Registration number check

All vehicles with a Dutch registration number are registered with the RDW. You can retrieve some of the vehicle data by means of the RDW registration number check. This information is useful if you want to buy or sell a vehicle, for example.

How can you do a registration number check?

Retrieving vehicle data from the RDW is easy. If you want to do a registration number check, you will need the registration number of the vehicle for which you want to request information. You can do the RDW registration number check here:

this link opens in a new windowDo the RDW registration number check

What data do you retrieve via the registration number check?

The RDW registration number check allows you to view the historical data of a car, motorcycle or other vehicle. The registration number check is public and therefore only shows vehicle data that is not privacy-sensitive. In addition, the vehicle registration number check allows you to retrieve data only about the vehicle. It is not possible to retrieve data regarding the owner (for privacy reasons).

The registration number check allows you to view the following data.

Basic data

Once you have entered the registration number, you will immediately see some basic information, such as the type of vehicle, the make and the number of owners. You will also see when the vehicle’s roadworthiness test approval (APK) expires, when the vehicle was registered for the first time (in the Netherlands) and the date on which ownership of the vehicle was last transferred. If you want to know how many kilograms the vehicle is allowed to tow, the basic data also allows you to see the vehicle’s towing data.

Finally, you will see some legal information, such as, for example, whether the vehicle is registered as stolen and whether third-party motor insurance (Wettelijke Aansprakelijkheid, WA) for the vehicle has been registered with the RDW.

Engine and environmental data

Are you curious about the vehicle’s environmental performance? The registration number check will enable you to see, for example, the fuel economy label, the type of fuel the vehicle uses and information about CO2 emissions.

Technical data

This includes data such as the number of seats, axles and axle load limit of the vehicle.

Tax data

Finally, the registration number check enables you to see the vehicle’s tax data. This provides you with information about the catalogue price and you can find out how much motor vehicle tax the vehicle incurs.

Why do a registration number check?

A registration number check is useful in a number of situations. It can provide you with more assurance when buying a used car. By retrieving the current vehicle data, you gain an insight into a vehicle’s history. When was ownership of the vehicle last transferred? How economical is the vehicle? When did the vehicle last pass an APK roadworthiness test? This data ensures that you are better informed when purchasing a vehicle.

For whom is the registration number check intended?

This registration number check is intended for private individuals who retrieve vehicle data on an occasional basis. If the RDW takes the view that you retrieve data too frequently, you will lose your access to the service. The RDW has created business versions for companies and organisations. Companies can use them to retrieve large quantities of data, without restriction, in return for payment. For more information about these business services, go to: Consultinglarge quantities of vehicle data (article only available in Dutch)

How to avoid purchasing a stolen vehicle

If you buy a used vehicle, you naturally want it to be a ‘legitimate’ vehicle. Unfortunately, ‘illegitimate vehicles’ are offered for sale on a regular basis. They include vehicles that have been stolen or cloned, for example. If you buy such a vehicle and the police find out about it, you almost always have to return the vehicle to its legal owner. Here are some tips to help you avoid such problems.

Checking whether the vehicle is registered as stolen

The theft of a vehicle is often reported. You can check whether the vehicle is registered as stolen. To do so, go to this link opens in a new windowConsult vehicle data. You can then enter the registration number. If ‘Yes’ appears after ‘Stolen’, do not buy the vehicle, and inform the police instead.

In the case of ‘ringing’, a vehicle is given the vehicle identification number of a vehicle that has suffered irreparable damage.

In the case of ‘cloning’, rogue traders copy the characteristics of a vehicle that is still on the road. In such cases, the registration documents or registration card and number plates are false, so it makes no sense to check the registration number via ‘Consult vehicle data’. The registration number will relate to the correct vehicle with the correct identity.  

More information about cloned or ringed vehicles (article only available in Dutch).

Purchasing from an RDW-approved dealership

If you buy a vehicle from an RDW-approved dealership/garage, you are less likely to buy a stolen, cloned or ringed vehicle. If it turns out that you have purchased such a vehicle, you will be in a better position as regards consumer protection and rights.

