A newlywed couple.
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What you need to know if you want to get married in the Netherlands
Last updated: 5/1/2024, 2:35 PM

Do you want to make your relationship official before the law? If so, you can get married in the Netherlands. There are also other options to make your relationship official. Read more about them in this article.

You can make a relationship legal in several ways

In the Netherlands, there are 3 ways to make your relationship official, namely:

  • Wedding

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    Registered partnership

  • Cohabitation contract

When you get married or start a civil partnership, you automatically have legal rights and obligations to each other. For example, you have the right to each other's inheritance and the duty to take care of each other. Would you rather define for yourself what you do and do not share with each other? You can make arrangements about that before your marriage or registered partnership with the help of a notary public.

With a cohabitation contract, you do not automatically have rights and obligations to each other. For example, you are not automatically entitled to each other's inheritance. The rights and obligations within your relationship are agreed upon together. You can make a cohabitation contract together. But usually a notary public does this.

You can visit

Click here for an additional explanation
Het Juridisch Loket
for legal information about making your relationship legal. Keep in mind that your financial situation may change when you make the relationship official before the law. For example, allowances and benefits may change or even stop. You can call the
Click here for an additional explanation
Dutch tax authorities
for help and information.

Het Juridisch Loket
Visit the 'Het Juridisch Loket' website for more information.
Tax information line
You can call the tax information line free of charge at (0800) 05 43. You can find more information on the website of the Dutch tax authorities.

This is what you need to arrange to make your relationship legal

You can have a civil marriage or partnership in the Netherlands. You can arrange this at your municipality. You need to do the following 2 things:

  • At least 2 weeks before the marriage or registered partnership, you make a notification to the municipality where you live. Often this can be done online. You will need your legalised birth certificates for this. If the birth certificate is not in Dutch, English, French or German, it still needs to be translated by a

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    sworn translator
    .

  • You must register 2 to 4 witnesses. These are often family members or friends who will be at your wedding or registered partnership. The witnesses must be at least 18 years old.

Many municipalities allow you to have a marriage or registered partnership ceremony free of charge on some days of the week. You can check this with your municipality.

You can hold a religious gathering

If you want, you can also hold a religious gathering. For example, in a church or mosque. This is an additional gathering and is not a substitute for having a civil marriage or registered partnership at the municipality. Are you only holding a religious gathering? Then your relationship is not official before the law.

These are the terms of a marriage or registered partnership

If you get married or enter into a partnership, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must be over 18 years of age.

  • You and/or your partner live in the Netherlands for more than 6 months.

  • You may not be married to someone else. Your municipality may ask for an

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    unmarried declaration
    as proof. The unmarried declaration must be legalised. If the unmarried declaration is not in Dutch, English, French or German, it must first be translated by a sworn translator.

  • You may not marry certain relatives such as a brother or sister.

  • If someone else makes decisions about your money and your life because you are under guardianship, you must get that person's permission. Are you under guardianship for mental health reasons? Then a judge must give permission for marriage or registered partnership.

These are the requirements for a cohabitation contract

You can sign a cohabitation contract in the Netherlands. You can make this contract together with your partner. Or you can choose to have this done by a notary public. This is called a notarised cohabitation contract.

Requirements for a cohabitation contract:

  • You must be over 18 years of age.

  • You must be allowed to make your own decisions about your money and your life.

You can register your existing marriage in the Netherlands

Did you get married in your country of origin? Then you must also register your marriage in the Netherlands.

  1. Have your wedding document translated into Dutch, English, French or German. Only a

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    sworn translator
    may do this.

  2. Get your marriage documents legally approved at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home country. They put a stamp on the translation. This is called an "apostille". You can have this done in your country of origin or online. If you do it online, you get an "electronic stamp". 

  3. Report to the municipality where you live in the Netherlands that you are married. You will need the translated marriage document to do this. The municipality will update this in the

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    Dutch population register (BRP)
    .

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