Top 10 FAQ about divorce in the Netherlands for expats

The world is global, and so are today’s marriages. When it comes to getting divorced this can make it complicated – but for those who wish to divorce in the Netherlands, there are 10 tips which help keep it simple. Marjet Groenleer answers the top 10 most frequently asked questions about divorce for expats living in the Netherlands.

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Marjet Groenleer - Expat lawyer (family law)

Marjet Groenleer is an attorney-at-law and associate partner at GMW lawyers in The Hague. She has been active in family law for more than 15 years, focused on on (international) divorces. Marjet is a trained divorce mediator with the vFAS (Dutch Association of Family mediators and lawyers).

Marjet has a particular interest and a profound knowledge of the international aspects of family law. She is an expert in dealing with complex financial and multi-jurisdictional cases of an international family breakdown. Because of her experience and previous jobs, she is familiar with several foreign legal systems. A great number of her clients are expats. She understands the needs of expats working for the various international organisations and companies based in The Netherlands, specifically in the area of The Hague (lsuch as EPO, Estec, OPCW, NATO, the tribunals, ICC, Shell, etc.)

Marjet worked as a lecturer in International Civil Law for several years and at the Court of Appeals in The Hague in the family law sector. Today, she is a deputy judge in the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam. Marjet publishes regularly in professional journals and keeps you informed of the various complex aspects of (international) divorces with her weblogs.

Personal injury law in the Netherlands

The idea that personal injury claims are often settled through court procedures is an illusion. The reality is that in the Netherlands the vast majority – probably more than 90% – of personal injury law cases are actually settled out of court.

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Peter van Eijk - Expat lawyer (liability law)

Peter van Eijk has been practising as a lawyer for 25 years, specialising in compensation, liability claims and personal injury cases. He represents clients who have suffered accidents at work, in traffic, and as a result of criminal acts and defective products. He also handles claims against the government, airlines and financial institutions, and advises professionals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In a well-known case, when an American air force aircraft flew into the wires of a cable car in the Dolomites, Peter supported the family of one of the victims. The compensation payment in that case is still one of the highest ever in the Netherlands.

Peter knows that in a compensation claim, clients need more than just trusted legal advice to face a dispute with a determined counter party. That’s why he has a team of trusted and expert medical advisors, employment consultants and financial specialists who can support his clients in their cases.

Peter’s goal is to achieve redress for his client. He tries to get the best possible amicable settlement to avoid delays in the claim settlement process – but if this is not possible, Peter will not hesitate to achieve that goal via legal proceedings.

The non-competition or business relations clause

Many employment agreements contain a non-competition clause or business relations clause. Employees would usually prefer to not agree to such a clause but they want the job and don’t want to annoy their new employer, so they sign.

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Godelijn Boonman - Expat lawyer (employjment law)

Godelijn experienced an international upbringing and education as an expat child living in Africa and England. Back in The Netherlands, she studied law at the University of Utrecht (1990). She then embarked on her legal career as a lawyer by working 10 years for the well-known law firm of ‘Wladimiroff en Spong Advocaten’. In 2000 she joined GMW lawyers as a partner and is the head of the Labour law and Pension section.

Godelijn specialises in international employment law and has extensive experience in dealing with both non-contentious and contentious international employment matters including (collective) redundancy packages and dismissal. She works for both companies and individual employees, enabling her to keep an open mind to both sides of a case. Naturally she helps her clients when a problem has arisen, but prefers to act before an escalation has taken place. Advice on a fair Human Resource policy is an essential part of her work.

Godelijn Boonman is considered to be the undoubted employment specialist for the expat community because she is bilingual, has a large international clientele and a wealth of experience in international employment law matters. She is therefore frequently asked to be the key note speaker at international seminars.

Godelijn has a keen interest in the international community and has been a member of the advisory board of ACCESS and the Women’s Business Initiative International since its beginning.

Six things to know about renting in the Netherlands

Are you new to the Netherlands? Or are you maybe just looking for a new place to live? Then you are advised to know your rights when it comes to Dutch tenancy law. Tenancy laws differ greatly from country to country, so what is common in your home country may not be the rule here.

Six main things to know

Here are the main six things you should know:

  1. Intermediary fees are paid to the intermediary or real estate agent (in Dutch: makelaar). These fees are only permissible if the intermediary agent is requested to and has performed services on behalf of the renter.
  1. In July 2016, the legislation governing temporary leases was changed. A landlord may offer one temporary lease of two years or less. After that the lease becomes indefinite. Should the landlord want to terminate the lease, he or she must notify the tenant at least one month but no longer than three months before the end date of the lease.
  1. Rents above €710.68 per month** are considered above the liberalisation law and thus protective rent-regulations do not apply. However, also in the case of a liberalised contract, the tenant may request the rental assessment committee to check if a rent is reasonable. Furthermore, increases in the rent are only allowed once per year, regardless of how much it is, and must be agreed upon in the contract.
    ** The above mentioned threshold amount of €710.68 per month is revised each year and may therefore be subject to change.**
  1. If you, as a renter, want to make any (significant) alterations to the property, you must get permission from your landlord, unless the intended alterations can easily be removed after termination of the tenancy agreement.
  1. Tenants are obliged to make small repairs to the premises. These include (but are not limited to): painting, repairing doorknobs, replacing light bulbs and making keys.
  1. If something about the property is damaged which reduces the enjoyment of the property, the landlord is obligated to make repairs, unless it is a small repair (discussed in number five above) or the damage is the fault of the tenant. Should the landlord refuse to repair the damage, you can take legal action.


We advise you to check your lease thoroughly before you sign to make sure that the contract is in line with Dutch rental law.

If you are having an issue with either your landlord or your tenants, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for advice.


This article was also published on the ACCESS website.

Update article: December 2017

Danielle van den Heuvel - Expat lawyer (employment law)

Daniëlle van den Heuvel works in property law and employment law at GMW lawyers.

Within property law, Daniëlle is mainly involved in rental disputes and procedures concerning real estate transactions, representing real estate entrepreneurs, project developers, housing corporations and private individuals. Within her employment law practice, Daniëlle is often called in to draw up or advise about settlement agreements between employers and employees. She  represents both parties.

Empathetic and dedicated to giving the best possible service, Daniëlle combines a responsive attitude with a clear, analytical and personal approach. In every case, Daniëlle tries to make a difference and really help her client.

Daniëlle also gives regular advice on non-competition clauses, and publishes monthly in the legal magazine Rendement.