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An introduction to legal research in the jurisdiction of the Netherlands
Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017 URL: http://libguides.ials.sas.ac.uk/netherlands Print Guide RSS Updates
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Last updated:

Hester Swift, July 2017

 

About the author

This guide was updated by Hester Swift, Foreign & International Law Librarian at the IALS Library.

Click here for Hester's full profile and contact details.

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    Introduction

    Since 2010, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has consisted of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten. It is a constitutional monarchy with a civil law legal system, but from the sixteenth century until the early nineteenth century it had a Roman-Dutch legal system.

     

    Constitution

    The Constitution (Grondwet) is nominally that of 1814, but has undergone many amendments, including a complete revision in 1983. 

    Another fundamental instrument, the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden), governs the relationship between the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten. 

    In English
    HeinOnline's World Constitutions Illustrated has current and historical versions of the Constitution in English, plus a 1956 translation of the Charter (the latter under 'Commentaries and Other Relevant Sources').

    Kortmann, Constitutional Law of the Netherlands (Kluwer Law International, 2007), held at IALS, includes an English translation of the Constitution dated 2006. 

    Leiden University's Nederlandse Grondwet website provides article-by-article translations of the current Constitution in English, French, German and Spanish. It presents the text of each article in a box in Dutch, with options to switch to the desired language, and above the box is a link to the next article. 

    The Legislationline website, maintained by the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has a translation of the current Constitution published by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

    In Dutch
    IALS has Grondwet: tekst en commentaar, compiled by P.P.T. Bovend'Eert et al (3rd ed., Kluwer, 2009), which consists of the Constitution with commentary. See also Kluwer Collegebundel 2012/13 (Kluwer, 2012), volume II, which includes the constitution as amended to 2008 and charter as amended to 2010.

    The Nederlandse Grondwet website, provided by Leiden University, has all versions of the constitution from 1798 to the present, with basic annotations. The site's news section has information about pending constitutional amendments (in Dutch).

    The government website, Overheid.nl, provides current versions of both the Constitution and the Charter. Use the search facility and enter 'Grondwet' or 'Statuut' in the title box.

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    Codes and statutes

    In English
    IALS Library has an English translation of the Civil Code: Warendorf et al, The Civil Code of the Netherlands, 2nd edition (Kluwer, 2013).  

    Other sources of translated legislation are listed in the Netherlands section of Reynolds and Flores, Foreign Law Guide: current sources of codes and basic legislation in jurisdictions of the world (see IALS Electronic Law Library).

    In Dutch
    IALS has the Kluwer Collegebundel 2012-2013, a two-volume compilation of codes and laws. We also hold the following individual codes from Kluwer's Tekst en Commentaar (Text and Commentary) series:

    • Burgerlijk Wetboek: tekst en commentaar (Civil Code), 9th ed., Kluwer, 2011. (The Dutch Civil Code covers commercial law as well as other civil matters.)
    • Burgerlijke Rechtsvorderingtekst en commentaar (Civil Procedure Code) , 5th ed., Kluwer,  2012
    • Strafrechttekst en commentaar (Criminal Law), 9th ed., Kluwer, 2012
    • Strafvorderingtekst en commentaar (Criminal Procedure), 9th ed., Kluwer, 2011
    • Mededingingswet tekst en commentaar (Competition Law), 3rd ed., Kluwer, 2011
    • Algemene Wet Bestuursrechttekst en commentaar (General Administrative Law), 7th ed., Kluwer, 2011
    • Milieurechttekst en commentaar (Environmental Law), 4th ed., Kluwer, 2012

    For older compilations of Dutch legislation, see Fruin, De Nederlandse wetboeken; IALS has 16 editions of this, 1914 to 2006 (in which year it ceased publication). Earlier editions of Fruin are called De Nederlandsche wetboeken. We also have an old multi-volume collection of legislation, Nederlandse Wetgeving, a looseleaf work updated to around 2009. 

    Individual statutes, decrees and regulations are first published in the Dutch official gazette, Staatsblad van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, which began in 1815. Treaties are published in its sister series, the Tractatenblad. The government website, Overheid.nl, offers the Staatsblad and Tractatenblad from January 1995 onwards. IALS has the printed Staatsblad from 1931 to 1948 only (with gaps).

    The Overheid (Government) website has a database including both legislation in force and historical versions of legislation.

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    Law reports

    IALS has the series Nederlandse jurisprudentie (NJ) from 1925 onwards. It publishes the decisions of the Hoge Raad (Supreme Court) and a much smaller selection of decisions of the district courts (rechtbanken) and appeal courts (gerechtshofen), in both civil and criminal cases.

