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That the Dutch street scene is constantly changing is a phenomenon that full time residents rarely notice. In fact, it’s only when you’ve emigrated and return to the Netherlands for an occasional visit that you tend to notice the country hasn’t stood still over the years. Suddenly that old building that’s been a familiar landmark ever since childhood has been replaced by a gleaming new one, or the street that you grew up in has changed beyond all recognition. And, there’ll be yet more changes to adjust to with the introduction of 14 new road signs effective on 1st January 2015.
New mandatory and prohibitory signs
If you’ve lived in the Netherlands for any length of time, then you’ll be no stranger to the circular blue road sign with a white bicycle in its centre. This particular road sign indicates that the path on which it’s displayed is a mandatory cycle lane, and that cyclists must therefore use this lane, rather than the road. As of 1st January 2015, however, it won’t only be Dutch cyclists that are directed to specific lanes. Indeed, twelve new, so-called “F-borden” (mandatory and prohibitory road signs), will apply to a variety of additional vehicles in the Netherlands, including tractors, trams, buses and lorries. If you drive a lorry for example, and you see a circular blue road sign with a white lorry on it, then you’ll need to pull into the traffic lane specially designated for lorries. And if you drive a car you’ll be prohibited from driving on that lorry lane, unless you’re in possession of an exemption (e.g. taxi drivers).
New informatory signs
In addition, two new “L-signs’ (informatory signs) will be introduced as per 1st January. These will indicate whether the left or right hand side of the road may be used as a refuge lane for those wishing to turn left or right on a busy road, without holding up the traffic behind.
These fourteen new mandatory / prohibitory / informatory road signs are intended to provide greater clarity in a number of different traffic situations, without making drastic changes. Nevertheless it’s good to be aware of what these new road signs will look like and what they denote, especially if you’re planning to visit the Netherlands in the near future. For full information, please refer to the Dutch CBR website.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants.