Dutch municipalities considering gender-neutral measures

Dutch municipalities considering gender-neutral measures

A survey of 150 local Dutch governments shows increasing numbers considering measures to become more gender-neutral. A few, such as Amsterdam, have already taken action.

Proposed gender-neutral measures

The top three measures are as follows:

Neutral form of address

Instead of addressing citizens as 'ladies and gentlemen', municipalities are trying to avoid these terms all together and use gender-neutral forms.


Men's and women’s toilets have been replaced by gender-neutral ones at municipal buildings. This was also the case at the local fair in Tilburg this year.

Gender-neutral forms

Civil affairs forms constitute the most popular of the proposed measures. These should refer to the gender of the citizen filling them out as little as possible. However, for some digital procedures such as requests for unemployment benefits, this may not be possible.

In place in

Many municipalities are considering one or all of these measures, but a few can boast that they already have them in place:

  • Amsterdam introduced gender-neutral forms of address for officials last week, and created an internal 'rainbow language guide' with examples so that instances like ‘dear sir/ madam’ can be replaced by ‘dear resident’ etc. This is already common practice in Almelo. 38 other municipalities are thinking about following suit and Groningen already has plans in place.
  • Oss, Enschede, Arnhem and Veenendaal already have gender-neutral toilets in the municipal building and Zaandam is also planning to put this into practice, with another 24 municipalities deliberating this.
  • Asking as little as possible about the gender of the person on a civil affairs form is something that 21 municipalities are already doing and a further 45 are thinking about.

For a detailed overview of the survey visit NOS.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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