The new Donor Act (active donor registration)
The new Donor Act will introduce new rules on organ donation. Currently, organ donation can only take place with explicit consent from the donor or their surviving relatives. This will be replaced by a system of active donor registration. When the new Act comes into force in summer 2020, everyone in the Netherlands aged 18 or older will be registered in the Donor Register.
Request to register
Many people haven’t yet registered their choices about organ and tissue donation in the Donor Register. If they are a resident of the Netherlands aged 18 or older, they will be asked to do this under the new Donor Act.
If you haven’t yet registered, you will get a letter asking you to register your choice in the Donor Register.
If you don’t, you’ll get one reminder. If you still haven’t registered within 6 weeks of the reminder, you will be entered in the Donor Register as having ‘no objection’. The Donor Register will inform you accordingly.
What does ‘no objection’ mean?
When you are entered in the Donor Register as having ‘no objection’, it means that you agree to being a donor after your death. Your surviving relatives must in principle accept that you had no objection to donating your organs or tissues. Under the Act, family members can still stop this happening if they can show convincingly that you really didn’t want to be a donor.
Options in the Donor Register
The new Act will not change the options that you can choose from in the register. The four options are:
- Yes, I give permission;
- No, I do not give permission;
- My partner or family decides;
- I am authorising a specific person to decide.
You can change your choices in the Donor Register at any time.
Organ donations and nationality
The Donor Act applies to all residents in the Netherlands, that is everyone who is registered in the municipal personal records database. A person’s nationality is irrelevant. This is already the case under the current rules. The new Donor Act (active donor registration) does not change this.
Every year people who turned 18 in the preceding year get a letter explaining what organ and tissue donation is and asking them to register their choices. This is already the case and will not change.
If you have any questions, you can call the Donor Information Line: 0900 821 2166 (from the Netherlands only). Or send an email to