Which Dutch laws could land you in jail? Or, as Dutch tolerance goes, what crazy things can you get away with under Dutch law?
The Dutch may have a reputation for rules, agendas and acting ‘normal’, but Dutch laws have been some of the most ground-breaking, tolerant and flexible in the world. While other countries are starting to follow the examples of Dutch law, for example on soft drugs and gay marriage, they were quite an unbelievable advancement at the time, the most notable being when the Netherlands became the first country in the world to recognise gay marriage more than 15 years ago, in 2001.
Tolerant and intolerant Dutch laws
Below are some more interesting, funny, weird and unbelievable Dutch laws you should know when visiting or living in the Netherlands.
It is against Dutch law to urinate in a canal – but acceptable if you are pregnant.
It is illegal to smoke tobacco in all public places but not cannabis, which became a confusing matter when police fined a man for smoking a mixture of both in a coffeehouse, with the penalty laid down for the tobacco part.
It is illegal for more than three single people to share a house, an attempt to stop house sharing, which is also illegal.
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The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy. Normally once every four years the Dutch citizens entitled to vote (Dutch nationals aged 18 or over) elect the people who will represent them in Parliament, so the elections are the basis of democracy.
Parliament’s duties include scrutinising the work of the Government and making new laws in cooperation with the Government. The Dutch Parliament is called “the States General”. It is bicameral, which means it consists of two chambers: the Senate (Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal) and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal).
If you’re passing through Friesland (or a couple of other regions in the Netherlands) this summer and see someone flying through the air on a pole, don’t worry: you’re just seeing Fierljeppen.
Following up from our recent piece on the Frisian sport of Kaatsen– handball – we felt it was only right to turn our attention to another distinctly Frisian activity, namely the sport that sees hundreds of people floating gracefully through the air on top of a pole: Fierljeppen.
The game can be quite well summarised by breaking down its name: in West Frisian, “fier”means “far”, and “ljeppen” means “leaping”. In essence, it is a bit like the Pole Vault, but instead of jumping over a bar and on to a large crash mat, you jump over waterways in Friesland.
See the history of the Netherlands, from 2000 BC to now.
Please note that the coastline from 500BC to 1000AD is not entirely correct. Locations of tribes before 500AD are mostly estimates.
As an expat living in the Netherlands it is, in most cases, possible to get a legal divorce in the Netherlands that will also be recognized in your own country. International and family law expert, Pauline Montanus, explains how to file for divorce in the Netherlands and what to expect during negotiations and divorce proceedings. You can find the second part of this series here.
Contact a Specialized Family Lawyer
If you are legally married and want to divorce, your marriage must be formally dissolved by the District Court. The filing can be done by one spouse or on behalf of both spouses. To be able to file for divorce in the Netherlands you will need a lawyer. It is not possible to contact and file your divorce with the District Court yourself. You may find good family lawyers specialized in international family on the Amsterdam Mamas website.
It first needs to be determined whether the Dutch judge has jurisdiction to rule on the divorce. This will be the case when at least one spouse still has habitual residence in the Netherlands. Dutch law does not require the spouses to live physically apart for a certain period before they file for divorce.
On the day the lawyer sends the divorce papers on behalf of one spouse to the District Court, the case is ‘pending’. The lawyer will, as instructed by law, contact a bailiff to serve the divorce papers to the other spouse so this spouse is officially informed and can contact a lawyer.
In general, divorce proceedings will consist of a written petition, a written defense (term to file is six to ten weeks) and a court hearing (couple of months, depending on how busy the District Court is). After that, the judge will rule (six to eight weeks) and the verdict will be sent to your lawyer. After the District Court has ruled, there is a three-month period to appeal.
Legal Grounds for Divorce
In the Netherlands, divorce (echtscheiding) is always on the legal grounds of ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’. There is generally no requirement to define or prove this. It will not be to your (financial) advantage or disadvantage if you are the person filing for divorce.
It is, however, possible for the other spouse to contest the divorce claim in the proceedings before the District Court or the Court of Appeal. Although, in general, the Dutch judge will grant the divorce request since it is typically not accepted to force marriage without possible dissolution.
Read more: https://amsterdam-mamas.nl/how-file-divorce