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Dutch Wedding Etiquette - Official Engagement Procedure (Ondertrouw) in the Netherlands

Updated on August 17, 2012

Planning to marry a Dutch lady or gent?

An interesting procedure to go through for getting married in the Netherlands is the registration of 'ondertrouw', meaning the 'intension of getting married'.

Ondertrouw = Engagement?

Officially, this intension of getting married is a religion procedure, where couples commit themselves into starting their new life by having an official wedding in churches. The procedure is still valid nowadays, but it's more an official legal procedure then religion practice and has been turned into another reason for celebration.

Dutch Kissing Kids
Dutch Kissing Kids

A Must Have Document for Marriage

To get married in the Netherlands, you need an official 'ondertrouw' document, which is valid for a year. In other words, if you do not get officially married in a year's time, you need to go over the 'ondertrouw' procedure again… which is not so romantic of course.

Foreigners Getting Married within the Netherlands?

If one or both sides of the marrying couple are not a Dutch nationality, you need to get an M46 form from the Dutch Immigration Department (IND) before applying for an 'ondertrouw'. Beware of this of it can be tricky timing-wise. The M46 form is only valid for 6 months, while the immigration department can take up to 2 months to proceed your M46 form. Make sure you plan enough time ahead to avoid hiccups.

Engagement Parties

Many people celebrate ‘ondertrouw’ as their engagement in the Netherlands. In most occasions, close friends and families are invited for a dinner party and small gifts are expected. In some occasions, bigger parties with DJs and dance floor to dance till you drop are available.

I'll come back to other Dutch wedding etiquettes later. Let me know if there’s anything you wanna find out in particular!

How does Engagement Work in Your Part of the World?

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    • TheWeddingSecret profile image

      TheWeddingSecret 7 years ago from Bath, UK

      Really interesting read - thank you!