By acknowledging a child, you assume legal parenthood, either before or after the child's birth and even if the child is of age.

Recognition is free and can be arranged in any municipality in the Netherlands. In Zoetermeer, you need to make an appointment for this.

  • From the age of 12, you need written consent from the child and mother.
  • From the age of 16, only the child's consent is required.

What does legal parenthood mean?

Taking on legal parenthood for a child means:

  • That you are obligated to care for the child.
  • The child receives mutual inheritance rights. This means that after recognition, the child inherits from the recognizer and the recognizer also inherits from the child.
  • The child can have your last name.

Conditions for recognition

  • The birth mother is not married or registered partner with anyone else.
  • The recognizer must be at least 16 years old.
  • Is the recognizer under guardianship? Then permission from the district judge is required.
  • Recognition is not possible if the recognizer is not allowed to marry the mother due to blood relationship.
  • If a child already has 2 parents, it can never be recognized by another.
  • The recognizer must be present in person for the recognition.
  • The mother from whom the child is born must give written consent for the recognition of the child.
    • If she is present in person, she gives consent by signing the instrument of recognition.
    • Is the mother from whom the child is born not present at the recognition? Then she can consent to the recognition of the child using the Consent to Recognition form.

Joint custody by recognition

The acknowledger automatically gains parental authority with the mother. This happens when they acknowledge their child. Do you want only mother to have custody? When acknowledging, you can record that only the mother has custody of the child.

Parental authority means that you as parent(s) may make decisions about the upbringing and care of a minor child. In addition, you are the child's legal representative.

Name choice

Do you want the child to have the surname of the acknowledger (husband/wife)? Then the mother from whom the child is born must be present in person when the first child is recognized. Read all the information in the product Choosing a child's last name.

  • Name choice applies to children of Dutch nationality.
  • The name choice can only be made for the first child and also applies to subsequent children of the same parents.

Did the mother live abroad at marriageable age? In some cases, you will then need a declaration of unmarried status from abroad. Check with the registrar beforehand.

Not Dutch nationality?

Does the mother from whom the child is born not have the Dutch nationality, but the recognizer (m/f) does? Or does the child live in the Netherlands but does not have Dutch nationality? And is the child recognized before it is 7 years old? Then the child will automatically receive the Dutch nationality of the recognizer (m/f).

Is the child 7 years old or older? Then different rules apply. See also the information on the website of the Immigration and Naturalization Service: Dutchman by birth or recognition.

Duo Mothers

Duo mothers can legally parent their child without court intervention.


  • The mothers are married or have a registered partnership and the child is born from an anonymous donor. For this purpose, a statement from the Donor Data Foundation for Artificial Fertilization (DKB) must be submitted with the declaration of birth.
  • In all other cases, the other mother must acknowledge the child. This can be done both before and after the birth.

Make an appointment

Child recognition

To make an appointment, call 14 079.

Acknowledgment of unborn child

Appointment acknowledging unborn child

Change or cancel appointment?

Once you have made an appointment you will receive a confirmation email. This e-mail also contains a link that allows you to change or cancel your appointment yourself.

Do you no longer have the e-mail? Then call 14 079. A staff member can change or cancel the appointment for you.


From the age of 12, you need written consent from the child and mother.

Consent to recognition of child

Bring to the appointment

  • A valid proof of identity of the recognizer and the child's mother.
  • Written consent of the mother (if she is not present at the recognition). Note! Do you want the child to have the surname of the acknowledger (man/woman)? If so, the mother from whom the child is born must be present in person at the recognition of the first child to make the name selection.
  • Is the child 12 years old or older? Then he/she must come in person and show a valid ID.
  • Is the child 16 years old or older? Then the mother's consent is not required. The child must come in person and show a valid ID.
  • Does only the father or duo mother come to the municipality? Then he/she needs written consent from the biological mother (and possibly from the child under 16) to acknowledge the child.
  • If applicable: a declaration of mother's unmarried status.

How long will it take?

You will receive a copy of the acknowledgement certificate immediately.