Laws

NETHERLANDS (HOLLAND)

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum, Refugees
Bullying
Censorship, Free Speech
Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Defamation
Discrimination
Estates, Wills
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
Health, Medical
HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Immigration
Inheritance, Succession
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Military
Parenting
Partners
Property
Sodomy
Surrogacy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Consensual sex between same-sex couple aged 16 is lawful. The minimum age is reduced to 12 if the ages of the participants are less than 4 years apart

The Dutch Criminal Code provides -

Article 245:

"A person who, out of wedlock, with a person who has reached the age of twelve (12) but not yet sixteen (16), performs indecent acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the body is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than eight years or a fine of the fifth category";

Article 247:

"A person who, with a person whom he knows to be unconscious or physically unable to resist or to be suffering from such a degree of mental defect or mental disease that he is incapable or not sufficiently capable of exercising or expressing his will in the matter or of offering resistance, performs indecent acts, or who, with a person who has not yet reached the age of sixteen (16) years, out of wedlock, performs indecent acts, or by whom the latter is enticed into performing, or submitting to such acts, out of wedlock, with a third party, is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine of the fourth category." [R1.1].

R1.1 Wikipedia: Ages of consent in Europe 10 AUG 08
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation, Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

As at December 2010, the "Safety and Quality of Bodily Material Law", which came into effect in 2003, differentiates between sperm from a spouse or partner and sperm from a 'known donor'. In heterosexual couples, the man does not need to have his sperm tested for diseases. But lesbian couples who have to use a sperm donor must have the sperm tested at a sperm bank. This also applies to single women and heterosexual couples when the man is infertile [R1.2].

In February 2000, the Dutch Committee for Equal Treatment said that three of the Netherlands' 13 IVF clinics were violating the law by refusing to treat lesbians in the belief that children should be raised by a mother and a father [R1.1].

R2.2 Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Test tube law discriminates against lesbians 06 DEC 10
R1.1 Reuters: Dutch IVF Clinics Told to Treat Lesbians 09 FEB 00
Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Asylum, Refugees

On 08 September 2015, the Dutch Government was reported to have declared Russian LGBTI asylum seekers a risk group following a letter by Klaas Dijkhoff, the State Secretary for Security and Justice, to the Dutch House of Representatives. LGBTI asylum seekers will be eligible for asylum if they show minor indications of persecution in their home country, although they must still demonstrate this through personal circumstances and facts [R1.7].


On 12 July 2012, the Netherlands reportedly would grant asylum to any LGBT Iraqi who can provide proof of their sexuality, after the country's Immigration Minister Geert Leers declared the entire country unsafe for gays [R1.6].


In April 2008, an unsuccessful UK asylum applicant fled to Holland and the Dutch Minister of Justice told the country's parliament that she completely trusts the UK asylum system and that the man would be returned to the UK [R1.5].


In April 2006, Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk bowed to pressure from parliament and agreed not to deport Iranian gay people and Christian converts for the time being [R1.4].

In March 2006, Dutch immigration minister Rita Verdonk planned to cancel a six-month reprieve on sending gay and lesbian Iranian asylum seekers back to their country, a move that Human Rights Watch said would subject them to torture and possible execution [R1.3].


As at 01 October 2001, the relatively new addition to the list of provisions enshrined in the 1951 UN Convention that entitles a person to apply for refugee status, "sexual orientation" owing its inclusion to a growing understanding in a handful of countries that lesbians and gays constitute a distinct social group. This article has been invoked to grant asylum to lesbians and gay men in Holland [R1.2].


In January 1999, in a position paper issued to the cabinet, Iranians who have not received asylum from the Netherlands must return to Iran and that it would stop issuing temporary permits to new Iranian refugees who do not meet the asylum requirements [R1.1].

1A.

Courts & Tribunals

On 20 June 2017, it was reported that a 26-year-old gay Iraqi refugee had been given temporary leave to stay in the Netherlands after judges in The Hague said officials were wrong to say he was 'not gay enough'. The process of self-acceptance of being gay plays a key role of asylum claims based on homosexuality however, the court said that photographs and a statement by the man's live-in partner, should be taken into account. In addition, the fact he could be in danger if sent back to Iraq is also relevant to the application. The precedent setting ruling that being gay is more than a process of self-realisation may enable other gay refugees to refer to it [R1A.3].

On 07 November 2013, the European Court of Justice, ruling on three cases of nationals from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal seeking asylum in the Netherlands, found that refugees facing imprisonment in their home country because they are gay may have sufficient grounds to be granted asylum in the European Union [C1A.2], [R1A.1].

