Before Arrival



Expats who decide to relocate their pets to the Netherlands or simply get a new pet, are highly advised to plan ahead. The following information outlines some basic points and issues every pet owner should keep in mind.

Pet passport (EU dierenpaspoort)
Travelling pet owners have to present the pet passport in order to bring their pets to the Netherlands. The pet passport has been designed to last for the lifetime of the animal bearing it and contains the following information:

  • Name of the owner
  • Vet confirmation about the rabies certificate
    All pets should be vaccinated at least 21 days prior to the departure date and the date of vaccination must be clearly stated.
  • Microchip number
    The electronic microchip (transponder) or readable tattoo (applied before July 3, 2011) connects the pet to the passport
  • Other info such as sex, age, breed, colour, type of fur and its marks

If a pet passport is not available, the use of the veterinary certificate is mandatory. This certificate is valid for four months or until the expiration date of the vaccination. Also note that pets might be vaccinated upon entering the Netherlands and remain in quarantine for 30 days.

In general it is advised to plan ahead as all the actions and paperwork above may even take more than nine months. Note that the above apply to cats, dogs and ferrets. For other animals (except for rabbits, fish and hares) a health certificate from a recognised vet in the country of departure should be presented.

Health & Welfare of Animals Act
According to the MinEL&I, the Dutch government has legislated for animal care under the Health and Welfare of Animals Act, which bans:

  • causing unnecessary pain or injury to animals
  • harming animal health or welfare
  • refraining from providing animal care
  • separating animals from their parents until a certain age
  • performing surgery on animals, unless permitted by law or order in council

Useful facts on pets in the Netherlands

  • Most cities in the Netherlands change an annual Dog Tax (hondenbelasting). This tax is calculated on the number of dogs in each household and it is set by the local municipality.
  • Dogs must be registered with the local town hall (Gemeente) and the Municipal tax office (Gemeentelijke Belastingdienst) upon arrival.
  • Registration and taxation procedures apply only to dogs, not cats. These apply for non-commercial movement of pets to the Netherlands.
  • All dog owners have to declare their dogs to the municipality within the first 14 days.
  • Guide dogs for the visually impaired travel free of charge on all public transport.
  • Dog owners must clear up after their animals. Fines apply.
  • Apart from in the summer months, dogs are allowed on beaches.

Source IamExpat

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