Second-hand cars in the Netherlands

Tips when buying

Second-hand cars in the Netherlands

New cars are expensive and importing a car means dealing with customs, buying a car second-hand can save you money and hassle. Second-hand cars are cheaper and not subject to BPM tax (private vehicle tax) when first registered in your name.

Should you buy from an individual or a dealer?

There is no right answer to this question and it largely depends on personal preference. If you are happy to spend time comparing prices, travelling to view cars, assessing a car’s value yourself and negotiating the price, then you can buy from an individual. Sites such as  and  advertise many privately owned cars that are for sale. You can also have a look in the Classifieds; Cars/Motorbikes section in our Netherlands guide.

If you don’t feel confident evaluating a car yourself, a dealer is a great option. Their expertise and selection of cars can make finding the right car faster and easier. Some dealers, like Bynco  (a second-hand car dealer that allows you to buy a car 100% online), will even help you with the necessary car registration post-purchase and offer a 180 day warranty. 

Before buying

When you’ve found a car you are thinking of buying, it’s important to check its value, history and test how well it runs.

Test drive

You should always take a car for a test drive before you buy it. This can give you a feel of the car and will quickly highlight any problems. Most dealerships and individuals will allow you to take a car for a test drive as part of the buying process.

License plate check

The Netherlands’ vehicle authority, the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW), offers a free licence plate checking service . This allows you to view a car’s history; such as previous owners and age.

Independent inspection

Always make sure a car is roadworthy and functioning without any problems. An APK (periodic motor vehicle test) checks if a car is roadworthy and meets Dutch environmental requirements.

When buying a second-hand car, you can either ask for the most recent APK certificate from the seller (dealerships will have usually performed up to date inspections), or you can request a new APK is carried out by a RDW-approved independent inspector. Genuine sellers will not object to this request, but you will probably have to pay for the inspection yourself.

After you buy

After you’ve bought your second-hand car, you must do the following before you can legally drive it.

Register with RDW

You must register the car in your name with the RDW. As an expat without a Dutch ID, you need to go to a RDW inspection station  to do this. You will need to take:

  • car’s documents (APK certificate, certificate of ownership).
  • your passport.
  • your valid driver’s license.
  • proof of registration at the town hall in your municipality (gemeente). This document must include your BSN number (Dutch social security number) and be no older than 3 months.

Take out insurance

As soon as the car is registered in your name, you need to take out car insurance.

Further reading

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