The case was brought by the Dutch Supreme Court seeking clarification on the application of relevant EU laws.

The Supreme Court said it will now proceed with the asylum cases and others brought on the same grounds since the cases were sent to Luxembourg in April 2012. [R1A.1]

2.

Immigration

In September 2003, unmarried or same sex partners of European Union citizens became able to accompany their partners more easily to travel or live within the 15-nation bloc under new rules endorsed by ministers [R2.1].

R1.7 GayStarNews: Dutch government admit Russian LGBTIs are in danger, offer asylum 08 SEP 15
R1.6 GayStarNews: The Netherlands opens its doors to LGBT Iraqis 14 JUL 12
R1.5 PinkNews.co.uk: Gay Iranian Will Be Returned to UK As Soon As Today 04 APR 08
R1.4 expatica.com: Dutch Suspend Deportations of Iranian Gays, Christians 13 APR 06
R1.3 PlanetOut Network: Dutch Official Moves to Deport Gay Iranians 08 MAR 06
R1.2 Beirut Daily Star: For Some Young Lebanese Staying Means 'Life Will be Over' 12 OCT 01
R1.1 Reuters: Dutch Say Iranians Lacking Asylum Must Go Home 22 JAN 99
C1A.3 DutchNews: Gay refugee wins right to stay after Dutch court overturns justice minister 20 JUN 17
C1A.2 Opinion: Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel v. X, Y and Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel v. Z No. C-201/12 07 NOV 13
R1A.1 EdgeOnTheNet: EU Court: Homosexuality Can Be Grounds for Asylum 07 NOV 13
R2.1 Reuters: Traveling Made Easier for Gay Couples 23 SEP 03
Censorship, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 02 December 2016, the Advertising Standards Board ruled that the Squirt.org advertising signs and posters campaign at major train stations across Rotterdam, Amsterdam Utrecht and The Hague could continue, finding that the ads met ''the necessary precautions … in the context of good taste and public decency'' [C1.2], [R1.1].

C1.2 Decisions (in Dutch): 2015/01112, 2015/01112/A, 2015/01112/B, 02 DEC 15
R1.1 PinkNews: Advertising watchdog defends gay hook-up ads at train stations 01 JAN 16
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [ESTATES] [MARRIAGE]
1.

National

In 1998, the Netherlands recognised registered gay partnerships however, it only passed laws allowing same-sex couples to marry in December 2000 [R1.4].

The new laws came into effect on 01 April 2001 [R1.3].

Couples who do not wish to marry can still establish registered domestic partnerships [R1.2].


By January 1999, just under 2,800 same-sex couples got hitched under The Netherlands' registered partnership law in the first 10 months of its existence [R1.1].

R1.4 The Age: Dutch Allow Gay Marriages 21 DEC 00
R1.3 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87 kb, MAY 2008
R1.2 Bnews: Dutch Provide Model for Same-Sex Marriage 12 APR 01
R1.1 Capital Q: Couples Register 15 JAN 99
Defamation, Libel, Slander Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HATE CRIMES] [VIOLENCE]
1.

National

On 15 December 2016, a majority of MPs reportedly rejected a proposal to scrap the ban on group defamation, hate speech and discrimination from Article 137C (Group insult) and 137D (incitement to hatred and discrimination) of the Criminal Code [R1.1].

R1.1 nlTimes: Dutch MPs vote to keep ban on hate speech 16DEC 16
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In 1992, discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation was made unlawful [R1.3].


In June 2009, a leaked report from the Council of State said that religious schools can exclude LGBT teachers if their behaviour is contrary to school beliefs [R1.2].

In July 2008, Mr van der Ham, a member of the social-liberal D66 party, wanted the Dutch constitution amended to include gay people as a protected group [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 18 February 2016, the Board for the Protection of Human Rights was reported to have ruled that agricultural supply center A.Th. De Boer & Zonen B.V. unlawfully discriminated against 25-year-old Bas van der Meer by rejecting his internship application on the ground his sexual orientation [C2.3], [R2.2].

In April 2002, a Dutch court ruled that a Muslim cleric who denounced homosexuality as a contagious disease could not be convicted of discrimination charges because he has a constitutional right to religious freedom [R2.1].

