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Before you can sell gold, silver or platinum objects, you must have them assayed by a recognised assay office (WaarborgHolland or Edelmetaal Waarborg Nederland, in Dutch). They inspect the gold, silver or platinum content of items. Upon approval, they issue a quality mark. Some products are exempt from assaying (in Dutch), such as those that weigh less than 0.5 grams (for platinum), 1 gram (for gold) or 8 grams (for silver) and products intended for export.
There is a voluntary, internationally recognised hallmark for the precious metal palladium (in Dutch). Articles made from palladium can be submitted to the recognised assay offices to obtain the hallmark.
Objects from foreign countries
If an object from a foreign country has been assayed in the country of origin, the Netherlands can recognise this assaying hallmark. One requirement is that the foreign assay office is an independent agency.
The Netherlands has signed the International Convention on Hallmarks. This means that Dutch assay offices can apply the convention's Common Control Mark, which will then be recognised by all contracting states. Conversely, convention hallmarks applied by other contracting states are recognised in the Netherlands.
Please note: The technical requirements imposed by the Netherlands in respect of precious metals differ from those of other EU Member States. If a gold, silver or platinum object is already allowed in another EU Member State, an assay office may ban its sale in the Netherlands only in exceptional cases.
Modernising of the Assay Act
As of 1 July 2020, the Assay Act has been modernised. The main changes are:
- maximum rates the assay offices may charge are determined
- assay offices need accreditation
- the Radiocommunictions Agency (Agentschap Telecom), the Dutch supervising body, may impose an order subject to an incremental penalty
- the act is more suited to technical developments in the hallmarking process