NetherlandsOfficial Name: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Embassies and Consulates
Lange Voorhout 102
2514 EJ The Hague
Telephone: +(31) (0) 70 310 2209
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +31 (0) 70 310 2209
Fax: +(31) (0) 70 310 2207
U.S. Consulate General Amsterdam
1071 DJ Amsterdam
Telephone: +(31)(20) 575-5309
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(31)(0) 70 310-2209
Fax: +(31) (0) 20 575 5330
The Netherlands and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since September 01, 1990.
For information concerning travel to the Netherlands, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for the Netherlands.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.
Hague Abduction Convention
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including the Netherlands. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
The Dutch Central Authority (DCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Upon receipt of a new Hague application, the MOJ will contact the taking parent to determine whether he or she wants to voluntarily return the child to the country of habitual residence. In cases where the applicant is not aware of the child’s location in the Netherlands, the MOJ attempts to find the child with the assistance of several authorities. The DCA can be reached at:
Ministry of Justice
Directie Justitieel Jeugdbeleid (Youth Policy Division)
Afdeling Juridische en Internationale Zaken (Department for Legal and International Affairs)
2500 EH THE HAGUE
Telephone number: +31 (70) 370 79 11
Fax number: +31 (70) 370 7900
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in the Netherlands, the USCA encourages parents or legal guardians to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Dutch Ministry of Justice, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or the Dutch central authorities. Applicant parents may be responsible for additional costs, such as airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered and attorneys fees if the parent does not qualify for free legal assistance from the Dutch government.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in the Netherlands. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in the Netherlands. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining an Attorney
Left-behind parents are required to retain the services of private Dutch legal counsel to forward their Hague petition to the appropriate court. Family law matters require legal representation; however, the Netherlands has a legal system for providing subsidized legal aid to cover the costs of legal proceedings, including lawyer's fees. An applicant may qualify for such subsidized legal aid, depending on their income. More information on subsidized legal aid is available here. The applicant may complete the application form together with their future lawyer, who will be authorized to submit the form to the Legal Aid Board.
The U.S. Embassy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. The DCA does not provide mediation services directly; however the DCA does provide referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services. Courts and notaries readily formalize agreements that are negotiated under the guidance of a mediator. Mediation costs vary according to the duration of the negotiations.
Exercising custody rights
It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a valid custody order, if the parent attempts to gain access to the child, the parent’s actions may be illegal in the country where the child is physically present and may ultimately delay the child’s return and even result in the parent’s detention. To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney. For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
The U.S. government cannot legally interfere with the judicial system of another sovereign nation.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.