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Collecting a debt in Holland

Collecting a debt in Holland

Dutch companies generally have good payment habits. Payments are typically made within 47 days in the Netherlands. They often negotiate payment installments and use collection agencies to ensure timely payment. This approach highlights their understanding of the importance of fulfilling financial obligations promptly, fostering positive creditor relationships, and reducing the need for collecting a debt in Holland or abroad.

However, there are instances where debtors may face challenges in meeting their payment obligations. In such cases, debtors need to communicate with their creditors and negotiate payment installments that are feasible for both parties. This proactive approach can help avoid unnecessary costs and potential legal action.

In the Netherlands, legal action is available as a last resort for debt collection. Creditors have the option to pursue legal dunning and initiate court proceedings against the debtor. However, it’s worth noting that legal action should be considered as a final step, as it can be time-consuming and costly for both parties involved.

To navigate the regulatory environment and explore legal options for debt collection in the Netherlands, creditors and debtors must understand the roles of debt collecting agencies and bailiffs in the process.

Debt collecting agencies are responsible for collecting debts on behalf of creditors, using non-coercive measures such as sending payment request letters. On the other hand, bailiffs are brought in when a debtor doesn’t respond to the agency, and they’ve the legal authority to use coercive measures, usually requiring a court order.

When it comes to legal options, the debt collection process in the Netherlands is governed by Dutch law. Creditors and debtors have the option of seeking assistance from debt collection attorneys who can provide guidance on the legal aspects of the process. In cases where the debtor’s financial situation is dire, bankruptcy proceedings may be initiated, providing a framework for the orderly distribution of assets to creditors.

In the event that legal action is necessary, the debtor may be summoned to court. If the debtor fails to comply with the court’s ruling, seizure of their income or goods may be pursued as a last resort. It’s important to note that all legal procedures must adhere to the regulations set forth by the Dutch Royal Professional Organisation of Judicial Officers (KBvG), which ensures transparency, prevents unnecessary fees, and protects the rights of the debtor.

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the Netherlands involves the legal process of acknowledging and enforcing court decisions from other countries. When it comes to debt collection in the Netherlands, if you have obtained a judgment from a foreign court, you may seek its recognition and enforcement in the Dutch legal system.

This process typically requires a court order and involves the seizure of the debtor’s assets if they fail to comply with the foreign court’s ruling. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Royal Professional Organisation of Judicial Officers maintains Registers such as the Attachments Register and the Court Bailiff Register, ensuring transparency and accountability in the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments act as a last resort in the debt collection process, and it may lead to further legal proceedings if the debtor doesn’t respond to the court’s ruling. The recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments can be based on reciprocity arrangements or the provisions of the New York Convention.

It’s important to note that the debtor may be held liable for collection costs and interest, which are calculated based on the European Central Bank’s reference rate plus at least 8 percentage points. If you’re seeking to enforce a foreign judgment in the Netherlands, it’s advisable to consult with an interlocutory court or a legal professional familiar with the process to ensure a smooth and effective enforcement.

Collecting a debt in Holland: Agencies and Bailiffs

Debt collection agencies and bailiffs play vital roles in the process of recovering outstanding debts from debtors in the Netherlands.

Debt collection agencies act as intermediaries, collecting debts on behalf of creditors through methods such as sending letters requesting payment. They’re restricted from using coercive measures to enforce debt collection. However, if a debtor doesn’t respond to the debt collecting agency, bailiffs can be hired to take further action. Bailiffs, who’ve a legal status, can utilize coercive measures but typically require a court order to do so.

In the Dutch debt collection process, debt collecting agencies are the first line of action, attempting to reach a resolution with the debtor. If that fails, bailiffs step in to enforce debt collection, ensuring that the creditor receives the payment they’re owed.

The Attachments Register and the Court Bailiff Register, maintained by the Dutch Royal Professional Organisation of Judicial Officers (KBvG), provide transparency and accountability in the debt collection process. These registers offer information and protection for debtors’ rights, ensuring that the debt collection process is fair and lawful.

Debt Collection Process and Dutch Insolvency Proceedings

After understanding the roles of debt collection agencies and bailiffs in the Netherlands, it’s important to explore the debt collection process and insolvency proceedings.

In the debt collection process, when a debtor fails to respond to the debt collection agency’s letters requesting payment, a court order may be necessary. This court order summons the debtor to court and ensures that they receive the judge’s ruling. If the debtor still doesn’t comply, the bailiff, with a legal status, can take action. The bailiff may seize the debtor’s income or goods as a last resort. The seizure is carried out according to the court order and can lead to further actions in the debt collection process.

In cases of insolvency, the debtor may file for bankruptcy or apply for a debt restructuring plan. If the debtor files for bankruptcy, an insolvency proceeding is initiated. The debtor’s assets are liquidated, and the proceeds are distributed among the creditors. On the other hand, if the debtor applies for a debt restructuring plan, negotiations take place between the debtor and the creditors to develop a plan that allows the debtor to repay the debts over an extended period.

In both debt collection and insolvency proceedings, the notification of default plays a crucial role. It serves as a formal notice to the debtor, informing them of their payment obligations and the consequences of non-payment. The notification of default is an important step in initiating legal actions and enforcing the debt collection process or insolvency proceedings.


In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of debt collection in the Netherlands is crucial for successful payment recovery. Negotiating payment installments and seeking assistance from specialized collection agencies are common strategies. However, it’s important to note that debt-renegotiation mechanisms are often ineffective. The regulatory environment operates under a Civil Law system with codified rules, and different courts handle claims of varying amounts. Late payment interest is calculated based on the European Central Bank’s reference rate plus at least 8 percentage points, and debtors can be held responsible for collection costs.

Contact our debt collection law firm in Holland

Explore your legal opportunities and reach out to our knowledgeable and dedicated team at our Dutch debt collection law firm.  Our Dutch lawyers are committed to providing exceptional legal services and personalized attention to address your unique needs. You can contact us through our website, via email, or by phone. Our friendly and professional staff will be more than happy to assist you and schedule a consultation with one of our expert attorneys in the Netherlands, for example a Dutch litigation attorney or contract lawyer in the Netherlands in Amsterdam. We look forward to the opportunity to help you navigate the complexities of the legal landscape and achieve the best possible outcomes for your case.

Contact person: Remko Roosjen | attorney-at-law for Dutch debt collection
Office number: +31 (0)20 – 210 31 38

The content provided on this legal blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a substitute for professional legal counsel. While we strive to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information presented, we cannot guarantee its completeness or applicability to your specific circumstances. We encourage you to consult with a qualified attorney for advice regarding your individual legal matters. The content on this blog may be subject to changes or updates without notice, and we disclaim any responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided.

Remko Roosjen

Remko Roosjen

Remko Roosjen is a Dutch contract attorney in the Netherlands and creates close working relationships with clients, providing pragmatic solutions across on all legal matters in the Netherlands. Remko is a partner of our commercial law firm in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His specialist areas include Dutch contract law, including Dutch commercial contracting and legal disputes, including civil litigation, arbitration and mediation. Remko is a sharp, creative Dutch attorney with extensive cross-border experience representing both foreign plaintiffs and defendants. Visit Remko's profile via the website or via his LinkedIn Profile.