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Netherlands – End of Life Issues

The Netherlands has a long-standing tradition of providing high-quality end-of-life care. The country’s hospice movement has been flourishing for more than three decades, with a wide range of facilities and services available to those who need them. In this article, we’ll explore hospices in the Netherlands, local customs and practices when someone dies, and what to do when someone passes away.

Hospices in the Netherlands

Hospices in the Netherlands are designed to provide palliative care for patients who are nearing the end of their lives. These facilities offer a home-like atmosphere, with comfortable surroundings and personalized care that meets the needs of each individual patient. Hospices in the Netherlands provide a range of services, including medical care, pain management, and emotional support for patients and their families.

There are different types of hospice care available in the Netherlands, including:

  • Inpatient hospice care: This type of care is provided in a dedicated facility and is suitable for patients who require 24-hour medical care and support.

  • Home hospice care: This type of care is provided in the patient’s home and is suitable for patients who wish to spend their final days in the comfort of their own surroundings.

  • Day hospice care: This type of care is provided in a dedicated facility during the daytime hours only and is suitable for patients who require medical care, emotional support, and social interaction.

There are several hospices in the Netherlands, including:

  • Hospice de Luwte: Located in Amsterdam, Hospice de Luwte offers inpatient and home hospice care.

  • Hospice Kuria: Located in Amsterdam, Hospice Kuria offers inpatient, home, and day hospice care.

  • Hospice Demeter: Located in De Bilt, Hospice Demeter offers inpatient and home hospice care.

  • Hospice Dignitas: Located in Hoorn, Hospice Dignitas offers inpatient hospice care.

Local Customs and Practices When Someone Dies in the Netherlands

When someone dies in the Netherlands, there are certain customs and practices that are followed. These customs and practices may vary depending on the region and the family’s cultural and religious beliefs.

  • Death announcement: It is common for death announcements to be placed in local newspapers, announcing the passing of the deceased and providing information about the funeral arrangements.

  • Funeral: Funerals in the Netherlands are typically held within a week of the person’s passing. They are often simple affairs, with close family and friends attending. Cremation is the most common form of burial in the Netherlands.

  • Dress code: The dress code for funerals in the Netherlands is typically formal, with black clothing being the norm.

  • Condolences: It is customary to offer condolences to the family of the deceased. This can be done in person, by sending a condolence card, or by making a donation to a charity.

What to do When Someone Dies in the Netherlands

When someone dies in the Netherlands, there are several steps that must be taken. Here’s what you need to do:


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  1. Contact the doctor: If the person passed away at home, you need to contact their doctor. The doctor will come to the house and certify the death. If the person passed away in a hospital or hospice, the staff will take care of this.

  2. Notify the authorities: You must notify the local authorities of the person’s passing within five days. This can be done by calling the gemeente (municipality) or by visiting the town hall in person.

  3. Register the death: The next step is to register the death. This can be done at the town hall, and you will need to bring a copy of the death certificate with you.

  4. Arrange the funeral: Once the death has been registered, you can start making arrangements for the funeral. You can choose to work with a funeral director or make the arrangements yourself.

  5. Decide on burial or cremation: The Netherlands has a strong tradition of cremation, but burial is also an option. You will need to make this decision when making funeral arrangements.

  6. Organ donation: If the person had expressed a desire to donate their organs, you will need to inform the doctor or hospital staff as soon as possible after their passing.

  7. Notify family and friends: You should inform family and friends of the person’s passing as soon as possible. You may also want to consider placing a death announcement in a local newspaper.

  8. Cancel services: You will need to cancel any services or subscriptions that were in the deceased person’s name, such as utilities or insurance policies.

  9. Notify the bank: If the person had a bank account, you will need to notify the bank of their passing. The bank will freeze the account until the estate has been settled.

  10. Settle the estate: The deceased person’s estate will need to be settled. This may involve appointing an executor, paying any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing any assets to beneficiaries.

In conclusion, the Netherlands has a long-standing tradition of providing high-quality end-of-life care, with a range of hospice services available to those in need. When someone passes away in the Netherlands, there are customs and practices that must be followed, and certain steps that must be taken to notify authorities, register the death, and make funeral arrangements. By following these steps, you can ensure that the passing of your loved one is handled with care and respect.


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