R1.3 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87 kb, MAY 2008
R1.2 MCV: Dutch schools can ban gay teachers 16 JUN 09
R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Dutch Politician Wants Gays to be Given Constitutional Protection 31 JUL 08
C2.3 Ruling (in Dutch): A.Th. de Boer & Zonen B.V. v. B. van der Meer 2016-10 PDF 16 FEB 16
R2.2 NLTimes: Gay student wins discrimination ruling against Christian garden center 18 FEB 16
R2.1 Gay.com: Dutch Court Acquits Muslim Over Anti-Gay Statement 09 APR 00

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Estates, Inheritance, Property, Succession, Wills Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 01 April 2001, married same-sex couples gained the right to use each other's surnames, to inherit each other's property, to receive a pension in the event of a partner's death, and to adopt children [R1.2].

On 01 April 2001, same-sex couples who enter into a civil marriage have the right to regard their property as held in common with their partner, though this is not mandatory [R1.2].

Those same-sex couples who are in a registered domestic partnership may be affected differently [R1.1].

R1.2 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87 kb, MAY 2008
Bnews: Dutch Provide Model for Same-Sex Marriage 12 APR 01
R1.1 GayLawNet® - Information - Owning Property
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 01 July 2014, the law that allows transgenders to amend their gender on their passports more easily took effect. The law removes several bureaucratic and stringent steps, making the process more efficient. Previously, transgender individuals needed to go to the judge to have their documents amended. From now on, a document from an expert stating the individual is definitely convinced to belong to the opposite sex, will suffice [R1.6].

On 18 December 2013, the Parliament passed a new law expected to take effect in July giving transgender people the ability to change their identity on official documents with only a statement from “an expert” testifying to their desire to change their gender identification [R1.5].

On 13 September 2011, a Human Rights Watch report concluded Article 28 of the Dutch civil code requiring transgender people to take hormones and undergo surgery to alter their bodies and be permanently and irreversibly sterilized before they can have their gender legally recognized on official documents was a violation of the human rights of transgender people [D1.4], [R1.3].

As at May 2008, the law recognised the "new" gender after Gender Reassignment treatment [R1.2].


In May 2001, it was reported that the Netherlands pays citizens' sex-change benefits [R1.1].

R1.6 NL Times: Transgenders get more passport freedoms 01 JUL 14
R1.5 BuzzFeed: The Netherlands Passes Landmark Gender Identity Law 18 DEC 13
D1.4 Human Rights Watch: Controlling Bodies, Denying Identities PDF 506.81kb, SEP 11
R1.3 RadioNetherlands: Netherlands violates transgender rights 13 SEP 11
R1.2 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87 kb, MAY 08
R1.1 Associated Press: Sex-Change Benefits May Spread Beyond San Francisco 03 MAY 01
Hate Crimes, Hate Speech Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [DEFAMATION] [VIOLENCE]
1.

National

On 15 December 2016, a majority of MPs reportedly rejected a proposal to scrap the ban on group defamation, hate speech and discrimination from Article 137C (Group insult) and 137D (incitement to hatred and discrimination) of the Criminal Code [R1.1].

R1.1 nlTimes: Dutch MPs vote to keep ban on hate speech 16DEC 16
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 28 October 2015, Minister of Health Edith Schippers reportedly announced that the permanent ban on blood donations from homosexual men was lifted in place of new restrictions that state gay men may only donate blood if they have not had sex with another man over the last 12 months [R1.1].

R1.1 nlTimes: Ban lifted on gay male blood donations; Advocates critical of new restrictions 28 OCT 15
HIV Aids Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HEALTH, MEDICAL]
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In October 2008, three gay men went on trial charged with picking up more than a dozen men on the Internet, drugging them and injecting them with HIV positive blood [R1.2].


In December 1998, the Independent Equal Opportunities Commission ruled that blood and sperm banks have the right to refuse to accept donations from homosexual men because they are obliged to limit as much as possible the risk of HIV infection [R1.1].

R1.2 PinkNews.co.uk: Three Men Stand Trial Accused of Deliberate HIV Infection 13 OCT 08
R1.1 Times of India: Blood Banks' Right to Spurn Gay Donors Upheld 18 DEC 98
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]
1.

National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples has been lawful in the Netherlands since 1811 [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled that a forced same-sex French kiss constitutes rape [R2.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87 kb, MAY 2008
R2.1 Capital Q: French Kiss = Rape 12 JUN 98
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In 1998, the Netherlands recognised registered gay partnerships however, it only passed laws allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children in December 2000.

The new laws came into effect on 01 April 2001 [R1.7].

