode 7 (??-WXX-?). W is only used as the first letter!
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]

Vehicle registration card

Since January 1, 2014, the Netherlands has had an all-plastic vehicle registration in credit card format. This and the driving license (which is the same size) are the only things needed to bring along while driving in the Netherlands. This registration has the same green appearance for every vehicle category, only the information on the card differs. It has a chip with more detailed information about the vehicle. All previously issued vehicle registrations will remain valid until the car changes ownership, or until the owner requests replacement vehicle registration documents. While a so-called overschrijvingsbewijs (a separate document that came with the vehicle registration) was needed previously to sell the vehicle, this has now been replaced with a code. The registration card and the correct code are enough to sell the vehicle, even without the original letter stating the code as issued during the new car registration.


  1. ^ "About RDW". Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Geschiedenis van de kentekenplaat". Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Groninger Motorrijtuigen Fabriek". Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  4. ^ Start Nieuwe kentekencombinatie Lichte bedrijfswagens
  5. ^ "Dutch call back car licence plates with 'Nazi' initials". Daily Telegraph. 2 November 2010.
  6. ^ Archived 24 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]