Marriage in the Netherlands for Foreigners


Imagine a scene where iconic windmills dot the horizon, serene canals weave through idyllic towns, and vibrant tulip fields create a colorful tapestry—the Netherlands, a fusion of stunning natural beauty and a deep cultural legacy, is a mesmerizing choice for your dream wedding destination. If you’re a foreigner with visions of an unforgettable wedding in this unique setting, it’s crucial to navigate the legal intricacies and procedures. This comprehensive guide is your key to unraveling the magic of getting married in the Netherlands, ensuring your special day unfolds seamlessly amidst this Dutch wonderland.

Legal Requirements for Getting Married in the Netherlands

While the Netherlands offers a captivating backdrop for your special day, it’s vital to navigate the legal landscape. Here’s a closer look at the essential prerequisites for marrying in this enchanting country.

Eligibility and Age Restrictions

Before you start planning your Dutch wedding, ensure that you meet the legal requirements. Both parties must be at least 18 years old to get married in the Netherlands. If you’re younger than 18, you’ll need parental consent.

Residency Requirements

The Netherlands doesn’t have strict residency requirements for foreign couples. However, it’s important to note that some municipalities may have specific rules, so you should check with the local authorities in the city where you plan to get married.

Documentation and Paperwork

To get married in the Netherlands, you’ll need to gather several essential documents:

  • Birth Certificates: You and your partner must provide official birth certificates, which may need to be translated into Dutch and legalized.
  • Proof of Identity: Valid passports are a must. Make sure they’re not expired, and they should have at least six months of validity remaining.
  • Certificate of No Impediment: This document, also known as a “Declaration of Marital Status,” confirms that you’re not already married in your home country. You can obtain it from your country’s embassy or consulate in the Netherlands.
  • Marriage License: This can be obtained from the municipality where you intend to marry. Each municipality might have slightly different requirements, so it’s advisable to check their specific procedures.

Marriage Banns and Waiting Periods

In the Netherlands, it’s customary to announce your intention to marry in advance. This process involves publishing your marriage banns, a public notice of your upcoming wedding. The waiting period after the publication can vary, but it’s usually two to three weeks.

Choosing a Marriage Location

Once you’ve tackled the legal prerequisites for your Dutch wedding, the next exciting step is choosing the perfect location for your ceremony. Whether you envision a romantic cityscape or a countryside escape, the Netherlands offers a multitude of options. Let’s delve into this pivotal decision.

Civil vs Religious Ceremonies

In the Netherlands, you can opt for a civil ceremony or a religious one, or even have both. Civil marriages are legally recognized, while religious ceremonies typically follow a civil ceremony to ensure legal compliance.

Popular Wedding Locations in the Netherlands

The Netherlands offers a variety of stunning wedding locations, from historic city halls to beautiful outdoor venues. Popular choices include Amsterdam, Utrecht, and picturesque countryside locations. Your choice may influence the legal procedures, so be sure to check with the local authorities.

Legal Implications of Venue Choice

Different locations may have different requirements or fees associated with hosting weddings. Be sure to understand the legal implications and financial commitments associated with your chosen venue.

Ceremonial and Legal Aspects of Marriage

With your location chosen and the legal requirements met you’re on the cusp of experiencing a Dutch wedding ceremony that will be etched in your memory forever. Here’s what to expect during the ceremonial and legal aspects of your marriage in the Netherlands.

The Marriage Ceremony

Civil ceremonies in the Netherlands are typically held at the municipal (city) hall. The ceremony is conducted in Dutch, but many municipalities offer the option of conducting it in other languages, including English. You’ll exchange vows, and the official will declare you married.


Witnesses and their Role

You’ll need at least two witnesses to your marriage ceremony. These witnesses must be present during the ceremony and are typically required to sign the marriage certificate.

Marriage Certificates

After the ceremony, you’ll receive a marriage certificate. This document is essential for legal purposes, and you may need it for various administrative processes, such as changing your name or applying for a residence permit.

Registration of the Marriage

Once your marriage is registered, it becomes legally recognized. This registration is important for tax and legal purposes.

Cultural Considerations for International Couples

Dutch wedding customs and traditions can infuse your special day with depth and meaning. Understanding these customs allows you to incorporate them into your wedding ceremony. Researching Dutch wedding traditions can help you create a unique and culturally rich experience.

Handling International Marriage Certificates

Your Dutch marriage certificate may serve various purposes in your home country, such as name changes or immigration procedures. To ensure its validity, it’s essential to have it properly translated and legalized as required. This ensures that you can smoothly navigate legal processes both in the Netherlands and in your home country.

Implications for Dual Citizenship and Residency

Marriage in the Netherlands may have implications for your legal status, particularly if one or both spouses are foreign nationals. It’s advisable to seek legal advice to understand these implications fully. Consulting with legal experts can help you navigate dual citizenship, residency permits, and any related legal matters effectively.

Post-Marriage Considerations

After your Dutch wedding, consider potential name changes, especially as the process may differ from your home country. For international couples, marriage may impact residence permits and family reunification; consult the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for guidance. Understand the potential tax implications of marriage, which can affect your tax status. Be aware of the legal processes for divorce in the Netherlands, considering its implications on residency and other legal matters, particularly for international couples.

Can I get Married in the Netherlands on a Tourist Visa?

In the Netherlands, you can have a civil marriage ceremony on a tourist visa, but it comes with important considerations. Tourist visas have time restrictions, and you must still meet all legal marriage requirements, including residency and documentation. Overstaying your visa can lead to legal issues. Municipality-specific procedures may vary, so research is key. For a smoother and more secure marriage process, consider alternative visas, like a fiance(e) visa or residence permit.


Getting married in the Netherlands as a foreigner can be a beautiful and memorable experience, but it’s crucial to navigate the legal requirements and procedures. Seek legal advice, consult with local authorities, and conduct thorough research to ensure that your wedding in the Netherlands is everything you’ve dreamed of. By following the steps and considerations outlined in this guide, you can look forward to a smooth and legally sound marriage in this enchanting European destination.


  • Lizette Schuurman

    Hi! I am Lizette (35), a born adventurer and addicted to traveling. I have been traveling around the world since I was 16, the freedom is wonderful. Get up and see what the day brings, enjoy the little things and meet like-minded people.I prefer to sit with my feet in the sand and a coconut in my hand. No luxury, just a simple hut by the sea. I also like to dive into the water, armed with my camera, in search of turtles, colorful fish and corals.I have already crossed quite a few things off my 'bucket list', from swimming with whale sharks and climbing a volcano to skydiving above the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Nothing is too crazy, I love going outside my comfort zone and trying new things.I currently live with my boyfriend in Friesland, where we have our home base. Every year we travel for a few months, usually to Asia. Knowing more? On my own travel blog you will find inspiration & tips about tropical destinations, paradisiacal beaches and hidden places!

Scroll to Top