Only Dutch citizens and/or permanent residents may marry in the country, which means in practice that one partner must be "habitually resident" in the Netherlands. However in May 2002, two foreigners were married in The Hague, one of them having rented an apartment for a few months to establish residency [R1.6].

Married same-sex couples have the right to use each other's surnames, to inherit each other's property, to receive a pension in the event of a partner's death, and to adopt children.

Married partners will be obliged to support each other financially and domestically, and may also regard their property as held in common, though this is not mandatory [R1.5].


On 03 June 2014, the Senate voted in favour of legislation - passed by the lower house last year - that will stop town councils employing registrars who refuse to carry out gay marriages [R1.4].

In September 2000, the Dutch Parliament enacted a bill that converts the country’s registered domestic partnerships into marriages, making it the first country to grant gay and lesbian couples the same legal recognition of their relationships that heterosexual couples have [R1.3].


In July 2008, the Dutch civil service developed a new name for "maiden name" so married gay men won't feel awkward. "Geboortenaam" translates to "birth name". It will replace maiden name on official forms [R1.2].


In April 2005, it was reported that Dutch gay and lesbians appear to divorce at a rate of approximately one per cent per year - the same rate as Dutch heterosexual couples [R1.1].

R1.7 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87 kb, MAY 2008
R1.6 ABC Online News: Gay Couple Marries at The Hague 02 JUN 02
R1.5 Bnews: Dutch Provide Model for Same-Sex Marriage 12 APR 01
R1.4 DutchNews: Senate removes same-sex marriage loophole, all officials must comply 03 JUN 14
R1.3 The Advocate: Dutch Approve Gay Marriage 13 SEP 00
R1.2 PinkNews.co.uk: Dutch Replace 'Maiden Name' With 'Birth Name' to Spare Gay Blushes 18 JUL 08
R1.1 MCV: Just As Good, Just As Bad 15 APR 05
Military Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In December 1999, it was reported that gays have served openly since the 1970s [R1.2].

In November 1998, the Dutch air force began a recruitment campaign in the nation's leading magazine for gays. Dutch armed forces have for years adopted a liberal attitude to gays in the military [R1.1].

R1.2 Associated Press: Britain To Impose Army Conduct Code 13 DEC 99
R1.1 Reuters: Dutch Air Force Launches Ads for Gay Recruits 18 NOV 98
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 01 April 2014, new rules came into effect enabling both women in a couple to legally be the parents of children without going through complicated and expensive adoption procedures. The same rules do not apply to male couples because legal parentship rests with the mother and she cannot simply transfer it [R1.5].

From 1 April 2001, the law in the Netherlands allows permits adoption by same-sex couples [R1.4].

Previously:

In June 2005, the Dutch cabinet has passed a bill allowing gay couples to adopt foreign children in the Netherlands, creating greater equality with heterosexuals [R1.3].

The change in law also scraped a three-year probation period for gay step-parents to adopt, making it possible for a lesbian to adopt immediately if her partner gives birth.

The text of the bill was sent to the government's leading advisory body for review and was not made public.

In November 1998, the Dutch Cabinet has approved a plan to let homosexuals adopt children [R1.2].

In February 1998, the Dutch government announced that same-sex couples would be allowed to adopt children, as long as they meet the same standrads set for straight couples [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

In September 1997, Holland's Supreme Court refused to allow a lesbian couple to adopt each other's children, who were conceived via artificial insemination [R2.2].

In May 1996, a Dutch Court rejected applications by two lesbian couples to be legally recognised as adoptive parents [R2.1].

R1.5 Expatica: New rules give equal rights to lesbian mothers 02 APR 14
R1.4 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87 kb, MAY 2008
Bnews: Dutch Provide Model for Same-Sex Marriage 12 APR 01
R1.3 AAP: Dutch cabinet passes gay adoption bill 25 JUN 05
R1.2 Associated Press: Dutch Cabinet OKs Gay Adoption 14 NOV 98
R1.1 Sydney Star Observer: Gay Couples to Adopt 12 FEB 98
R2.2 Melbourne Star Observer: Dutch Lesbian Adoption Rejected 19 SEP 97
R2.1 Brother Sister: Court Denies Parental Rights 16 MAY 96
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HATE CRIMES]
1.

Cities & Towns

On 21 October 2010, the city of Utrecht announced it would introduce a 'gay-alert', a special hotline for gay people who feel threatened or harassed in their neighbourhood [R1.1].

R1.1 Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Utrecht to introduce 'gay-alert' hotline 21 OCT 10

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