I am going to have a child. What should I do to register the birth of my child?
Registering the birth of a child takes places at your gemeente (municipality) in the city where your baby is born. This must be done within three days from the date of the birth of the baby. If the birth occurs over a weekend or public holiday, you must register the birth on the first available working day. This service is provided free of charge. Normally the father is required to register the birth; however, if this is not possible, e.g. because the father is not known, then somebody else who was present at the birth (such as another family member) may undertake this duty. If you are not married, you may report to the court (after the birth) that you intend to conduct parental responsibility. Find further information at the Dutch government website.
The Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships will draw up a birth certificate. This is the legal proof of the child’s birth. It is suggested that either you or your partner check on your municipality website for what documentation is required to be brought for the appointment.
Which documents should I bring to register the birth of my newborn child?
Registering the birth of a child takes places at your gemeente (municipality). Please bring the following documents:
- Valid passport or identity card (ID card) of the person registering the birth. Or a driving license if the person registering the birth lives in the municipality where the birth is being registered
- Valid passport or ID card of the mother or a driving license if the mother lives in the municipality where the birth is being registered
The following documents are not compulsory when registering a birth. It may, however, be useful to take them with you:
- Birth notification from the hospital or midwife showing the child’s birth names and the date and time of birth
- Where applicable, a copy of the declaration of acknowledgement of parentage if the child was acknowledged before birth
- Declaration of surname choice if the child’s surname was decided when acknowledging the child before birth
Which surname can I choose for my child?
For your first child, you can choose either the mother’s surname or the father’s surname. This surname will be given to all subsequent children. This is to ensure that all the children in a family have the same surname. You can choose your first child’s surname before birth or when registering the birth. Both parents must go to the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships to register the choice of surname. This cannot be done by one parent or in writing.
If you do not choose a surname, your child will automatically be given the father’s surname or the mother’s surname. This depends on the family situation:
Parents who are married or registered partners (of different sexes)
Your child will automatically be given the father’s surname. However, you can choose the mother’s surname instead. To do so, both parents must go to the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships to register the choice of the mother’s surname. You can do this before the birth or when registering the birth.
Unmarried parents (of different sexes)
Your child will automatically be given the mother’s surname. If you would prefer your child to be given the father’s surname, he must acknowledge the child. At the time of acknowledgement, you will also be asked for your choice of surname. To acknowledge the child and choose its surname, both parents must go to the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships. You can do this before the birth, when registering the birth or at a later time after the birth.
Parents of the same sex (2 men)
If you adopt a child with another man, you can choose either of your surnames. However, this only applies to your first child. Your other children will be given the same surname as your first child. You choose the surname of your child in court when formalising the adoption.
Parents of the same sex (2 women)
If 2 women who are married or registered partners have a child, the following applies: if the child was conceived through an anonymous sperm donation under the terms of the Human Fertilisation (Donor Information) Act: the child is given the surname of the co-mother. This only applies if the co-mother automatically becomes the child’s lawful parent when the child is born. The parents can also choose the surname of the biological mother; If the child was conceived through a known donor and the co-mother acknowledges the child: the child is given the surname of the biological mother. The parents can also choose the surname of the co-mother by signing a declaration of surname choice.
Is my baby going to be insured automatically after birth?
This is not the case. You have to register your baby within four months after birth. The baby will receive healthcare free of charge until reaching the age of 18.
Do I need to make a will or change it upon the birth of my child?
After the birth of your child, it is suggested that you should consider making a will if you have not already done so. If the unexpected happens and both you and your partner die suddenly, it is in your best interests to stipulate in a legally-recognised document who you would wish to look after your child, i.e. who should become the guardian. If no will exists in these circumstances, the Dutch courts may decide that your baby/child should be put into state care as an orphan. To make a will in the Netherlands, you should make an appointment with a Dutch. Please note that if you have already made a will, you are advised to amend it to reflect the fact that you now have a child (a dependent).
If you have already made a will in your previous country of residence or origin, this document will be recognised by the Dutch authorities as long as it conforms to the legal requirements of the country in which it was written and does not contain any stipulations which would conflict with any public order or public morality legislation in the Netherlands.
Please note that the Dutch court will automatically go through the process of establishing legal guardianship should both parents of the child die suddenly. However, this may take some time if your will was made in another country and thus not registered with a Dutch notaris. It is thus suggested that you should make your close relatives (parents or siblings) aware of the existence of your will and where it can be found.
I am going to have a baby in the Netherlands. Will my child have Dutch nationality?
Children born in the Netherlands to parents who are not Dutch citizens will not normally have the right to Dutch nationality at birth. However, if either of the child’s parents is a Dutch citizen, then the child will automatically acquire Dutch nationality at birth under the following situations:
- The mother is a Dutch citizen on the day of the child’s birth
- The father is a Dutch citizen on the day of the child’s birth. He is also married to or in a registered partnership with the non-Dutch mother
- The father is Dutch but not married to or in a registered partnership with the non-Dutch mother and he acknowledged the child before birth
- The father is a Dutch citizen and after March 2009 he acknowledged the child after the birth but before the age of 7. After the child’s seventh birthday, the procedure is different. You can visit the IND website for further information
Please note that it does not matter whether the child was born in the Netherlands or abroad.
My partner and I are living together but we are not married and I am going to have a baby. Will my partner be officially recognised as the father? And what if we get married?
In the Netherlands, if a man and a woman are not married or are not in a registered partnership, then the man will not automatically be recognised as the lawful father of any children that they may have. This is irrespective of the fact that the man is the child’s biological father.
If you are not married and your partner wants to be regarded as the child’s lawful father, he must go through the formal process of acknowledging that he is the child’s rightful father. This also applies if you are in a cohabitation agreement. Complying with the Dutch process of formally acknowledging the child may be important for giving the right of inheritance, nationality, determining parental access and/or parental guidance.
- Your partner may acknowledge the child before the child is born by having a ‘deed of acknowledgement’ (erkenning kind vóór de geboorte) drawn up by the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships or by a notary. Alternatively, he can acknowledge the child when registering the birth or at any time afterwards having obtained the biological mother’s written consent in advance (parental responsibility)
- Every father and every person who is a life partner of the mother who agreed on having a baby (for example through artificial insemination) is obliged to provide for his child regardless of whether or not he acknowledges him/her. This becomes only different if the child was acknowledged by somebody else. The child also acquires the right to inherit from its father
- A child born of a marriage or in a registered partnership between a man and a woman will automatically have both partners registered as its parents even if the man is not the biological father
Further information on the subject can be found at the following Dutch government website: www.government.nl/issues/family-law.
In a marriage or registered partnership between two women, the biological mother is automatically registered as parent. How the co-mother can become registered as a legal parent, either automatically or by acknowledgement, is explained on the Dutch government’s website.
I want to travel with my baby. Does he/she need a passport?
All babies and minors are required to have their own passport when travelling to any country which is not part of the European Union Schengen area (note not all EU countries are signatories to the Schengen agreement). Please note that if you are travelling within the Schengen area, you are still advised to take a passport or ID card with you, so you can prove your identity, if required (e.g. if stopped by police).
Even if only one of the parents is Dutch, the child is still eligible to obtain a Dutch passport. However, if neither of you are Dutch citizens, then your child is not entitled to a Dutch passport, irrespective of where the child was born. Under these circumstances, you should apply for a passport for your child from either your embassy or the national passport office in your native country.