The Donor Act

The amended Donor Act came into force on 1 July 2020. It stipulates that everyone aged 18 and over will be included in the Donor Register. The Donor Register records everyone’s choice regarding donation of organs and tissues after death.

Donor Act and nationality in the Netherlands

The Donor Act applies to everyone aged 18 and over who is registered with a Dutch municipality, regardless of their nationality. Foreign nationals will be asked to register their choice in the Donor Register 3 years after moving to the Netherlands. They may also register earlier if they wish.

18 year-olds asked to register by letter

Young people receive a letter after their 18th birthday asking them to register their choice in the Donor Register.

Options for organ and tissue donation

There are 4 options in the Donor Register:

  • Yes, I want to become a donor.
  • No, I do not want to become a donor.
  • My partner or family will decide after my death.
  • I am authorising a specific person to decide after my death.

No choice means no objection

If people do not register their choice, they will be recorded in the Donor Register as having ‘no objection to organ donation’. This means they are giving their permission for their organs and tissues to be donated to another patient after their death. However, this can only happen if someone dies on an intensive care unit in hospital.

A doctor will always discuss the choice recorded in the Donor Register with the patient’s next of kin first. In principle, the family have to accept that the deceased had no objection to donating organs and tissues. However, if the family can convincingly show that the deceased did not want to be an organ donor, the organ donation will not go ahead.

Next of kin decide for people who have not registered

There are situations in which someone is not yet registered in the Donor Register. This applies to:

  • young people who are not yet 18 or who have just turned 18
  • newcomers to the Netherlands.

In these situations the next of kin decide on organ and tissue donation.

Questions about organ and tissue donation

If you have any questions, you can call the Donor Information Line: 0900 821 2166 (from the Netherlands only). Or send an email to