We’ve got loads of articles about raising a child in the Netherlands, including the ultimate guide to child benefits and a personal recount of what motherhood’s like for a foreigner. NOW we bring you: how to register a birth in the Netherlands. Expecting a baby? You might want to read this…

Having a child is magical. I remember when my gorgeous Dutch/Australian boy was born: I was lying in the hospital room (15 hours and a C-section later), holding my one-hour-old baby. Nothing can describe the feeling you get when your little miracle is born. It seems like a blurry dream. My husband was playing some serene, harmonious music, there was a soft glow about the room, and then…the in-laws arrived!

Let the celebrations begin!

We popped the (non-alcoholic) bubbles and, as per Dutch tradition, indulged in beshuit met musije (small bits of hard candy that make you feel like your teeth will break). One by one, everyone met the new family member. The atmosphere was calm, almost mystical. Then suddenly – in a very serious voice – my mother-in-law said, “Oh, you need to register your baby.” 

I had no idea. How was I supposed to do that? Obviously it was the last thing on my mind after having just given birth. So, there you are: another thing to add to your after-birth to-do list. Never fear though. Before you go and handle it on your own, we have some advice and information about the whole process.

How to Register a Birth in The Netherlands: How long do I have to register a birth?

Officially, you have 3 (business) days to register a birth in The Netherlands, or 2 (business) days if there is a weekend or public holiday in between. That doesn’t leave much time to fart around, so make sure you make a good plan and get it done swiftly once your baby is born. If you don’t register the birth within this time frame, you could be facing a penalty (ouch!). Trust me, you don’t want that – you will need that money to buy all those nappies!

How to Register a Birth in The Netherlands: Who can register the birth?

The parents of the baby are allowed to register the birth of their baby. In my case, with a c-section, obviously I could not leave the hospital, which meant my husband went on his own (together with my mother-in-Law). Luckily, both parents are not required to be there to register the birth. If neither one of the parents are able to register the birth then it could be somebody else who was present at the birth. Additionally, a doctor, mid wife or kraam nurse can register the birth if necessary. If that all fails, a roommate or somebody living in the house where the baby will be living is allowed to register the birth. Unfortunately, extended family members are not able to register the birth unless they were present at the birth or are living at the same residence the baby will be living.

registering a birth
Don’t worry too much about the to-do list, this is a beautiful moment!

How to Register a Birth in The Netherlands: How do I register a birth?

After your baby is born, contact your local Gemeente (City Council or Town Hall) to register the birth of your baby. This can be found online by searching for Gemeente together with the name of the town or city you are living in. You can then contact them by phone or make an appointment online. An online appointment can be made by clicking on the tab geboorte (births). After calling the Gemeente, my husband decided to skip the city option in Utrecht. Instead, he decided to head a little bit outside of Utrecht to a smaller Town Hall in a place called Vleuten. It seemed less busy, and worth it to make the small drive – worth a thought if you have the option!

How to Register a Birth in The Netherlands: What will I need to bring to register a birth?

Well obviously an ID. Duh! This needs to be from both parents too, even if one parent is not able to attend. This could be in the form of a passport, driver’s licence or Resident Permit. It is also probably handy to write down the time and place of birth of your baby (just in case!). Bring a marriage certificate if you are married, but it is probably not essential.

Oh, and write down (and bring) the name of your baby. This is so you don’t make the mistake of spelling the name incorrectly! It may sound ridiculous, but this could be a big bad mistake. If it actually happened, you would be required you to go to court to officially change the name. That is a lot of work to get the name back to what it was supposed to be. So, try not to be a silly sausage and spell the name of your child right – the first time!

How to Register a Birth in The Netherlands: How much does it cost to register a birth?

A word the Dutch love, GRATIS! Registering a birth in The Netherlands is FREE (gratis), hooray (hoera)!

Finally, at the appointment, the gemeente will kindly print your birth certificate. Now you can tick off register birth from your to do list! Yes, now go and enjoy your little bundle of joy!

As usual, let us know in the comments if you found this helpful or if you have anything to add! If you’ve done this before, how did you find registering a birth in the Netherlands? 

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