Everyone in the Netherlands is entitled to equal treatment. This right is considered so important that it is enshrined in Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution.
Taking action against discrimination
If you feel that you have been discriminated against, you can take various steps. The law lists the forms of discrimination against which you can take action, including discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, origin, sexual orientation, sex, skin colour, race, civil status, disability or chronic illness, or age.
In cases of discrimination, you can present your situation or submit your complaint to:
Your employer, landlord, educational institution or transport companyThere may be a complaints officer or a complaints committee that can help you find an acceptable solution.
An antidiscrimination service in your areaIf you are uncertain whether it is worthwhile to submit a complaint, you can first seek advice from an antidiscrimination service. All municipalities in the Netherlands have such a service. Anyone can approach the service with a question or complaint about discrimination. The antidiscrimination service provides assistance and advice and registers the complaint.
National discrimination helplineYou can call the national discrimination helpline on 0900 235 4354. Calls cost €0.10 per minute and are automatically transferred to your antidiscrimination service. The contact details of all antidiscrimination services and discrimination reporting offices also appear on the discriminatie.nl website and on the website of Art.1, the national association against discrimination.
The Netherlands Institute for Human RightsThe Netherlands Institute for Human Rights assesses whether equal treatment laws have been violated. Organisations wanting to know the rules governing equal treatment may also contact the Institute. Complaints are dealt with free of charge. The Institute’s decisions are not binding, so parties have no obligation to abide by them. In practice, however, the recommendations are often followed
A civil or administrative courtIn cases in which you have already approached the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, the court is required to take the institute’s findings into account in its decision. However, you can also apply to the courts without first contacting the institute.
The policeIf you have been harassed, intimidated or worse, you can also lodge a criminal complaint with the police if an offence has been committed. That means the incident involved discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion, belief, sexual orientation or disability. When reporting discrimination, you may provide as much or as little personal information as you like.
The Internet discrimination hotlineIf you find discriminatory statements on the internet, you can report them to the internet discrimination hotline (MiND Nederland). The internet discrimination hotline registers and processes these reports. The hotline evaluates reports of discrimination on the Dutch part of the internet. If MiND believes that a particular statement is unlawful, it issues a request for the removal of that statement. In exceptional cases it contacts the police. You can report internet discrimination by sending an email to MiND.
Report crime anonymouslyYou may also report discrimination to the police anonymously by phone dialling the number of Bel M. (0800 7000), in which case you do not need to provide any personal information. For more information, see Report crime anonymously.