How to Get an Apostille on Documents Issued in the Netherlands

Created: Feb 12, 2024 | Updated: Feb 22, 2024

If you are travelling to the Netherlands or are a citizen of the Netherlands, you may need to legalise your documents for acceptance in your country or in the Netherlands for acceptance in another country, if you are a resident or citizen of the Netherlands. This involves taking some careful steps, which you will be learning all about, today. Whether it's your educational certificates or work-related documents, it's important to understand the steps you must take to make them valid (usable). We have broken down the process so it's easy to understand, giving you a full picture of what you need to do to make sure your documents are accepted and clear in the eyes of the law in the Netherlands and in other countries. 

Understanding Legalisation of Documents in the Netherlands

Document legalisation is the process of giving your document an official stamp of approval. It's a process where specific government authorities in the Netherlands confirm that your document is genuine and valid. This is important when you're dealing with papers that need to be recognised in another country. It shows that your document follows the rules and standards set by the government or relevant authorities. In the Netherlands, documents can be legalised in two ways: By apostilles and by Consular Legalisations.

Apostilles in the Netherlands

An apostille is a form of legalisation that requires using a special stamp or certificate that makes a document valid and proves its origin by confirming the legitimacy of the signature and the authority of the official who signed it. It's a simplified way of proving that the document is real and official. Apostille legalisation ensures that documents are recognised as valid in countries that are part of the Hague Convention of 1961 on the Simplification of the Apostille. It simplifies the process of cross-border document recognition, eliminating the need for additional certifications like consular legalisation in member states.

What Does the Dutch Apostille Stamp Look Like? 

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is among the 124 countries that abide by the Hague Convention. The Dutch apostille document comes in the form of a printed stamp that carries the handwritten signature of an official, an official seal, and a hologram on it. At the top of the apostille stamp reads “the Netherlands”, with the Dutch national symbol somewhere on the apostille document too. It also has a title or heading indicating that it is an apostille or authentication certificate. The apostille stamp contains specific information about the document it is authenticating, for example, the type of document and the date it was issued.

In the Netherlands, you can apply for an apostille for your Dutch document from any District Court (Rechtbanken).


How do I legalise a document in the Netherlands?


What Documents can be Legalised in the Netherlands?

People typically need to legalise various documents for various purposes, depending on their needs. The European Union has now authorised some documents to be exempt from legalisation but common documents that people often legalise in the Netherlands include:

  • Information extracted from Dutch trade registers: Documents related to business registrations and trade activities.
  • Land register extracts: Official documents providing information about real estate or land ownership and legal status.
  • Documents issued or certified by a notary public: Notarised documents, including affidavits, powers of attorney, and other legally certified papers.
  • Documents from an Authority or an Official Connected with a Court: Documents related to legal proceedings and judgments.
  • Official documents issued by state authorities.
  • Translations by court interpreters.
  • Patents: Documents related to patents and intellectual property.
  • Documents of an Administrative Nature: issued by state authorities like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates.
  • Academic Diplomas issued by Public Institutions: transcripts, overviews of subjects and grades, matriculation certificates, and additional certificates from schools or universities.
  • Powers of attorney, testaments, declarations.

Types of Documents That Cannot be Legalised in the Netherlands

  • Documents Not Issued by Competent Authorities: Private contracts, private letters, or documents issued by non-official entities.
  • Commercial Documents: Documents such as invoices, trade contracts, and customs documents. 
  • Diplomatic and Consular Documents.
  • ID Cards.
  • Educational Documents from private institutions or entities that are not recognised as public institutions.

Consular Legalisation

Consular legalization is a process that authenticates the origin of a document so that it can be officially recognized in another country. This procedure is necessary when a document issued in one country needs to be used in another country that is not a party to the Hague Apostille Convention, or when the use of an apostille is not accepted between two countries that are parties to the convention. For Example, a document to be used in the Republic of Niger will be legalised by the Nigeriene Embassy in the Netherlands. 

It is usually used between countries that are not part of the Hague Convention or when one of the states involved has raised objections to the other's accession. Consular legalisation can be a more expensive and time-consuming process compared to just getting an apostille. This is because various local authorities and the diplomatic mission of the destination country are involved in this legalisation process. Several additional certifications are required before your document can receive approval in the Netherlands at the embassy or consulate of the destination country.

How to Legalise Your Documents in the Netherlands

Here is a simple guide to legalising your documents in the Netherlands going to other countries:

Step One - Get the Original Documents: Ensure you have the original document or an official copy issued by the relevant Dutch authorities. Ensure that the copy has the official seal and signature of the institution and is a true copy of the original. 

Step Two - Translate the Documents: If the document is not already in the official language of the destination country, you'll need to get a notarised translation. This translation should be done by a sworn translation service in the Netherlands, also known as certified translation. Certified translation services ensure your documents are translated accurately and legally.

Step Three - Have Them Certified: Certify your documents by getting them notarised. If you would like to avoid the stress of translating and notarising separately, Translayte offers you a place to translate and notarise your documents altogether. All you have to do is select the “notarisation” option while placing your order. In the Netherlands, notarisations can be done by civil-law notaries (notaris). This certification verifies the authenticity of the document and the signatures on it. 

