If you're planning to stay in the Netherlands for an extended period, then it's worthwhile exchanging your driving licence for a Dutch one. You'll also have to register with your local authority and get the equivalent of a national insurance or social security number. In the Netherlands, this is called a 'citizen service number' [Dutch: burgerservicenummer (BSN)].

Professional recognition in the Netherlands

You may need to check with a relevant competent authority in the Netherlands if you plan to practise your profession in the Netherlands and you received your credentials outside the Netherlands. You'll find a list of professions on the EP Nuffic website containing relevant information.

It may be sensible to have your credentials evaluated. The Centres of Expertise for International Credential Evaluation (SBB & Nuffic) will be able to issue you a written statement. These statements serve merely as recommendations from which no rights may be derived.

Credential evaluation in the Netherlands

Nuffic is the coordinating body in the Netherlands responsible for evaluating foreign credentials awarded at a higher or general secondary educational level. Individuals with foreign credentials aiming to enter the Dutch labour market should apply via the Dutch international credential evaluation system (IDW) established by Nuffic in conjunction with the Foundation for Cooperation in Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB).
You can request a credential evaluation on the IDW website.

Driving licence recognition

You'll be able to use your foreign driving licence for a short period after becoming a Dutch resident. The length of this period depends on the country in which you obtained your driving licence. You'll have to get a Dutch driving licence once this transition period has lapsed.

In certain cases, you'll simply be able to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch one. This is only possible if you're a registered Dutch resident and have a valid residence permit. For additional information, please visit the National Vehicle and Driving Licence Registration Authority website [Dutch: Rijksdienst voor Wegverkeer (RDW)].

Citizen Service Number (BSN) and DigiD

The 'citizen service number' [Dutch: burgerservicenummer (BSN)] is a unique personal number assigned to everyone registered in the Persons Database [Dutch: Basisregistratie Personen (BRP)]. It's equivalent to a social security or national insurance number.

You'll only have to submit your BSN to a government body once. Thereafter, authorities will be able to exchange information, which you'll also be able to view yourself without having to constantly resubmit your details.

Online, your BSN is tied to a digital identification system. This is referred to as your DigiD, and consists of a name and password.

Your DigiD is a highly secure and safe means of identifying yourself to numerous organisations, and accessing hundreds of Dutch government and even some non-government websites, e.g. to retrieve excerpts from the BRP or to apply for reimbursement of health care costs from your medical insurance company.