How do I donate my body to medical science after my death?
It is possible to donate your body to medical science after your death. To make the arrangements, contact the anatomical institute of one of the universities in the Netherlands, as this is a separate process to organ or tissue donor registration. However, if you are already registered as an organ or tissue donor, this takes priority over body donation.
Registering with an anatomical institute
To donate your body to medical science, you need to give consent to an anatomical institute. They will ask you for a handwritten declaration (codicil) stating that you wish your body to be donated to medical science after your death. You must also sign and date the declaration, which is then stored in the institute’s records. You and your family doctor will be given a copy. A list of all anatomical institutes in the Netherlands can be found on the website of Lichaamsdonatie (in Dutch).
What happens to my body after donation?
After your death, your body will be sent to the anatomical institute. It will not be returned to your nearest relatives for a funeral. It will be used to teach medical students and for research, for instance into new operating techniques.
Priority for organ and tissue donation
You may already be registered as an organ or tissue donor but also wish to donate your body to medical science after your death. In such cases, priority is always given to organ and tissue donation. Some anatomical institutes will accept a body after a donation procedure. It depends on the policy of the individual institute.