In principle, a foreign judgment cannot simply be enforced in the Netherlands. In order to do so, the judgment must obtain a so-called ‘enforcement order’.

To give the foreign judgment an enforceable title, you must first go to the Dutch court. Such a procedure is also referred to as ‘exequatur procedure’.

If a treaty has been concluded between the Netherlands and the country in which the judgment was rendered, judgments from that country are automatically recognized in the Netherlands.

The exequatur procedure

In order to start an exequatur procedure in the Netherlands, a (Dutch) lawyer must submit a petition to the Dutch court. In these exequatur proceedings, the court tests the foreign judgment against a number of general principles of law and calls on the losing party to be heard.

As the court only checks the verdict on the outline, an exequatur procedure is usually not a time-consuming procedure. The law stipulates that the court must grant the leave for the enforcement of the foreign judgment “with due urgency”.

Only after the leave, foreign judgment can be enforced in the Netherlands.

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The European Enforcement Title (EET) as a replacement for the exequatur procedure

The EET Regulation offers EU member states the option of already certifying a foreign judgment. An EET-certified judgment can be enforced in all Member States of the European Union.

In that case, starting an exequatur procedure is no longer necessary. The court will only issue an EET certificate at the request of the claimant. He first determines on the basis of the EET Order whether the decision qualifies for certification as an EET judgment. In doing so, the court will look at the way in which the summons was served.

If the procedure meets all the criteria, an EET-certified judgment can be issued and enforced in all EU Member States.

European Payment Order Procedure (EBB)

The European order for payment procedure is an effective procedure. This procedure makes it easy to file international claims through a uniform procedure based on forms. As it is a standard procedure, it is a relatively simple procedure that works the same in all countries.

A lawyer can request the Dutch court for an EEB. A condition for granting such a request is that the claim to which the request relates concerns an undisputed and due and payable monetary claim.

If the claim is disputed by the debtor and/or the claim is not yet due and payable at the time the application is submitted, the court will therefore reject the EEB application. At that time, a normal collection procedure can always be started.

Collecting foreign judgments in the Netherlands

The route to be followed for collecting a foreign judgment in the Netherlands depends on the country in which the foreign judgment was rendered. A judgment from one of the EU member states is relatively easy to enforce in the Netherlands.

If the judgment has been rendered outside an EU Member State, an exequatur procedure will in principle have to be initiated.

VIOTTA’s lawyers are specialized in the enforcement of foreign judgments in the Netherlands. At VIOTTA, we don’t like unpleasant surprises. We are always clear in our communication and transparent about the expected costs.

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VIOTTA is a law firm based in Amsterdam and is specialized in advising on the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, contract law and corporate & commercial dispute resolution. We advise in transactional matters and litigate in commercial disputes. VIOTTA provides legal advises to its clients on Dutch corporate law matters, such as corporate governance, board structures, director’s duties and liabilities, joint ventures and other collaborations. VIOTTA advises purchasers, sellers, management and other stakeholders in domestic and cross border mergers and acquisitions (M&A).


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