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 national road traffic agency (Dutch: Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW)).

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.[1] 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.[2] 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]

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 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
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. [3]
2011–2015 Dutch plate yellow NL code 10.png Side Code 10 This series is issued for mopeds only (D-001-BB till F-999-ZZ)
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)
Unused Dutch plate yellow NL code 12.png Side Code 12 This series is not yet in use
Dutch plate yellow NL code 13.png Side Code 13 This series is not yet in use
Dutch plate yellow NL code 14.png Side Code 14 This series is not yet in use

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 licence 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[edit]

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

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 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 specialised taxi services.

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.[4]

Mopeds have after F-999-ZZ now the new side code 11, beginning with DBB-00-B.[5] 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. 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]


  • 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 (current series)


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


  • 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
  • DBB-01-B, registration 16 January 2015 (current series, now DBX)

DBS-01-D till DBS-99-D and DBS-01-S till DBS-99-S registations are all not used for to avoid SD and SS combinations. Also in the future all DxS-01-D till DxS-99-D and all DxS-01-S till DxS-99-S (x means the second letter D till Z) registations 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 BGB)

Lorries (weighing 3.5 tons or less than 3.5 tons)[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 (current series, now VP)


  • 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 WN)

Bobtail Trailers[edit]

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

Special-use licence plates[edit]

Letters Description
Royal Dutch License plate AA-64.jpg
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 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 colour of the car's registration papers. (BX-??-??) till (B-???-XX) or (VX-??-??) till (V-???-XX)
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
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.
CD License plate of the Netherlands.jpg
"Corps Diplomatique" and is used for diplomats (CD-??-??) or (??-CD-??)
Lawyers or Diplomats working for the International Court of Justice (??-CDJ-? or ?-CDJ-?? or 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.[6]
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).
M Motorcycles (MX-??-??) till (M-???-XX)
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)
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-??-??) or (??-??-GV)
Dutch dealer license plate (new green).JPG
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) (HH-??-??)
Qbuzz 4203 Utrecht Europalaan 2014.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-??-??)
O Heavy trailers ('O'pleggers). (OX-??-?? or OX-??-XX or O-???-XX) O is only used as the first letter!
W Medium-light trailers and caravans having own registration. (WX-??-??) till (W-???-XX)
AF Used by Allied Forces Northern Europe vehicles. (AF-XX-??)

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


External links[edit]

  •, latest news and all information about Dutch License Plates
  • Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW), Dutch national road traffic agency
  • [1] public vehicle registration data