If you live in the Netherlands and are looking for an affordable way to drive, you could consider a car sharing scheme. This ‘pay-as-you-go’ plan works out cheaper than owning your own vehicle if you are a light user and drive only 2 or 3 days a month.
Note, if you are looking for a standard car rental you can book with Discover Cars here
Let’s take a look at the main car sharing companies present in Amsterdam.
Greenwheels is the major Dutch car sharing company which has been in business for over 25 years and is partnered with NS Dutch Railways and Volkswagen.
Greenwheels has around 2,300 cars located at permanent parking spots in 100 Dutch towns and cities. If you walk around Amsterdam you will notice red Greenwheels cars parked at various places all over the city.
Greenwheels has a range of cars for use: small city cars (Volkswagen Up!), a mid-range estate/station wagon (Volkswagen Golf variant) and small van (Volkswagen Caddy). There are also white electric Volkswagen e-Golf cars.
There are 3 Greenwheels subscription levels – Occasional (€0 per month), Regular (€10 per month) and Frequent (€25 per month). You can change subscription plan at any time.
On top of this you pay hourly rental charges (€3-€6 per hour the Up!) and also a distance charge (€0.24-€0.34 per km driven in the Up!) depending on your subscription level.
Greenwheels also offers day, weekend and week tariffs for longer rentals. Day rates start from €29-€49.
How To Join Greenwheels: As long as you are aged 18 or over, you can join Greenwheels. This can be done online at the Greenwheels.com website where you need to upload a copy of a valid driving license and add payment details (credit card or bank account).
Greenwheels requires an initial (refundable) bond payment of €50. Greenwheels rentals are managed by card – you can opt to use a special Greenwheels chip card (€25, arrives within 3 days) or add the account to an existing OV-chip card (free).
As a Greenwheels member you can reserve any car in the country online or by using the Greenwheels app – as long as the vehicle is available for the time you want it.
You pick up a car as follows – either use the app or hold your card against the sensor on the windscreen to unlock the door. If using the card you have to enter your special pincode in the on-board computer in the glove compartment.
Take the car key out of the on-board computer and start the car as normal. Before driving off you should briefly inspect the car for any damage – report anything new in the app.
After you’re done driving return the car to the same parking spot by the specified time, put the key back into the computer and lock the car using your card or app.
The scheme is quite flexible – reservations can be cancelled up to 1 hour beforehand. It’s possible to extend the rental period whilst you have the car – subject to availability. If you wish to rent during the popular weekend period then do book in advance.
If you need to fill the tank (which should at least a quarter full at the end of your rental) then fuel is paid for by Greenwheels using a special bank debit card found inside the car. The pincode can be requested by the online computer.
Greenwheels is a reasonable scheme for those who need occasional use of a car when public transport can’t do the job. And you won’t have to worry about running costs, insurance and residential parking fees.
T: +31(0)88 210 0100
Connect Car (a KAV Auto rental subsidiary) has a smaller car share network although a decent presence (over 300 cars) in Amsterdam. Each car has a fixed location and must be returned to its parking spot.
Connect Car has mainly 4 seater Smart cars although you can also find 7 seat Opel Zafiras.
Hourly prices for the Smart cars are €0.91 (0200-0700) and €3.05 (0700-0200). On top of this are distance fees of €0.26 per km (0-100km) and €0.13 per km (from 101km), a fuel fee and a fixed start tariff of €3.50 per rental.
Invoices are sent by email and should be paid by iDeal (Dutch internet banking).
Connect Car does not charge a monthly fee although there is a €25 registration fee and a €100 bond required.
Cars can be reserved and operated using an app. The Connect Car website is a little bit clunky.
Connect Car, Klokkenbergweg 17, 1101 AK Amsterdam
T: +31(0)88 311 9898
SHARE NOW is a car share scheme which formed from the merger of Car2Go (Daimler AG) and DriveNow (BMW Group). It has a presence in a number of European cities.
SHARE NOW has a fleet of over 300 electric cars in Amsterdam – from the 2 person Smart EQ, a small Fiat 500e (4 people) to the medium size BMW i3. The cars have a range of about 100km when fully charged.
SHARE NOW users need an app to locate and rent a vehicle. A personal PIN code is used to unlock the car.
Rental costs start at €0.19 per minute for rentals up to 2 hours. For longer rentals you pay a fixed rate plus €0.19 per km driven. For example, 6 hours costs from €33.99, 1 day from €49.99. Monthly subscriptions are also offered for frequent users.
SHARE NOW offers a small credit if you connect the car to a charging point if the battery level is under 30%. Note there is a surcharge to drop the car off at Schiphol Airport (€8.99) and at NDSM-wharf (€2.99).
SHARE NOW cars can be parked for free around public parking spots in Amsterdam. You can end your trip anywhere inside the Amsterdam ‘Home Area’ which covers most of the city.
SHARE NOW is open to individuals aged over 18 who have held a valid driver’s license for at least 1 year.
Also see Driving in Amsterdam/Netherlands
This article was originally published in 2008 and has regularly been updated. Last update 17 December 2021.