Almost every week, I get a question by someone who needs help obtaining his birth certificate from the Netherlands. Often, these are people who were born in the Netherlands but moved away and now need a birth certificate to get married or apply for citizenship. So I thought I’d explain how you can order your own birth certificate.
Birth records for people born less than 100 years ago are not public. Birth records younger than 100 years are kept by the municipality where the person was born. To protect the privacy of living people, only the person himself can retrieve a copy.
Finding the municipality
A lot of municipalities have merged over the last couple of decades, so the municipality you were born in may not exist anymore. You can find out the name of the current municipality by looking up the name of the old municipality in the “Repertorium van Nederlandse Gemeenten 1812-2006 [Overview of Dutch municipalities 1812-2006].” The section that starts at p. 52 has a list of all municipalities that ever existed. If the municipality merged, it will say “opgegaan in [merged with]” followed by the name of the new municipality.
Contacting the municipality
All municipalities have a website, that can usually be found at the .nl address, for example www.amsterdam.nl or www.rotterdam.nl. Alternatively, you could search for the name of the municipality in Wikipedia and see if it has a link to the website. There should be a contact form on the site where you can ask for specific directions.
Ordering a birth certificate
Most municipalities have a form that you need to fill out to order a birth certificate. They usually offer the option to get an international version with an official English translation. Besides the signed form, you should also include a photocopy of your ID to prove you’re entitled to ordering the copy. Costs vary but are typically between 10 and 20 euros (12-28 USD).
Paying for the birth certificate
Some municipalities accept credit cards while others only accept bank transfers. Checks are not used in the Netherlands anymore.
To transfer money by bank, you will need to find out the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for the municipality. Contact your bank to find out how to do a transfer. If you live outside Europe, additional charges will apply.
Someone else’s birth certificate?
Do you need the birth certificate of someone else, who was born less than 100 years ago? There are two ways you can do this:
- If the person is deceased, provide a photocopy of their death certificate and send this with the order form. You still need to include a photocopy of your own ID.
- If the person is still alive, the only way you can get a copy of their birth certificate is with their permission. Have them fill out and sign the form, or include a signed letter. Also include a photocopy of their ID.
If you don’t know if the person is alive, or you can’t get permission, you will not be able to obtain a birth certificate.