Step Four - Get the Apostille Stamp from the Rechtbanken: Visit the District Courts in any of the regions of the Netherlands such as:

  • District court Noord-Holland
  • District court Amsterdam
  • District court Overijssel
  • District court Noord-Nederland
  • District court Gelderland
  • District court Midden-Nederland
  • District court Limburg
  • District court Zeeland-West-Brabant
  • District court Oost-Brabant
  • District court Rotterdam
  • District court Den Haag

You are expected to take the following documentation when going to the District Courts:

  • The original document(s) that is/are to be legalised.
  • A photocopy of the documents that are to be legalised.
  • A photocopy of your international passport or valid ID.

Step Five - Receive the Apostilled Document: Once the apostille document or stamp is affixed, you will receive the legalised document. Your document is now valid for use in countries that are party to the Hague Convention. 

Step SIx - Send the Document to the CDC and the Embassy (for Consular Legalisation): If the receiving country does not recognise the Hague Convention, you will need to visit The Consular Service Centre (CDC). They legalise Dutch documents so they can be used in countries that are not part of the Hague Convention. You do not need to make an appointment before visiting. Their work hours are between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm from Monday to Friday.  It takes about 1 hour for your document to be legalised by the CDC unless you have up to 20 documents which will then take longer. The consular legalisation service costs €10 per document.

After the CDC has legalised your document, the last step is to take it to the embassy or consulate of the destination country. After this step, you can use your document in the receiving country. 

How to get a Notarised Translation in the Netherlands Online

To get a notarised translation in the Netherlands online, follow these steps: 

1. Visit the Translayte website. 

2. Click on “Order Certified Translation”.

3. Select “Certified Translation”, then choose the language, and your preferred turnover time. 

4. Upload the document you want to translate. Ensure the file has been named correctly. 

5. Select either the Standard, Professional or Specialist document translation services, based on your needs and budget.

6. Specify that you want a “notarised translation” and any other specifications you prefer for your document. 

7. Place your order and wait for your translation.  Your translation will be delivered to you either by email or by post on or before the stipulated time.

Getting an Apostille for Documents Going to the Netherlands

Getting a Hague apostille for the Netherlands means legalising documents that will be used in the Netherlands. Authorities such as Notaries, or the Embassy do the attestation of documents, however, the final attestation is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country. 

Here’s the process for getting a Hague apostille in your country for documents going to the Netherlands:

1. Identify the Competent Authority: Find the authority responsible for issuing apostilles in your country. The competent authority responsible for issuing apostilles in most countries is usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If it is a different authority, make sure to identify them. 

2. Prepare Your Documents: Ensure that your documents are in order and meet any requirements set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country. This usually includes notarisation, translations or other authentication steps. The documents you will be expected to take along with you usually include:

  • The original documents that are to be legalised.
  • A national identification like an international passport or national ID card.
  • Photocopies of your documents.
  • Proof of payment of legalisation fees.
  • A filled application form, usually from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country.

3. Submit the Documents: Submit your documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with any required fees set by your country. This can often be done in person or through their designated channels.

4. Wait for Processing: Wait for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to process your request. Processing times for every country are different, so it's advisable to check with them for an estimated time. 

5. Receive the Apostilled Documents:  Once the Hague apostille is issued, you can either pick up the documents in person or have them mailed to you, depending on the options provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country. Before travelling to the Netherlands, ensure that the apostille has been properly affixed as per the requirements of the Hague Apostille Convention. Here are some of the things to check for: 

  • The Seal and Signature: Look for the official seal of the competent authority that issued the apostille. There should also be a signature of an authorised representative.
  • Verify the Document: Ensure that the apostille is attached to the correct document. Check that the details on the apostille, such as the names of the parties involved, match the information on the document. 
  • Check for Watermarks or Security Features: Every country’s apostille has watermarks and other security features to prevent forgery. Make sure these security elements are present on your apostille.
  • Examine the Language: Make sure that the language on the apostille is consistent with the language used in the official documents of your country.
  • Use Online Verification Tools: Many countries have online verification tools where you can check the apostille to confirm its authenticity. 

Get English to Dutch Translations With Translayte

All your foreign documents that are not in Dutch or English need to be translated by a certified or sworn translator in the Netherlands. Translayte is the best global provider of translation services, including English to Dutch translations and meeting the strict requirements set by international authorities is our top priority. 

Our professional Dutch translators ensure that your documents are not just translated, but are in line with Dutch standards. Give it a try and request a free quote in a few easy steps.



How Much is an Apostille in the Netherlands?

An apostille at the District Courts in the Netherlands costs €10. This cost is the cost per document and will be paid over the counter.

Where can I get an Apostille Stamp in the Netherlands?

You can get an apostille stamp in the Netherlands from any Rechtbanken (District Courts). They are the body responsible for issuing apostilles in the Netherlands.


Who can Certify Documents in the Netherlands?

Documents in the Netherlands can be certified by the institution that issued the original document or by a civil-law notary established in the Netherlands.


Is an Apostille Mandatory in the Netherlands?

Yes, for your documents to be recognised as valid in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, you need to have them apostilled. If your country is not part of the Hague Convention, you will need to get a consular legalisation. 


Related Posts: 

How To Get An Apostille On Documents Issued In Italy

How To Have My Documents Legalised And Translated In Romania

How To Have My Documents Legalised And Translated In Slovakia

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