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Limitation period under Dutch law

If you as an entrepreneur are confronted with an old claim in the Netherlands, it is advisable to find out exactly what the applicable limitation periods are in the Netherlands. Like most legal systems, Dutch law provides for a set of rules that set time limits for bringing a civil action. This is generally referred to as the statute of limitations. This means that if you wait too long and let the limitation period under Dutch law expire, you will not be able to make a claim in the Netherlands either. Conversely, this also applies to a claim against your own company. Once the period has expired, the claim expires by operation of law.

Pleas in law in the Netherlands

Most pleas in law in the Netherlands are subject to limitation periods of five (5) years, although some types of claims also have particularly short (1-2 years) or extra long (20-30 years) limitation periods. MAAK Advocaten can examine the claims and all time limits on your behalf and, under certain circumstances, reject or sue on your behalf.

When is a claim time-barred under Dutch law?

The standard limitation period of 5 years applies to

  • General contractual claims for specific services
  • General damage claims or claims for contractual penalties

Shorter periods of limitation apply to:

  • Claims arising from transport contracts (1 year)
  • Claims for payment of the purchase price in consumer sales contracts (2 years)

Longer periods of limitation apply to:

  • Enforcement of a binding judgment or arbitration award (20 years)
  • Receivables secured by a mortgage (20 years)
  • damage caused by air, soil or water pollution (30 years)

Limitation periods in the Netherlands

In order to determine which limitation period under Dutch law applies in your particular case, it is important that you know what plea you wish to rely on (i.e. what is the legal “classification” of the claim you wish to make). It is also important to find out when the limitation period starts. This can be very technical, and it is therefore advisable to seek advice from a lawyer in the Netherlands on these questions. Our experienced attorneys in the Netherlands can advise you and your company and help you to keep an eye on important limitation periods in the Netherlands so that you can make claims in the Netherlands in good time.

The suspension of limitation periods under Dutch law

In the Netherlands, a limitation period under Dutch law may be suspended either by initiating legal proceedings, by means of a written reminder, a notification or an acknowledgement by the debtor, or in any other form agreed by the parties. This interruption of an ongoing limitation period is also called ‘stuiting‘ in Dutch law. An action that suspends the limitation period can only lead to the desired result if the other party is notified immediately.

Dutch specialist lawyer for limitation periods

Are you thinking about making an old claim or are you unexpectedly confronted with an old claim? Are you unsure whether it can be excluded by a limitation period under Dutch law? Let a Dutch lawyer advise you. Our specialist solicitors for Dutch commercial law will be happy to advise you on all legal questions you may face as an English-speaking entrepreneur in the Netherlands and will also be able to draft contracts for you in Dutch in the future. Please feel free to contact our specialist lawyer for limitation periods, Remko Roosjen.

Office:  +31 (0)20 – 210 31 38