If you are staying, or plan to stay, in the Netherlands for more than four months then you need to register (inschrijven) at the town hall in the municipality (gemeente) where you are living.
Whether you're a Dutch citizen or an international, everyone living in the Netherlands is required to be registered at their home address. Being registered allows the Basisregistratie personen (BRP or Municipal Personal Records Database) to better handle emergency situations, to track the size of the Dutch population and to allocate the right municipal taxes to each household.
Receiving your BSN number
One of the most important reasons to register is that you will then receive your BSN number (personal public service number), which you need for all your administration in the Netherlands. This includes opening a bank account, receiving your salary, visiting a doctor, getting health insurance and applying for benefits.
How to register in the Netherlands
Most gemeenten require you to register within five days of arriving in the Netherlands. If you don’t have a fixed address when you arrive then you should register as soon as your rental contract is finalised.
If you are uncertain then it is wise to contact your gemeente to check the best approach. You will need to make an appointment to register. Call your local town hall and ask for an appointment for "registration from abroad" (inschrijven vanuit het buitenland). You will usually receive confirmation by post or email which will also list the documents you need to bring with you.
Gemeente (town hall) contact details
Below are the contact details of the main gemeenten in the Netherlands. For more visit the municipalities & city councils in the Netherlands page.
- Call 14 020 or 020 255 29 09 (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday)
- See Amsterdam's page on registration
- Call 030 286 00 00
- See Utrecht's registration page
- Call (010) 267 16 25
- See Rotterdam's registration page
- Call 14 070 or 070 353 30 00 (8:30am-5pm, Monday to Friday)
- See The Hague's registration page
- Call 14 024 (8.30am-5pm, Monday to Friday) or make an appointment online
- See Nijmegen's registration from abroad page (in Dutch)
- Call 14 040 or 040 238 60 00
- See Eindhoven's registration from abroad page (in Dutch)
If you have EU citizenship or a valid residence permit and all necessary documents then you will usually be registered within five working days.
Documents needed to register
When making your appointment to register you will be told the exact documents you need to provide. The necessary documents usually include:
- Your valid passport or ID card (not a driving licence).
- Your residence permit (if applicable, either a sticker in your passport, a plastic ID card or letter from IND).
- Your rental contract.
- A certified copy of your birth certificate.
- Your foreign marriage certificate, certificate of registered partnership or divorce (if applicable).
Note that town halls only accept official documents in Dutch, English, French or German, so you may need to get an official translation for other languages. Some documents, such as your birth certificate, may also require proof of authenticity (legalisatie) such as an apostille, which you will need to get before leaving your home country.
Registration & Renting in the Netherlands
If you are renting a room or renting an apartment, it is important to check if you can register at that address. It is unlikely that you will need to pay municipal taxes as they are usually covered in the monthly rent and are paid by the house owner. However, some owners may not allow registration at their property in order to avoid paying the increased taxes. It is unwise to rent a place where you cannot register as it can cause quite a bit of trouble down the track.
Penalties for not registering
Remaining unregistered or registering at the wrong address is not permitted. As of June 1, 2015 the Amsterdam gemeente has introduced fines of up to 325 euros for people who fail to register at the correct address, to notify the municipality of their change of address on time or to present all relevant documents.
Registering for a short stay
If you are staying in the Netherlands for less than four months but you are working or studying, you will need a BSN number. If this is the case, you can register as a non-resident (RNI) with the Personal Records Database (BRP) at one of the following 19 RNI-municipalities. Once you are registered, you will be given your BSN number.
If you are not registering for the first time and you are just changing address within the Netherlands then you can register your new address on the websites of most gemeenten using your DigiD code, or at the town hall in your new town or neighbourhood.
Registering using a correspondence address
In case you don’t have a home address (yet), you can register under a correspondence address. This address is temporary and an administrative address only. For instance, the address of a family member or a colleague.
The correspondence address must be a recognised address in the BRP; you cannot use a P.O. box or a non-residential address (i.e. someone must be living at the address) as your correspondence address. Also, you must have a written declaration of consent from the person who is living at said address correspondence address.
To register under a correspondence address, you need to go to the municipality where the address is situated. Check the municipality’s website for the necessary forms and other requirements.
About one month before departing from the Netherlands, expats need to de-register at their local town hall, also free of charge.