Leasing a car is a popular option for expats living in the Netherlands. Advantages of leasing include lower monthly expenses and zero maintenance costs compared to buying a car. Leasing also means you can drive a newer, higher-value car than when buying.
The basics: What is car leasing?
Leasing a car is like a long-term rental or subscription. You pay a monthly fee to use the car for a set period and the fee covers everything (insurance, maintenance, repairs, road tax) apart from fuel.
Leases typically last 4 to 5 years (or 48-60 months as this is written by lease providers) which is stipulated in the contract. Usually there is also a clause allowing cancellation if the leaser has a change in circumstances.
There are shorter term leases offered on second hand cars from around 24 months. This is referred to as “occasion” leasing by the Dutch. The cheapest occasion leases often aren’t that much lower in price than leasing a new car but there are some occasion deals included below.
The contract also will stipulate the distance that can be driven over the course of the lease, and is typically stated per year. For example, a 60 month lease (5 years) with 10,000 km a year means the leaser can drive 50,000 km over the course of the 5 year contract with no additional charge. A fee is then charged for excess mileage which can be costly.
How much does it cost to lease a car in the Netherlands?
Costs of leasing vary from around € 200 per month (incl. VAT) for a basic city car lease to upwards of €400 for an Audi or BMW lease. Costs also vary depending on the length of contract.
In total a 4-year lease on a €200 monthly contract will set you back €9,600. Meanwhile a €400 monthly payment will add up to €19,200 in the same period.
Additional costs: Petrol
Petrol is the only recurring additional cost that you will have to pay as a leasee.
Petrol cost estimates for a small car
(Based on driving a 33mpg car (2021 Volkswagen Golf) and paying 1.80 per litre.)
- 1000km per month: €72
- 2000km per month: €144
- 5000km per month: €359
So the total costs for leasing a small, efficient car plus the cost of 1000km monthly petrol usage can be as low as around 266 per month.
What’s included in cost of leasing?
- Maintenance costs
- Repair costs
- Road tax
- Car insurance
- Breakdown assistance & related costs
Pros and cons of leasing
- Lower monthly cost compared to a long-term rental or car finance (for an equivalent car).
- No additional maintenance costs or unexpected costs such as repairs.
- No insurance costs.
- Drive a new car that might be above your usual buying budget.
- Unlike buying or financial lease you won’t own the vehicle (or part-own it) by the end of the contract.
- May not be cost effective for used cars.
- Driving over your km allowance can be expensive if not careful.
Car leasing requirements for expats
Expats wishing to lease a car will need the following:
- Be 21 years or older
- Living and registered in the Netherlands (with a BSN number)
- Dutch bank account
- You don’t have a negative Dutch credit score (BKR)
- Proof of financial ability to pay the lease
- An employment contract, OR
- Fixed monthly income with proof
- Details of your monthly outgoings
- A Dutch driving license or a license issued in the EU (for British and non-EU expats this means exchanging your license for a Dutch license at the municipality – more on this below)
Best Car Lease Deals 2021
Below are some selected deals available at time of writing. Last update 29th Sept 2021.
Fuel-efficient pick: Fiat 500 from Consumentenbond from €209 p/m.
BMW deal: BMW 1 Series 116i from 414 p/m including VAT (pictured above)
Cheapest monthly: Toyota Aygo from 179 per month (Auto.nl)
Volkswagen deal: New VW Polo from €329 p/m
Peugot deal: Peugot 108 from €199 per month
Car lease companies in NL
ANWB – The Royal Dutch Touring Club offer 60 month leases from €209 p/m (plus €15 to join the club). You can also get 12 month (€459) or 24 month leases (€350)
Consumenten bond is a consumer organisation. You can lease a new Fiat 500 through their auto lease collective from €209 p/m for 60 months (€246 for 26mth, €230 for 48mth).
Car lease comparison sites:
Athlon – International car leasing company with solid reputation
Dutch car leasing vocabulary
- Auto leasen – Car lease
- Occasion lease – Used car lease
- Gebruikte auto – Used car
- Benzine – Petrol
- BTW – VAT
Leasing vs buying a used car
Marktplats has used cars you can lease, but the car leasing market usually focuses on new vehicles and high end used cars. If you don’t care about driving new or expensive cars then buying a used car (with finance) might be a cheaper option.
Bynco is a company that specialises in used cars with finance options. You can also find used cars on Marktplaats with some sellers also offering car finance. The benefit of buying a used car is that you own it and build equity rather than just paying for the lease.
Parking in the Netherlands
Parking in cities like Amsterdam can also be tricky. Stay tuned for a guide to long-term and short-term parking options in major cities in the Netherlands. One option is Mobypark, a platform for renting parking spaces, while Marktplaats also sometimes has parking spaces listed.
Driving licenses for non-EU expats
That includes British expats from January 1st 2021. This means taking your British (or other) license to the municipality to exchange for a Dutch license. You may also need to submit a health declaration and/or assessment to show you are fit to drive.
Re-taking your test?
Some materials suggest you could have to re-take your test in the Netherlands to get a Dutch license:
“In some cases you can exchange the foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence. In all other cases you must do new theory and practical exams with the CBR (Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing)” – The Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW)
The gov.uk page on living in the Netherlands suggest this is not the case for Brits at least.
Private lease vs financial lease
The main types of lease are private lease and financial lease. The former is most commonly used by individuals whilst the latter is only for businesses (including self employed expats).
Private lease is also known as personal contract hire. In this case the payment is based on the depreciation costs of the vehicle. As such it is the cheapest form of car lease in terms of monthly payments.
A financial lease is also known as a hire purchase. This means that you also pay towards owning the vehicle, similar to a mortgage. These are really designed for businesses or self-employed persons for whom there is a tax benefit.