Are you getting married in the Netherlands? Congratulations! Whether you are a foreigner marrying a Dutch guy or girl, are planning an amazing destination wedding in Amsterdam or have Dutch roots, we will tell you all you need to know to have a wonderfull wedding ceremony!
We will cover a number of topics:
- Official marriage vs ceremonial wedding ceremony
- Finding a multilingual wedding officiant
- Wedding criteria
- Saying Yes I do
- Registered partnerships vs marriage
- Civil ceremony vs religious ceremony
- Same-sex marriage
Official marriage or ceremonial wedding ceremony
One of the first things you need to decide is whether you want to officially get married or “just” ceremonial.
If you want to get married by law there are more rules and regulations that you will have to follow.
If you don’t want or need a lawfully approved marriage you can opt for a ceremonial wedding. This means that you can still have a wedding ceremony with all bells and whistles. It just won’t make you officially husband and wife.
Whichever option you decide to go for, you will need a Dutch wedding officiant (Ambtenaar van de Burgerlijke Stand).
Multilingual wedding ceremony: Getting married in English or another language
Do you need a registrar from the Netherlands that is able to conduct the whole wedding ceremony in English (or perhaps a different language, like German, Spanish, French or Italian)? Fret not! We have got you covered if you are planning on tying the knot in the Netherlands!
On this site, you will find many official freelance marriage officiants who are able to hold wedding ceremonies in English and 17 other languages!
- To get married in the Netherlands, at least one partner must be Dutch or a resident of the Netherlands.
- Both must be over 18 and not already married or in a registered partnership. They can also not be too close of kin of each other (e.g. first degree cousins, siblings, etc)
- You must give notice of your intention to marry (ondertrouw) at least 14 days before your ceremony. In some municipalities you can do this online.
- You should have at least 2, and maximum 4 witnesses.
- All witnesses should be at least 18 years and need to have a passport.
- If your witness is not legally competent (e.g. someone with Down syndrome or your grandmother who suffers from dementia) he or she can still be a witness BUT their autograph doesn’t legally count. As long as you have 2 other witnesses who are legally competent you are fine and noone needs to know/see that this person is not a official witness.
- If your witness does not speak Dutch, your wedding officiant will have to explain what he/she needs to do and explain what her/his task is.
- Some municipalities require that there is a sworn interpreter present on top of that. Please check with the municipality on any local rules!
Saying Yes I do
- Most municipalities allow your wedding ceremony to be in English, or in another language.
- However, the official part of your wedding ceremony has to be in Dutch first according to Dutch law. You could opt for a Dutch part and then a translation.
Same sex marriage
Since 2001, same-sex marriages have been legalised in the Netherlands. Both heterosexual and same-sex couples can get married (huwen) in the Netherlands, or enter into a registered partnership (geregistreerd partnerschap).
All of our wedding officiants will happily marry you as long as you are in love.
Registered partnerships or marriage
Registered partnerships and marriage are nearly identical in terms of fiscal and judicial consequences, but two main differences stand out:
- Registered partnerships can be dissolved without going to court, as long as there are no minor children involved.
- Registered partnerships might not be as easily recognised or understood in your home country / abroad.
A registered partnership can be turned into a legal marriage – but not the other way around.
- Only civil ceremonies are legally recognised in the Netherlands. After the civil ceremony at the registry office, couples often have a religious or secular Dutch wedding as part of their celebration.
- A religious ceremony can never take place before the civil wedding, due to the separation of church and state and the prevalence of the state above the church.
Find the perfect wedding celebrant
All the registrars you will find on this site are already official registrar of marriages for a specific city or town in the Netherlands and can request to become a ‘registrar of marriages for a day’ or ‘wedding officiant for a day’ in most of the other cities in the Netherlands. Cities have the prerogative to decide whether or not to allow this, but most do!
Get in touch with our marriage officiants!
Need help? Just fill in the below form, tell us what you’re looking for exactly and we’ll contact you and help you out with finding the perfect wedding officiant for your wedding service!