In this post i will explain the difference between a NAP Check and Kentekencheck and what to look out for when buying a car in the Netherlands.
As an expat i have learned that buying a car in the Netherlands can be quite confusing. There is an excellent choice of good second hand cars in the Netherlands, and there are a few tools available that are a great help in researching your next car. For all car buyers goes: Do your research on the car beforehand!
Research before you buy!
Make sure you do your research before you buy a car in the Netherlands! When investing in a car you don’t want to just jump right in there head first - I know it’s exciting but slow down! You don’t want to end up with a car that is broken or unreliable (or expensive to run!), or even worse a car that was in a severe accident and previously heavily damaged. You also don’t want a car that was not looked after by their previous owners, and… I can go on an on like this…. Buying a car is an investment in itself, so it’s really important that you choose a car that’s right for you. Fortunately there are some convenient tools provided by the RDW for that available in the Netherlands.
Mileage Matters! Run a NAP Check
The Dutch government has given its official auto registration bureau RDW the task to collect and register the mileage of every vehicle in the Netherlands into the NAP Database. This Database is open to companies and private persons. For a small Fee you can run a NAP check to lookup any licence plate number and you will receive a detailled report about the vehicle’s mileage history.
NAP stands for Nationale Auto Pas wich is this huge (open) database wich contains all registered vehicles in the Netherlands, including the mileage information of all vehicles since 1991.
Run a Kentekencheck (Vin Check) as well
If you’re going to buy a car in Holland you also want to run a kenteken check against the licence number of the car. A Kenteken check is free (gratis) and reveals all technical details, as well as the history of the automobile.
You must register with the RDW in order to buy a car in the Netherlands
So, you have found your dream car, but now what? The car is not officially yours until you register it in your name. You need to go to the RDW for that. The RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer) is the Dutch authority for vehicles and transport. You must register your cars with them because they deal with road tax and liability insurance and you are agreeing to those terms. Without registering, it is illegal to drive that car.
So, how do I go about this? Well, if you’re an expat, chances are that you don’t have a Dutch ID. If you do, all you have to do is turn up to your local post office with your ID and all car/registration documents and you’re all set. So, if you don’t have a Dutch ID, then you’re going to have to go to a RDW inspection station. Make sure to bring your gemeente documents, car documents, certificate of ownership, passport and drivers license with you!
Thankfully, there is a way to avoid all of this. If you buy your car from a good car dealership such as Bynco, they take care of the official registration at RDW for you. It’s one less thing not to worry about.
Enjoy your car! But don’t forget your car insurance if you want to actually drive in the Netherlands
So Finally its official, you have a car! Before driving off with it happily, you’ve forgotten one more thing: car insurance. It’s illegal not to have car insurance in the Netherlands, so this is a must before you drive off with your new ‘whip’. To find a car insurance you can go on online comparison sites (some are in English too). Pick the best deal, register with them and you’re all set. (Now it’s just the paying every month that’s painful
). Note: your car is insured, not the person, so anybody can drive your care legally with permission. This may be different to what you’re used to from your home country.
Enjoy your new car!