If you are being forced into marriage abroad the steps you need to take depend on where you are.
What is forced marriage?
Not everyone is free to choose their own partner. Parents or other family members may choose a partner and force you to marry them. Sometimes this is just with words, but it can also involve threats, blackmail and violence. If you feel like someone is making you get married or like you have no say in who you marry, this is a forced marriage.
What can I do if I am being forced to marry?
The steps you can take depend on where you are.
If you are worried that you will have to get married against your will during a holiday or family visit abroad, ask for help and try to stay in the Netherlands. In an emergency, call 112.
- The organisation ‘Safe at Home’ (Veilig Thuis) can make sure you get the right help.
- The organisation Fier (information in Dutch) helps victims of violence and forced marriage.
- The organisation Sterk Huis (information in Dutch) gives advice to people facing difficulties or threats at home or elsewhere.
If you think you will not be able to stay in the Netherlands, try to take the following steps. This will make it easier for you to get back to the Netherlands:
- Before you leave the Netherlands find a recent passport photo and make a photocopy of your passport. Write down your address, your citizen service number (BSN) and any other important information.
- Write a message explaining your situation. You can email this message to someone you trust before you leave.
- Ask someone you trust for help (for example your family doctor, a teacher or friend). Or contact the National Expertise Centre on Forced Marriage and Abandonment (LKHA) and/or Veilig Thuis.
- Download the Dutch government’s Travel App (Reisapp) (information in Dutch). This app contains the contact details of all Dutch embassies and consulates. These details are also available offline.
Are you outside the Netherlands and are you being forced to marry someone against your will? Try to do the following:
Try to do the following:
- Try to stay calm. Don’t let anyone see that you are trying to get help. This may put you in a dangerous position.
- Reach out to the Dutch embassy when it is safe for you to talk and no one is listening.
This is how you ask the Dutch embassy for help:
- By phone: if you are in the Netherlands, call +31 247 247 247. If you are outside the Netherlands, call the local Dutch embassy. You can find the contact information for an embassy near you on our embassy selector page.
- Whatsapp: you can ask for help via WhatsApp. Add the mobile phone number of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (+316 82 38 77 96) to your contacts on your smartphone and send us a message. We aim to respond within 30 minutes. Please note: you cannot call or text (SMS) us on this number.
- Contact form: you can ask your question to the NetherlandsWorldwide contact centre using our contact form. Please be aware that it can take up to 2 weeks before you receive a response. Need a faster response? Please pick a different contact option.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Expertise Centre on Forced Marriage and Abandonment (LKHA) help Dutch victims of forced marriage who are abroad and want to return to the Netherlands. The embassy or consulate can, for example, help find temporary safe accommodation or issue travel documents.
If you know someone who is being forced into marriage abroad, contact the National Expertise Centre on Forced Marriage and Abandonment (LKHA) on +31 (0)70 345 4319 or at LKHA@veiligthuishaaglanden.nl. You can also contact the LKHA for advice. You can do this anonymously if you wish.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.