Family law

This main section contains 5 sections:

Birth of a child

Parents of a newborn child must observe a number of rules in the Netherlands. First, the child must be registered at the municipal population affairs office. If the parents are unmarried, the father may choose to acknowledge the child.

Registration of newborn child

Every child born in the Netherlands must be registered at the municipal population affairs office within three days of its birth. The Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships will draw up a birth certificate. This is the legal proof of the child's birth.

The child's registration includes the following information:

  • given name or names
  • surname
  • sex
  • place of birth
  • date and time of birth
  • given name(s) and surname of each parent
  • place and date of birth of each parent.

Acknowledgment of paternity

In the Netherlands, if a man and a woman are married or are in a registered partnership and have a child, the mother's husband is automatically designated the child's lawful father, whether or not he is the child's biological father.

Acknowledgment of a child born abroad

A child that was born abroad can be acknowledged in the Netherlands. For this purpose, the partners must go to a Dutch municipal population affairs office or notary.
Foreign birth certificates are valid in the Netherlands provided they are legalised. You can register a foreign birth certificate with the Foreign Documents Department of the municipality of The Hague. Postal address: Dienst Publiekszaken, afdeling Landelijke Taken, Postbus 12620, 2500 DL Den Haag.

If your child is born on board a Dutch seagoing vessel outside the Netherlands, the captain must draw up a temporary birth certificate. He will then send a copy of the birth certificate to the Population Affairs Department of the municipality of the Hague, which will draw up a definitive birth certificate (under Civil Code, Book 1, article 19a, paragraph 2).

On 1 January 2012, the Consular Decree of 22 November 2011 entered into force. Under this decree, births may be registered at the missions in Abu Dhabi, Bagdad, Damascus, Islamabad, Kabul, Koeweit, Peking, Riyadh, Seoel, Teheran and Tokio. These missions will also provide copies of the birth certificates concerned. You cannot register these birth certificates with the Foreign Documents Department of the municipality of The Hague because they are Dutch certificates.

Until 31 December 2011, Consular Decree 1981 was in force. Birth certificates drawn up under this decree are kept in the records of the missions where they were drawn up. Copies of these birth certificates can still be obtained from these missions or, if a mission has since closed down, from its legal successor.