Purchasing from a private individual

If you buy a vehicle from a private individual, use the following tips to help you avoid buying a stolen, cloned or ringed vehicle:

  1. Make an appointment at the seller’s home.
  2. Ask the seller for his driving license or passport and make a note of the numbers.
  3. Have the owner explain the operation of the car. He should be very familiar with it.
  4. Ask the seller to go with you to the registration desk where you will put the registration number in your name.
  5. Pay by bank transfer, not in cash.
  6. Check the vehicle number at rdw.nl, print the data out and compare it with the vehicle and the registration documents/registration card.
  7. Check that all the keys are original and work in all door locks and the ignition.
  8. Check for any signs of forced entry.
  9. Check the maintenance log book and any maintenance history.
  10. Check whether the mileage is feasible. To do this, go to Checking the odometer reading (article only available in Dutch).
  11. Check whether there is a registration number engraved on the windows and whether it matches that on the vehicle.
  12. Check whether the full paper registration certificate or registration card is present. The paper registration certificate consists of three parts. For more information, go to Different types and combinations of registration document parts. If a vehicle has a registration card, it also has a registration number allocation code. You need this code when you sell your vehicle, for example. It consists of 9 digits in total. It is important that the registration number allocation code is kept safe and separate from the registration certificate. It is for the seller to ensure that the registration certificate and registration number plates are correct.
  13. Check whether the APK roadworthiness test report is present (if the vehicle is subject to APK roadworthiness testing).
  14. Check whether the vehicle carries the correct registration plates.

If you think ‘this is too good to be true’ at any point during the purchase, be even more vigilant. Never be pressured into buying the vehicle quickly, and do not pay in advance, and certainly not in cash.  

Providing proof of identity when purchasing a vehicle

If you want to have a vehicle registered in your name or in the name of your company, you need to provide proof of your identify by means of a valid identity document.  

Providing proof of identity when registering a vehicle in the name of a private individual

As a private individual, you can provide proof of identity by means of the following documents, which must be valid:

  • Dutch driving licence containing your date of birth;
  • Dutch passport containing your identity number (BSN);
  • Dutch identity card containing your identity number (BSN).

You may also provide proof of your identify by means of the following documents when registering a vehicle in your name at RDW inspection stations or RDW help desks:

  • identity card or driving licence from an EU or EFTA country containing your date of birth;
  • diplomatic passport;
  • Dutch travel document for aliens;
  • Dutch travel document for refugees;
  • service passport;
  • foreign passport.

NB: you cannot put a vehicle in your name by means of a residence permit or authorisation.

No Dutch identity number (BSN) on your proof of identity?

If your Dutch identity number does not appear on your identity document, you must also take a Certificate of residence from the Personal Records Database (BRP) with you. This Certificate of residence is available from your municipality and must not be older than 3 months. Make sure you request a Certificate of residence containing your BSN, as municipalities do not automatically issue it. If you have a diplomatic passport, you may also submit an attestation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (not older than 3 months) stating your BSN.

Providing proof of identity when a vehicle is registered in the name of a company by a legal person

You can identify yourself as the authorised representative of a company (legal entity) by means of the following documents, which must be valid:

  • Dutch driving licence of the authorised representative containing their date of birth;
  • Dutch passport of the authorised representative containing their identity number (BSN);
  • Dutch identity card of the authorised representative containing their identity number (BSN).

The authorised representative may also provide proof of their identify by means of the following documents when registering a vehicle in the name of their company (transfer of ownership) at RDW inspection stations or RDW help desks:

  • identity card or driving licence from an EU or EFTA country containing your date of birth;
  • diplomatic passport;
  • Dutch travel document for aliens;
  • Dutch travel document for refugees;
  • service passport;
  • foreign passport.

NB: you cannot put a vehicle in your name by means of a residence permit or authorisation.

Extract from the Chamber of Commerce

In addition to your identity document, you must submit a copy of a current extract from the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KvK). The extract may not be older than 1 year and cannot be an extract from the internet. The extract must contain the name of the authorised representative.

Sole proprietorship, partnership or shipping company

If your company is a sole proprietorship, partnership or shipping company, you cannot register the vehicle in the name of the company itself. You can only have it registered in your own name. In such cases, you must identify yourself as a private individual.  

Ringed or cloned vehicles

If you buy a used vehicle, you naturally want it to be a ‘legitimate’ vehicle. Unfortunately, ‘illegitimate vehicles’ are offered for sale on a regular basis. They include vehicles that have been ringed or cloned, for example. What is a ringed or cloned vehicle?  

Ringing

This means that the identity of a vehicle damaged beyond repair has been used. The chassis number and other identifiers are transferred to a stolen vehicle.

Cloning

This means that the identity of a vehicle still on the road has been used. The identity of that vehicle has been copied. Registration plates, registration certificate, model, colour and chassis number have been copied or adapted to create an identical vehicle.

If you have bought a cloned vehicle, you will often only find out if, for example, the real owner of the vehicle wrongly receives a fine for a road traffic offence. Both owners will be contacted via the police and the RDW. The two vehicles will then be investigated.  

Driving a vehicle if you have not yet received the vehicle registration card

If you have registered the vehicle in your name but have not yet received the vehicle registration card, you can still drive it in the Netherlands. The police are able to view your data in the vehicle licence register. You must be able to show the vehicle registration card 14 days after registering the vehicle in your name.

NB: you cannot drive your vehicle abroad without a vehicle registration card.