Funeral service will take place in a hall.
Source: Pavel Danilyuk
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What to do when a loved one dies
Last updated: 2/5/2024, 2:27 PM

If your loved one dies in the Netherlands, there is a lot on your mind. It is a sad situation and you have a lot to arrange as a surviving relative. In this article you can read more about what you need to know in case of death.

You call a general practitioner when someone has died

In the Netherlands, you first call a general pracitioner when someone dies at home. The GP confirms whether it is a natural death. This means that someone died of old age or disease. If there is any doubt about this, additional examination of the body may be necessary. A GP then issues a

declaration of death
. When someone dies in the hospital, the doctor does this.

You consult with the next of kin

In the Netherlands, next of kin decide what happens to the deceased after death. This is done in consultation with the funeral director.

In the days leading up to the funeral, the body of the deceased is laid out. This can be done at home or perhaps at the reception centre. It is also possible to bury someone in a funeral home. You will discuss with the funeral director how and when people can say goodbye. A funeral director is someone who helps arrange and take care of the funeral.

A funeral director helps you make funeral arrangements

You have a lot to arrange when a loved one dies. You can arrange everything yourself, but usually a funeral director does this. After the death, discuss with the funeral director all your wishes for the funeral or cremation and the costs involved. Ask the general practitioner, people at the hospital, attendants at the location or from the municipality to help you find a funeral director.

The municipality is responsible if there are no next of kin

If there is no next of kin of the deceased person, the municipality is responsible for the final destination of a deceased person. If the deceased is from another country, the municipality will see if it can contact the next of kin in another country. The municipality is responsible for the burial or cremation if the next of kin cannot or will not provide for the body's final destination. The municipality looks into the possibilities and, if possible, consults with next of kin in Ukraine or in another country.

Burial or cremation in the Netherlands

It is possible to bury or cremate the deceased in the Netherlands. For a funeral or cremation, all kinds of things are possible depending on your budget. Think of funeral cards, speeches, music, food and drinks, a farewell with invited guests, a church service. It is possible to have a Ukrainian Orthodox priest officiate at the funeral. The funeral director helps to arrange and organise everything. A lot is possible in the Netherlands but it depends on your budget. Always ask the municipality if and how much they can contribute if there is little money available.

Burial or cremation in Ukraine

You can also choose a burial or cremation in Ukraine. If you want to bury someone in Ukraine, it is wise to do so as soon as possible. If someone is already buried in the Netherlands, then it is very difficult and expensive to do another funeral later outside the Netherlands. You can take the body directly to Ukraine, this is called 'repatriation'.

You can also cremate the deceased in the Netherlands first. The ashes of the deceased may only be released after one month. Keep this in mind if you want to take the ashes with you to Ukraine.

Arranging an international death certificate
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