One day I had a day off because my stuff had arrived from New Zealand. After everything had arrived I decided to arrange for my identity card and to have my drivers license transferred to the Netherlands again at City Hall. Piece of cake, you'd think.
Well I was right about the ID card thingy. That was sorted in no time as I have a Duthc passport that is a case of fill in this form and pay the fee. Took longer to take the picture for the card and the license than to get the application in. The drivers licence however turned out to be bit more work.
See the standard way how things go is:
* You get your drivers license in the Netherlands after you have passed a test.
* You emigrate to New Zealand, where they also have a driver test but really that is just a farce Once around town hall in a village with three houses and said town hall
* You have your Dutch licence changed to a New Zealand one as that seems to be the sensible thing to do After all you live in New Zealand and saves money on insurance
* Your Dutch driver license is then put into Non-active mode, meaning in fact no longer valid. After all you are now holding a foreign drivers license.
* You Dutch driver license is taken from you as you can only hold one drivers licence at a time, similar story to Dutch nationality I guess.
* Then you do something bureaucracy cannot phantom; You emigrate back to the Netherlands
* You want to revert back to a Dutch drivers licence - and can't
Well actually you can, just have to resit the driving test (but I already sat a Dutch one, - too bad those are the rules). There is no official change over agreement between NZ en the Netherlands, plus they have probably found out that the NZ drivers all think their name is Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme or Possum Bourne. Given that two out of three have managed to kill themselves whilst driving this is a statement about road safety.
So there I was. Being told I had to resit the driving test. Oh my, do not like this prospect at all. But wait! There is hope. What was I doing with this little blue thing with a pink slip in it? 'Well this is my old Dutch drivers license' I tell the lady. 'You should not have that given the above story', she says. 'But I do', I say, stating the obvious. 'Hmmmm' the lady says. She takes my pink driver license. I think: holy cow she is going to take it away from me. But no she is typing in its number and guess what? My license is still active! The NZ people had not discontinued it!
For once in my life I am happy a mistake was made. Because of this bureaucratic mistake I still hold a valid but not current Dutch drivers license. So all I need to do is reapply and pay the fee.
The beauty of the story is that in such a case you are not allowed to drive, but because I hold a current valid NZ license and international license I can, though technically speaking for the Dutch law this is an impossible situation. Never mind. I am not too concerned. I do not have to resit my test and I can still drive.
I was so ecstatic that I had to go into town for some therapeutic shopping.
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*Related pages:* Bureaucracy