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International Parental Child Abduction


Country Information


Kingdom of the Netherlands
Exercise increased caution in the Netherlands due to terrorism.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in the Netherlands due to terrorism.

Country Summary: Terrorists continue plotting possible attacks in the Netherlands. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to the Netherlands.  

If you decide to travel to the Netherlands:   

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by large crowds or foreign nationals.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter
  • Review the Country Security Report for the Netherlands.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy The Hague

John Adams Park 1
2244 BZ Wassenaar
+(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
Museumplein 19
1071 DJ Amsterdam
+(31) (0) 20 575-5309 (Emergencies involving U.S. citizens only)
Telephone:+(31) (0) 70 310 2209 (All other calls)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(31) (0) 70 310-2209
Fax: +(31) (0) 20 575 5330

General Information

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 Child Abduction. 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.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 1-202-485-6221

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)
Postbus 20301
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

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. 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 U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

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.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

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. 


Last Updated: October 29, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Consulate General Amsterdam
Museumplein 19
1071 DJ Amsterdam
+(31) (0) 70 310 2209
+(31) (0) 70 310 2209
+(31) (0) 20 575 5330

Netherlands Map