The latest integration project I have started is driving. While I learned to drive many many years ago, getting a driver’s license in the Netherlands is quite a process. Because I am a Dutch resident, I am required to take the driving exam even though I had a driver’s license in Texas and in Mexico. Some expats with the 30% tax exemption rule simply exchange their license for a Dutch one, but I am not so fortunate.
The first part of the driving exam is the theory. Although you can start taking driving lessons before you take the theoretical exam, it is important to study the theory first since this helps you learn the rules. There are plenty of books at bookstores and libraries to study, but nowadays, driving schools offer access to a website where you can watch videos of what to do and what not to do.
The material to study varies. The theoretical exam covers questions about snelheid, parkeren, alcohol en drugs, inhalen, and wegmarkeringen. Different streets and signals tell you what to expect or what you can and cannot do, and this is very important to learn. The following video shows some sample questions. Can you answer these?
Once you have studied and feel prepared enough to take the exam, you need to register at the Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheid via their website. LET OP! You should visit their website directly by typing www.cbr.nl rather than googling CBR. There are plenty of websites that offer to sign you up for your exam charging you an extra fee without even knowing it. The exam is available in Dutch and English, but you can also pay a translator to translate the questions into your own language. The following video explains the registration and exam process.
Once you have passed the theoretical exam, you can continue with your driving practice until your instructor tells you that you are ready for the test. And while you practice driving, make sure you always watch out for the bikes!
de snelheid- the speed
parkeren- to park
inhalen- to over take
de wegmarkeringen- the road markings
het rijbewijs– the driving license
de rijschool– the driving school
de verlichting– the light
aangeven– to indicate
voor laten gaan– let go before/ give way to
de voetganger– the pedestrian
de rotonde– the roundabout
het grootlicht– the long lights (LET OP: The English version of the CBR exam translates this as big lights, however, in the U.S. the term “long lights” is used)
de volgorde– order or sequence
de versnelling– the gear
de koppeling– the clutch