Any child born in the Netherlands must be registered within three days of the birth at the local municipality office, within the department of municipal population affairs. If one of these three days is a weekend or a public holiday in the Netherlands then you are allowed a total of two working days in order to register the birth.
Registering a child born in the Netherlands
A birth certificate will then be drawn up for your child, ensuring that it has been legally recognised. The father of the child is obliged to do this, but if he is unable to do so then there are exceptions given to:
- Anyone present at the birth of the child.
- The owner of the house where the child was born.
- An authorised person of the establishment where the birth occurred.
When these options have been exhausted, a representative of the Mayor's office may also register the birth of a child.
Documents when registering a birth in the Netherlands
When registering a birth in the Netherlands, one should present / declare the following:
- Identification for both the father and the mother.
- The date and time of the birth.
- A marriage certificate if the mother is married.
- In some cases, proof of the birth from a doctor, hospital or midwife.
Registering a child born abroad
If your child was born outside of the Netherlands and you would like to have it registered then you must present a legalised birth certificate at your local municipality office.
Automatic parental authority
Married parents or parents with a registered partnership automatically have joint custody of their child.
Are you (the child's parents) not married or do you not have a registered partnership? In that case, when your child is acknowledged on or after 1 January 2023, you will usually automatically receive joint custody. You no longer need to apply for parental authority at the court.
Acknowledging the child (kind erkennen)
If you are not the child's legal parent (you are not married to or have a registered partnership with the mother), you can acknowledge the child to become their lawful parent. A step-parent can acknowledge the child if only the partner has parental authority over the child.
You can acknowledge the child during the pregnancy (erkenning van de ongeboren vrucht), during the registration of the birth at the municipality or at a later time. If the mother is not present during this time, she will need to give written consent. If the child is older than 12, you will need the consent of both mother and child. If the child is older than 16, you will only need the consent of the child.