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Netherlands

Country information

Netherlands

1. International Family Mediation

Family mediation, in the Netherlands, is used by the courts, commonly implemented and encouraged by the State through the system of legal aid. The Dutch Code of Civil Procedure stipulates that the judge can advise mediation in all civil cases, which include family cases.

On the website mediation Netherlands run by the Netherlands Mediators Federation (MFN), you can find a family mediator in your region (website is in Dutch). 

International family mediation is provided by the Mediation Bureau which is an independent part of the International Child Abduction Center (IKO) working in joint consultation with the Ministry of Safety and Justice and the Council for the Judiciary. It organises and coordinates cross-border mediations in international child abduction cases, international contact cases and requests for relocation.

1) The Netherlands is a Party to the 1980 Hague Convention.

The 1980 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which provides procedural guidelines on the return of children and their protection in cases of international parental child abduction.

Contact the Central Authority established in the Netherlands for cases of child abduction (operational languages: Dutch, English and French).

2) The Netherlands is a Party to the 1996 Hague Convention.

The 1996 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which determines jurisdiction, applicable law, co-operation in respect of parental responsibility and access rights, as well as civil and public measures for the protection or care of children. 

Contact the Central Authority established in the Netherlands for cases of dispute concerning cross-border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children (operational languages: Dutch, English and French).

3) The Netherlands is a Party to the Brussels IIA Regulation.

Brussels IIA: a legal instrument of the European Union to help resolve family disputes involving more than one country, over divorce, all parental responsibilities and, in particular, the custody of children. Brussels IIA is a regulation applicable to all European Union Member states (except Denmark). The regulation prevails over the 1996 Hague Convention in cases where the child’s habitual residence is within a European Union Member state (except Denmark). Please be aware that if a decision on access and/or custody rights is taken by a court from the European Union, the regulation foresees that a State Party to the 1996 Hague Convention must recognise the court decision.

Contact the Central Authority established in the Netherlands designated under the 1996 Hague Convention for cases of dispute concerning cross-border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children (operational languages: Dutch, English and French).

You can determine whether countries relevant to your case are Parties, or not, to the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, the 1996 Hague Convention on Child Protection and/or Brussels IIA (except Denmark) in order to locate the appropriate central authority. As for the 1980 Hague Convention, you can check whether the Convention is in force between two specific States in the Spreadsheet showing acceptances of accessions to the Child Abduction Convention.

International Social Service Netherlands (ISS Netherlands) can refer you to the proper agencies in the Netherlands for different issues such as family reunion, marriage and divorce, care for the elderly, parental authority, access rights, child abuse, etc.

Cordaid Netherlands encourages cooperative entrepreneurship of people with low incomes. Cordaid Netherlands supports initiatives for cooperative entrepreneurship with knowledge and coaching, and access to expertise, networks and, if necessary, funding. You can contact them directly here.

4. Child Welfare Services

Familiegroepsplan is a plan drawn on a local level by families for protection and development of children and youths. If you need a professional support in developing such a familiegroepsplan, you can find a facilitator in your region directly here (website is in Dutch).

The European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) is a non-profit association of independent children’s rights institutions (click on the Netherlands in the list of country-members).

William Schrikker Groep (WSG) consists different units which provide help and support to children with a disability and to children with parents with a disability. You can contact them directly here (website is in Dutch).

5. Support to bi-national couples, cross-cultural and migrant families

International Social Service Netherlands (ISS Netherlands) can refer you to the proper agencies in the Netherlands for different issues such as family reunion, asylum applications and refugees’ problems.

Amsterdam Mamas is a volunteer-run foundation providing information and support to international parents in Amsterdam and the surrounding regions. You can read their articles or contact them directly here.

Defence for Children in the Netherlands (DCI-Netherlands) is a non-profit organisation that has a child club “We Stay” for children without a residence permit. Despite having a strong connection to the Netherlands, these children are constantly at risk of being deported back to their country of origin, which would harm their development. You can contact them directly here (website is in Dutch).

Nidos is an independent family guardian organisation which provides supervision for foreign families who are not doing well with regard to the education of a child. A minor can be placed under supervision by a juvenile court and will be referred to a family guardianship, who provides support for the child and parents. You can contact them directly here.

Some of the hyperlinks you will find in the texts of this section lead you to websites available only in the native language of the country chosen. Copy the URL-address and paste it in Google Translate, choose your language and click on “translate” to find the whole website available.