Inheritance law

Inheritance law in the Netherlands

As a resident of the Netherlands, what happens to your belongings and your wealth when you die? Your inheritance – the estate – could be affected by inheritance laws. They decide who will receive what and how much is taxed.

Does Dutch Inheritance Law Affect Me?

When a non-Dutch citizen dies in the Netherlands, their estate may be affected by Dutch inheritance law, or by the laws of another country. If you are an EU citizen or resident, you can choose which country’s rules apply to you.

Dutch inheritance law applies to Dutch nationals currently living in the Netherlands and to foreign residents who have lived in the Netherlands in the last five years before their death, unless they have declared otherwise. 

EU citizens and formal EU residents can choose which laws they want to apply to their estate upon their death: the laws of their country of residence or their country of nationality. This applies even if the other country is a non-EU country. If you are an international living in the Netherlands with EU citizenship and want the inheritance laws of your country of nationality to apply rather than Dutch inheritance law, you need to express this clearly in a will or separate declaration.

How Do These Laws Affect My Estate?

Dutch inheritance laws can affect what and how much of your estate your family or friends will receive after your death. If you don’t leave a will, your estate will pass equally to your spouse or partner and your children. In case your partner depended on you financially, they may be able to receive survivor’s benefit (known as ANW benefit after the Algemene Nabestaandenwet).

These laws also affect how much tax will be paid on your inheritance. This can vary from 10% to 40%, depending on how much your estate is worth, and who receives it. 

Read more about how these laws work on the government website.


If you are looking for information about other official matters, you can find out more in our articles on immigration to the Netherlands, legal issues, the Dutch pension system, and legalising documents.