Minister gets tough on forced marriages; hundreds a year he says

Women and teenagers who want to move to another country will have to personally write themselves out of official council registers in a move which social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher hopes will reduce forced marriages.

If town hall officials have doubts about the planned departure, they will be allowed to register their suspicions with the domestic violence helpline, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Everyone over the age of 12 will have to report individually to the town hall to write themselves out when the new rules come into effect, the paper says.

At the moment, parents can write individuals or an entire family out of the official register. This allows fathers to remove a daughter from the register if she has been forced to marry someone in her country of origin or was left behind after a holiday.


Asscher’s plans also involve giving Dutch diplomatic missions abroad a greater role in helping victims of arranged marriages. They must also help victims who are in danger if they return to the Netherlands.

Asscher says there are hundreds of instances of arranged marriages involving Dutch residents every year. In addition, wives and children are regularly left behind in their country of origin after a family holiday.

The maximum jail term for forcing someone to marry against his or her will will go up from nine months to two years.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation