Expats who decide to relocate their pets to the Netherlands or simply get a new pet are highly advised to plan ahead. The following information outlines some basic points and issues every pet owner should keep in mind.
Pet passport (EU dierenpaspoort)
Travelling pet owners have to present the pet passport in order to bring their pets to the Netherlands. The pet passport has been designed to last for the lifetime of the animal bearing it and contains the following information:
- Name of the owner.
- Vet confirmation about the rabies certificate. All pets should be vaccinated at least 21 days prior to the departure date and the date of vaccination must be clearly stated.
- Microchip number. The electronic microchip (transponder) or readable tattoo (applied before July 3, 2011) connects the pet to the passport
- Other info such as sex, age, breed, colour, type of fur and its marks.
If a pet passport is not available, the use of the veterinary certificate (pdf, in Dutch) is mandatory. This certificate is valid for four months or until the expiration date of the vaccination. Also, note that pets might be vaccinated upon entering the Netherlands and remain in quarantine for 30 days. In general, it is advised to plan ahead as all the actions and paperwork above may even take more than nine months.
Note that the above applies to cats, dogs and ferrets. For other animals (except for rabbits, fish and hares) a health certificate from a recognised vet in the country of departure should be presented.
Pet passport for EU and other countries
In principle, the pet passport is used for pets travelling between EU Member States and:
- San Marino
- Vatican City State
Finally, the pet passport is valid if you are travelling to / from:
- Greenland and the Faroe Islands (Danish pet passport)
- French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion (French pet passport)
- Canary Islands (Spanish pet passport)
- Azores and Madeira (Portuguese pet passport)
- Gibraltar (specific Gibraltar pet passport, not UK pet passport)
Pet owners who travel from / to other countries should visit EUROPA - Animal Health & Welfare for more info.
Health & Welfare of Animals Act
According to the MinEL&I, the Dutch government has legislated for animal care under the Health and Welfare of Animals Act, which bans:
- Causing unnecessary pain or injury to animals.
- Harming animal health or welfare.
- Refraining from providing animal care.
- Separating animals from their parents until a certain age.
- Performing surgery on animals, unless permitted by law or order in council.
There are different insurances for pets in the Netherlands. Some cover veterinary treatments while others also pay out when the pet is lost or stolen.
Useful facts about pets in the Netherlands
- Most cities in the Netherlands change an annual Dog Tax (hondenbelasting). This tax is calculated on the number of dogs in each household and it is set by the local municipality.
- Dogs must be registered with the local town hall (Gemeente) and the Municipal tax office (Gemeentelijke Belastingdienst) upon arrival.
- Registration and taxation procedures apply only to dogs, not cats. These apply to non-commercial movement of pets to the Netherlands.
- All dog owners have to declare their dogs to the municipality within the first 14 days.
- Guide dogs for the visually impaired travel free of charge on all public transport.
- Dog owners must clear up after their animals. Fines apply.
- Apart from in the summer months, dogs are allowed on beaches.
Useful links about pets in the Netherlands
- Federatie Dierenambulances Nederland (FDN)
Ambulances for domestic animals in the Netherlands.
- Dieren Ambulance
Animal ambulance service in the Netherlands.
The Dutch society for the protection of animals.
- Dierenkliniek Vondelpark
- Nederlandse Databank Gezelschapsdieren (NDG)
The Dutch Pet Database traces the owners of animals with microchip.
Pet owners have to register the animal’s microchip number so that it can be traced from any EU member country.
Other useful sources for pet owners
- Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (MinEL&I)
- Royal Netherlands Veterinary (KNMvD)