    Some journals also publish court decisions:

    Nederlands juristenblad has summaries of recent cases; IALS has the whole series,1926 onwards.

    Sew:tijdschrift voor europees en economisch recht has summaries - and some full reports - of Dutch decisions on economic law. It started in 1952 and IALS Library has it from 1962 onwards.

    Weekblad voor privaatrecht, notariaat en registratie has case digests on civil law and conflict of laws; IALS has the whole series, 1870 onwards.                                                                         

    Selected judgments of the Supreme Court, appeal courts, district courts and other courts are freely available on the website of the Dutch courts, Rechtspraak.nl (under 'Uitspraken'). The site also has an English-language guide to the Dutch court system.

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    Indexes and bibliographies

    Dutch cases are indexed in Nederlandse Jurisprudentie.

    Several Dutch law journals are covered by Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, which is available via the IALS Electronic Law Library. They include: Ars AequiNederlands Juristenblad, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Burgerlijk Recht, Ondernemingsrecht, SEW: Tijdschrift voor Europees en Economisch Recht and Tijdschrift voor Arbitrage.

    A comprehensive Dutch legal bibliography and index of articles from about 100 Dutch law journals is provided by Kluwer's Data juridica. This used to be a print publication, but is now available only online. IALS does not subscribe to the electronic version, but has printed volumes covering the period 1973-1996.

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    Books

    For our full collection of books on Dutch law, see the IALS Library Catalogue.

    IALS' main source of commentary on civil law is Mr C. Assers Handleiding tot de Beoefening van het Nederlands Burgerlijk Recht (...Guide to the Practice of Dutch Civil Law), published by Kluwer and known as 'Asser-Serie'. IALS has the current edition, and older editions back to the 1970s.

    Other recent Dutch-language titles held at IALS include:

    Dam, C. C. van, Aansprakelijkheidsrecht (Boom Juridische Uitgevers, 2015)

    Klosse, S., Socialezekerheidsrecht, 12th ed., (Kluwer, 2014)

    Cleiren, C.P.M., et al (ed.s), Strafrecht: de tekst van het Wetboek van Strafrecht en enkele aanverwante wetten voorzien van commentaar, 9th ed. (Kluwer, 2012)

    Bleichrodt, F. W., Vergroting van de slagvaardigheid van het strafrecht : een rechtsvergelijkend perspectief (Boom Juridische Uitgevers, 2012)

    Books in English
    IALS has a large number of English-language titles on Dutch law, including the following recent works:

    Chorus, J.M.J., et al (ed.s), Introduction to Dutch Law, 5th ed., Kluwer, 2016

    De Blécourt, Mirjam A., Dismissal Law in the Netherlands: a Practical Guide. Eleven International Publishing, 2016.

    Hartkamp. A.S., Contract Law in the Netherlands, 2nd ed., Kluwer Law International, 2015.

    Jacobs, Antoine, Labour law in the Netherlands, 2nd ed., Kluwer Law International, 2015.

    Oomen, Barbara, Rights for Others: the Slow Home-coming of Human Rights in the Netherlands. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

    Muller, Maarten H., (ed.).Corporate Law in the Netherlands. Wolters Kluwer Law and Business, 2013.

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    Journals

    IALS subscribes to the following Dutch journals:

    Ars aequi,1951-

    Delikt en delinkwent (formerly Tijdschrift voor strafrecht), 1960-  

    Nederlands juristenblad  (formerly Nederlandsch juristenblad) 1926 - 

    Rechtsgeleerd magazijn themis, 1882-  

    Sew: tijdschrift voor europees en economisch recht (formerly Sociaal-economische wetgeving), 1962-  

    Tijdschrift voor rechtsgeschiedenis, 1918-  (also available online - see links on IALS catalogue record)

    Weekblad voor privaatrecht, notariaat en registratie, 1870-

    Articles on the law of the Netherlands are also published in English-language journals: see Westlaw UK and Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals.

     

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    Online resources

    Overheid.nl, the Dutch government website, includes a legislation database and the Dutch official gazette, both in Dutch.

    Rechtspraak.nl, the website of the Dutch courts, offers selected judgments (in Dutch) under the heading 'Uitspraken'.  It also has an English-language guide to the Dutch court system.

    Portill (Portal Internet Law Library), jointly edited by law librarians at three Dutch universities, has links to law websites (the main pages are available in English).

    A database of Dutch treaties is available on the Dutch government website, Overheid.nl. It has an English interface and the treaties themselves are in various languages.

    A Dutch law research guide, including an introduction to the legal system of the Netherlands, can be found on New York University's Globalex website.

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