In the Netherlands, the death of a person is registered with the ‘gemeente’ (municipal offices) of the city where the death took place. This is almost always handled by a funeral director (‘uitvaartonderneming’) and it must be recorded within five days.
Burial and Cremation
Under Dutch law, a funeral or cremation can not not take place until 36 hours have passed from the time of death. It also requires that the burial or cremation happen no more than 5 days from the time of death.
Repatriation of a Foreigner
Transporting a corpse from the Netherlands to another country requires the assistance of the embassy or consulate of the destination country. Consular officials can assist in having the remains returned, in obtaining appropriate documentation and in inquiring about Dutch exit requirements.
- Certificate-of-death issued by the local authorities
- Statement from the undertaker certifying that the coffin contains only the remains/body of the specific individual
- Embalming certificate (if required)
- Removal permit from the local police department
- Transit permit from the Dutch health department
Netherlands contact information for:
- American citizen death – U.S. Consulate Amsterdam
- British citizen death – U.K. Consulate Amsterdam
- Canadian citizen death – Canadian Embassy The Hague
- Irish citizen death – Republic of Ireland Embassy The Hague
- Australian citizen death – Embassy of Australia The Hague
- New Zealand citizen death – Embassy of New Zealand The Hague
Euthanasia in the Netherlands
Since the Euthanasia Act of April 2002, the laws on euthanasia (assisted suicide and the termination of life by a medical practitioner) are very clear for both the consulting doctor and patient.
Euthanasia may be performed by a registered doctor under the following conditions:
– It is the voluntary, well-considered request of the patient
– The physician has consulted a colleague who agrees the proposed course of action
– The patient is in unacceptable suffering
Requests for euthanasia can also be made in advance by Living Will.
Euthanasia may only be performed on citizens and residents of the country as the legal requirement is that there has been an ongoing relationship between doctor and patient. The physician informs the local medical examiner that the death was not by natural causes. The doctor does not face prosecution.
The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport publishes comprehensive information in English on euthanasia in the Netherlands.
Dutch Undertakers & Related Services
BGNU (Branchevereniging Gecertificeerde Nederlandse Uitvaartondernemingen) – trade association of certified Dutch funeral companies
De Facultatieve Groep – a leader in cremation technology and management services for crematoriums and cemeteries.
IRU (Internationaal Rouwvervoer & Uitvaartverzorging) – organization that specializes in repatriation of remains to or from the Netherlands.