Netherlands bans cars every Sunday to curb CO2 emissions and save fuel

UPDATE 2/04/2022: Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but we couldn’t skip out on our yearly April Fool’s Day prank. 😁 Catch y’all next year!


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced that the Netherlands will introduce car-free Sundays from this month.

The first Sunday of every month will now be completely car-free — driving cars, trucks, and other vehicles on streets or highways will be against the law for the full 24 hours. 🚗

Returning to the roots

The Dutch Cyclists’ Union (Fietserbond) has lobbied the Dutch government for a long time to include one day free of motor vehicles every month. And they have finally succeeded in convincing the cabinet! 🎉

Tweet translation: One of the measures that has proven to be effective and work well is working from home. Let’s bet on that to the maximum. The car-free Sunday returns? And makes sense? Yes, says Professor Bert van Wee via @nhdagblad

The Netherlands is already so bicycle- and public transport-dependent, the Dutch Cyclists’ Union argued Dutchies would survive without cars. Lekker fietsen, hé? 🚲

Unsurprisingly, the Dutch Cyclists’ Union is a pretty tough organisation — before you know it, they might go after cars every day of the week. 🤯

Autoloze zondag” (Carless Sunday)

This isn’t the first time the Netherlands is doing car-free Sundays. The Dutch government announced a ban on cars for a number of Sundays from November 1973 to January 1974. And the circumstances are pretty similar too. 😬

Black-and-white-photo-of-people-on-the-highway-in-the-Netherlands
This group of people are definitely taking advantage of the empty highways to make a cool hang out spot! Image: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The Netherlands was facing a pretty serious petrol crisis and the government decided to curb oil consumption and ration fuel by introducing these vehicle-less days.

Now, the Dutch government wants to take serious strides in saving everyone some money and lowering the country’s carbon footprint, given the extremely high gas prices, climate change, and fossil fuel consumption.

Ever since Shell ditched the Netherlands for the UK, they’re making an extra effort to stick it to them and their oil. 👊

Imposed fines and penalties on violations

And to seal the deal, the Dutch government is even adding new types of fines and penalties system for anyone caught with their car out of the garage:

Where you are drivingImposed fine
Highway (Randstad)€650
Highway (Outside Randstad)€600
Inner-city€450
Outer-city€400
Countryside€300
School-zone (anywhere)€450

If they catch you more than three times driving in your vehicle on a car-free Sunday, they plan to tow your car away and swap it for a bike.

“We can’t be expected to cover all of the costs for extra fuel usage and the road tax”, says a spokesperson for the Dutch government.

The government intends to use the bicycles fished out of the canals as these replacement bikes for those who get fined (call that Dutch “re-cycling”). Bell and lights NOT included. 😡

To make matters worse, when you do the ride-of-shame away, the municipality enforcement officers will slap you with a fine for the lack of lights too.

No problem for us! We’re ready to hop back on our bikes and use the reliable and trusted Dutch public transport system. 💪🏼

How are you planning on getting around the Netherlands in the coming car-free Sundays?

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien is a Philippine native living in the Netherlands to finish her master's degree in political communication. You can usually find her trying to organize everything on Notion and the sticky notes app, otherwise, she’s nose-deep in a good book or obsessing over film soundtracks and video games.

28 COMMENTS

    • Haha, I wish this was true. I don’t have a car but use a velomobile to get around. I’d love to try it out on a motorway, see what speed I could get up to.

  1. It will be a paralysed country every first Sunday. Everyone must stay in the neighbourhood.
    There are people that are paying for 35 000 km per year whether they use it or not, so this new law takes away their paid kilometers.

    • For once I thought my life is doomed and what kind of joke NL govt is trying to o pull, and then I realised “Joke” humm…

  2. Yeah. Like it’s possible in the Netherlands to get somethi g this big through the parliament in just one day….. must be april fools

  3. How do I tackle, more in general, the introduction of dictatorship in the Western World? Simple, leave the country as soon as I retire.

  4. Nice… Not 100% car free. Many are still car dependant for work on Sundays. 4 or 5 shifts schedule require employees to work weekends too. Forget about public transport in those cases.

  5. Well done Dutchreview. When I started to read the heading, I just couldn’t believe it and clicked through to read the full article. Soon I realized that a photo of PM Rutte is easy to get and not related to auto free Sundays. Haven’t heard of the fines before, towing a car away three times, then getting a bike, resurfaced from a canal 😅
    Love it

  6. Stupid joke with a bad hidden agenda in it ! Not considering people might bought it is not a decent idea to start with. Jokes can be so many much better ideas!
    And feeling less and less free in a dictation country, rather sad !

  7. So the only time we can use our cars are when driving to and from our shitty jobs??? What about hospital workers that work on a Sunday!!! Who the f said “we can not be expected to cover all the costs?!! I don’t see them paying the insurance and tax for my car. The daily rate I can claim back is €8,36 and it has been that way for years! Yet in that time petrol has gone from €1,20 a litre to €2,30!!! And all these new taxes; meat tax, flight tax, some other f-ing tax I don’t even remember cos I can’t keep up!!!! I swear to god, I could kill that son of a bitch!

  8. In Belgium, the Greens would REALLY introduce such an idiotic law if you give them the chance. So beware! Even more stupid measures like this have already become reality…

  9. That was one of the measures taken by Nicolae Ceaușescu , the Romanian dictator, 40 years ago.
    So, the Dutch Government became a communist one??
    🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂

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