Vehicle registration plates of the Netherlands
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.
The Netherlands introduced a system of vehicle registration plates on the 26th April 1898 – the third country in the world to do so, after France in 1893 and Germany in 1896. 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. 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.
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
|1951–1965||XX-99-99||Side Code 1|
|1965–1973||99-99-XX||Side Code 2|
|1973–1978||99-XX-99||Side Code 3||In 1976 and 1977 the color blue was slightly lighter and the font was different|
|1978–1991||XX-99-XX||Side Code 4||Several letters have been reserved for specific types of vehicles|
|1991–1999||XX-XX-99||Side Code 5|
|1999–2008||NL||99-XX-XX||Side Code 6||First in GAIK[clarification needed] series (except for 99-DX-XX-series), new font, black border and blue patch with NL were added.|
|2006–present||NL||99-XXX-9||Side Code 7|
|NL||9-XXX-99||Side Code 8|
|NL||XX-999-X||Side Code 9|
|NL||X-999-XX||Side Code 10|
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.
With the introduction of the GAIK series, several other formats have been introduced as well
|XX-XX-99||Used for trailers with a maximum weight of less than 750 KG, registration matches the vehicle pulling the trailer|
|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.|
Special-use licence plates
|AA||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.|
|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||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).||(KL-??-??) and (??-KL-??)|
|CD||"Corps Diplomatique" and is used for diplomats (CD-??-??) or (??-CD-??)|
|CDJ||Lawyers or Diplomats working for the International Court of Justice|
|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)|
|GV||For agricultural vehicles that may cross national borders (grensverkeer) (GV-??-??) or (??-??-GV)|
|HA, HF, FH||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)|
|ZZ||For vehicles with a special exemption to enter public roads, such as cranes. (ZZ-??-??)|
|O||Heavy trailers ('O'pleggers). (OX-??-?? or OX-??-XX) O is only used as the first letter!|
|W||Medium-light trailers and caravans having own registration. (WX-??-?? or ??-WX-?? or ??-??-WX or WX-??-XX or WX-XX-??||or ??-WX-XX|
This list is not exhaustive. The Dutch Wikipedia article nl:Nederlands kenteken contains more exceptions.
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 January 1, 1978.
- 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' 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.
The RDW (the government service in charge of vehicle registrations) will soon exhaust all possible combinations of registration marks. The RDW has started requiring regular licence plates for mopeds, replacing the old insurance licence plates. 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 cars is now D-LLL-DD and issuing of this is started on 5 March 2013 because the DD-LLL-D combinations are exhausted on that day.
- 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
- 1-KBB-00, registration 2013 (current series)
- MB-01-BB, registration 1979/1998
- MB-BB-01, registration 1998/2011
- 01-MB-BB, registration 2011 (current series, now MD)
- 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 (current series)
Lorries (weighing more than 3.5 tons)
- BB-BB-01, registration 1994/2012
- 00-BBB-1, registration 2012 (current series, now BBS)
Lorries (weighing less than 3.5 tons)
- 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 VD)
- 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 WK)
- OB-01-BB, registration 1988/2009 (current series, now ON)
- "Geschiedenis van de kentekenplaat". deAutogids.nl. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
- "Groninger Motorrĳtuigen Fabriek". deAutogids.nl. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
- "Dutch call back car licence plates with 'Nazi' initials". Daily Telegraph. 2 November 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: License plates of the Netherlands|
- Nummerplaat.com, latest news and all information about Dutch License Plates
- rdw.nl Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW), Dutch national road traffic agency
-  public vehicle registration data