What is APK Testing? A Guide to Periodic Motor Vehicle Test in the Netherlands

APK testing is one of the initial requirements to obtain a Dutch registration number for both foreign and local vehicles. Learn more about APK testing right here.

In 1994, the Dutch government passed a law to reduce the rate of road accidents and prevent traffic hazards. The law ensures road safety and protection to the environment. Residents of the Netherlands know this law as the Road Traffic Act (Wegenverkeerswet) of 1994.

What is an APK? 

A mandatory periodic motor vehicle test was the primary provision of the law. The test, also known as APK, is an essential process in obtaining a Dutch registration number and license to drive on the public roads of the Netherlands. The APK is practically a test to determine a vehicle’s roadworthiness and potential risk to the environment. When a vehicle successfully passes the standards and the test, the car owner can proceed to the application for a Dutch registration number and license plate.

Is APK Testing Mandatory? 

The periodic technical inspection (PTI or MOT), also called APK testing is mandatory exercised all over Europe. Therefore, all vehicles in the Netherlands – foreign or domestic – shall undergo APK testing.

Vehicles with Dutch registration are obliged to perform the APK testing. For foreign vehicles that will stay in the Netherlands below 3-months are exempted from this obligation. However, a foreign automobile that will stay in the country for more than 3-months shall undergo the inspection, especially non-Dutch licensed vehicles imported in the Netherlands permanently.

What Type of Vehicle Has to Take APK Testing? 

The APK inspection applies to private and commercial vehicles aged 3-years old. However, some motors and vehicles need not get tested periodically. These vehicles include vintage or classic cars ages over 50 years old. Since vintage cars are not used for public transport, there’s no need to get them tested periodically. Moreover, newly purchased vehicles are not required to take the inspection until it reaches 3-years of usage.

Trailers are likewise subject to APK testing. Trailers that weigh over 3,500 kg in Dutch have to undergo vehicle inspection, except for agricultural trailers.

The best way to identify whether a vehicle should take the test is through VIN checking. An online VIN inspection like the Chassischeck will help you determine the true identity of the car. It will allow you to unveil the history, key features, technical details, and roadworthiness.

How Often Do Vehicles Get Tested? 

All vehicles must go through initial testing, which is when the vehicle reaches 3-years old. After the initial test, the vehicle shall be tested annually or every 2-years.

You will receive an APK certificate after the initial test. Written on the certificate is the roadworthiness of your automobile, as well as its expiration date. Make sure to take note of the APK certificate expiration. You have to schedule 6 weeks before the certificate expires. The RDW will also send a reminder before the expiration date.

Vehicles with foreign APK can drive on the roads of the Netherlands. The authority accepts foreign APK as long as it is not expired. Once the foreign APK reaches its expiration, you need to obtain a new one from the RDW.

To get APK testing, you need to make an appointment with the RDW through their official website.