If your partner, relative or friend has died in a foreign country, you can have their body returned to the Netherlands for the funeral (repatriation). An insurer or international funeral director can help you.
Was the deceased person insured?
First find out whether the deceased person had supplementary health insurance, travel insurance or funeral insurance with cover for repatriation in the event of death.
If the deceased person had travel insurance, supplementary health insurance or funeral insurance with repatriation cover, the insurer’s emergency call centre can help you arrange repatriation. Call the centre to discuss the situation.
If the deceased person was not insured for repatriation, you can only have their body returned to the Netherlands if you pay the costs. You can ask an international funeral director to help you.
Bear in mind that it may cost thousands of euros, depending on the country and how the body is transported.
If repatriation is not possible
If you can’t afford repatriation, or repatriation is not possible for another reason, the only option is to arrange a burial or cremation in the country of death.
You can ask the Dutch Association of Insurers to find out whether the deceased person was insured in the Netherlands (information in Dutch). This is a free service, but it can take 2 to 3 months to receive a reply. In the meantime you will have to arrange the funeral and advance the costs. If it emerges that the deceased person was insured for repatriation, the costs may be fully or partially reimbursed.
What do you need to arrange abroad?
If you are getting assistance from the emergency call centre or an international funeral director, they will usually make all the arrangements in the foreign country. If you are with the deceased person in the foreign country and have not yet received any help, follow the steps below.
It is important that a doctor confirms the death. If the death was due to illness or a medical condition, the doctor will draw up a statement of death. You need this statement in order to register the death with the local municipality.
Ensure that the deceased person’s passport or a copy of their passport remains with them. Take any jewellery and other valuables away with you.
If your partner, relative or friend died as the result of an accident or crime or this is suspected, you should always contact the local police. The police will first have to investigate before the funeral can take place.
If you want to find out more about the investigation, contact the Dutch embassy or consulate. They can request a copy of the medical report, autopsy report or police report for you. They will let you know beforehand how much this will cost.
The embassy or consulate cannot investigate a suspected crime itself.
You can use the statement of death to register the death with the local authorities, such as the municipal office. The authorities will give you 2 documents: the death certificate and a laissez-passer (temporary travel document). You need these documents in order to return the deceased person’s body to the Netherlands.
Ask for several official copies of the death certificate. You will need these in order to report the death to various organisations.
If the local authorities do not give you a laissez-passer for the deceased person, the Dutch embassy or consulate can help you. You will need to provide the following documents:
- an extract from the register of deaths
- the statement of death
- a statement that the transport of the body has been prepared in accordance with the rules. This statement can be issued by the funeral director or a government body.
If you have any problems, we can help you.