Country Guide: Netherlands

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Updated: September 02, 2016

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required                                          

  • Copy of passport
  • Letter of employment
  • Work permit
  • Lease / purchase contract (new and previous residences)
  • Detailed inventory (2 copies)
  • Bewijs van aanmelding
  • Aangifte – Douane 39 form (diplomats)
  • Completed Netherlands application


Specific Information

  • The “Bewijs van aanmelding” is the certificate from the population register of the municipality showing owner of the goods’ intent to reside in the Netherlands
  • The Netherlands application is a required form that must be filled out to be able to move to the Netherlands
  • All fumigated containers arriving in the port of Rotterdam or Antwerp with an excessive concentration of gas will be removed from the logistic transport chain. 
    • Delays may take several months before the container is released. 
    • High costs may be incurred due to any delays.
  • The following conditions must apply for the duty-free import of the household effects shipment:
    • The permanent residence of the owner of the goods must be the Netherlands or another European Union member country.
    • The previous permanent residence of the owner of the goods situated outside of the European Union for at least 12 months.
    • All goods have been used as part of the normal household of the owner of the goods and will be used for the same purpose.
    • All goods have been in the owner of the goods’ possession for at least 6 months and have been used during that time.
    • The goods will be imported into the Netherlands within 12 months after registration.
    • The goods will not be sold, rented off or given away within 12 months after registration in the Netherlands.
  • Owners of the goods must apply to Customs for the exemption in the import declaration.
    • The following documents are required:
      • A signed inventory listing all of the personal goods in the shipment.
      • The certificate of registration in the personal records database of the municipality in the Netherlands.
        • Must certify that the date on which the owner of the goods has established in the Netherlands or another country within the European Union.
        • Owner of the goods can also send comparable documentary evidence demonstrating that this is the case.
          • Employment contract
          • Employer statement
          • Work permit
          • Rental contract or mortgage certificate for new place of residence

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Certificate of title / registration
  • Purchase invoice or other proof of ownership
  • Original bill of lading


Specific Information

  • Consideration for an application for free entry of motor vehicles is 4 to 6 weeks
  • A separate application for any tax exemption must be completed if not imported with the household effects shipment.
  • A technical inspection as well as registration is required at the RDW after Customs clearance.


Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate


Specific Information

  • The veterinary health certificate must be signed by an authorized veterinarian within 8 days of import.
  • The vaccination record must be signed at least 31 days prior to departure but not longer than 12 months prior to import.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Hunting and shooting firearms require a permit issued by the Dutch authorities
  • Alcohol / Cigarettes / Tobacco:
    • The following restrictions apply to the import of these items:
      • Only persons 17 years or older may import these items.
      • The items cannot be contained as part of the household effects shipment and must be imported as travel baggage.
      • Spirits (1 L), sparkling wine (2 L), liquor wines like sherry, and port (2 L) or a proportional mix of these items
      • Non-sparkling wines (4 L) and beer (16 L)
      • Cigarettes (200), tobacco (250 g), cigarillos (100), cigars (50)
  • Medicines:
    • To import medicines, a manufacturing license issued by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is required.
    • Medications must be for personal use.
    • Owners of the goods should request a medical passport from a general practitioner to verify the personal use of the medication. 
  • Plants / flowers / fruits / vegetables:
    • These items require a phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin declaring the items healthy and free from diseases.
    • If a phytosanitary certificate is unavailable, Customs will confiscate the items.
  • Animal Products / Food Items:
    • A health certificate is required for the import of these items, including but not limited to, cheese, milk, eggs, meat, meat products, animal skins, and hunting trophies.
    • The health certificate must be issued by the authorities of the origin country at the time the goods are imported.
    • All animal products and food items are subject to veterinary examination upon arrival.
    • Goods of animal origin, including food items, are subject to special requirements. 
      • Contact the destination for specific information and exceptions.
    • Powdered milk, baby food, and special food items for medical purposed may be imported provided the following requirements are met:
      • The products do not need to be chilled prior to consumption.
      • The products are packaged products of a registered trademark.
      • The packaging should be unopened and undamaged.
    • An exemption from the required health certificate applies to products in which an animal ingredient is no longer identifiable (e.g., chocolate, etc.).
    • Contact the Dutch Embassy in the origin country if you need assistance.

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons (toy and imitation) and ammunition (strike, thrust or stabbing weapons; gas pistols, alarm pistols, pepper sprays, etc.)

Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.


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IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.