I often receive requests by people who need to obtain official certificates of Dutch birth, marriage or death records for legal purposes.
Obtaining certified copies is not a service I provide, so I will give you the instructions on how to do this yourself.
Reasons for needing a certified copy
There may be several reasons why you need an official extract of a birth, marriage or death record in the Netherlands, for example:
- You were born in the Netherlands and need proof of your birth in order to get married or to get a passport or driver’s license.
- You were married in the Netherlands and need proof of your marriage, for example to apply for benefits, be recognized as heir/next-of-kin or get a divorce.
- Your parents or grandparents were born in the Netherlands and you need proof of their citizenship in order to apply for Dutch citizenship yourself (this is only possible in specific cases, please consult a lawyer or the Dutch Embassy about your situation).
Is the record public?
If you need a copy of a record, you should know that the following privacy restrictions apply:
- Dutch birth records are public after 100 years
- Dutch marriage records are public after 75 years
- Dutch death records are public after 50 years
More recent documents can only be obtained with permission of the person(s) involved or proof of death. Some municipalities accept proof that the applicant is a descendant in lieu of permission or proof of death. Some municipalities require proof of descent before they will provide certified copies, even if you have proof of death.
Where to obtain a certified copy of a BMD record
You can obtain a certified copy of birth, marriage or death records from the municipality where the event took place. For older/public records, they may refer you to an archive.
In the Netherlands, many municipalities have been merged over the last decades. Often, the municipality where the birth, marriage or death took place does 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 vanaf 1812 [Overview of Dutch municipalities since 1812].
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. You can also search for the name of the municipality in a search engine like Google or Bing.
You need to find the address of the municipality. Most municipalities will have two addresses: one for visitors and a PO Box (Postbus). You need this second address.
There should also be a contact form on the site where you can ask for specific instructions.
What to include in a request for a certified copy
Most municipalities will only accept requests in writing, not via email. Please check with the municipality which documents they require.
In your request for the certified copy, you will typically need to include the following information:
- Your full name and current address
- Your signature
- Full name of the person(s) whose record you are ordering
- Date of the event
- Municipality where the event took place
- Reason why you need the certificate. If you need an international (English) certificate, please indicate that in your request.
- Copy of your passport
- If the record is not public:
- Signed permission of the person(s) involved, including a copy of their passport, or
- Proof of death of the person(s) involved, and
- Proof of descent. This is not necessary if this is your own record, and not always necessary for your (grand)parents’ records but if you have it I would include it anyway to avoid delays.
Paying for a certified copy
Most municipalities will send you the certified copy with an invoice. The typical fee for a certified copy is around 13-15 euros including shipping. Most municipalities only support bank transfers, not credit card payments, so if you live outside the EU additional bank charges may apply. You can also use a service like TransferWise. Read more about wiring money to the Netherlands.
As I explained above, obtaining these certified copies is not a service I provide. My specialty is tracing ancestors of people and I only retrieve records as a part of larger genealogy projects.
If you have any problems, I recommend first contacting the agency that requires the certificate in order to make sure you understand the documents you need, and then contacting the municipality where the event took place to ask about their requirements for sending you the document.