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In the Netherlands, the possession of all firearms, ammunition and other weapons is prohibited. It is also forbidden to use weapons. There are some exceptions, but in those cases you will need a weapons permit.
- Category I: such as knives, arrows, fake weapons (in Dutch), realistic-looking toys (toy weapons with a CE marking for children under 14 years of age are allowed), and more
- Category II: most types of firearms, tasers, pepperspray, and more
- Category III: throwing knives, firearms not covered in Cat. II, alarmpistols, and more
- Category IV: bayonets, swords, batons, crossbows, and more
There are separate rules (in Dutch) for airsoft weapons (spring-, gas- or air-powered weapons). For 'category IV weapons', such as swords, rapiers, certain airguns, harpoons and crossbows different rules apply as well (in Dutch). Adults may own category IV weapons but certain acts are prohibited. For instance you may not carry these on you on public roads.
If you want to own or trade in weapons and ammunition, you need a weapons permit. There are different types of permits:
Conditions and procedure for weapons permit
Do you want to apply for a weapons permit? You must comply with the conditions (in Dutch). The application procedure for weapons permits is subject to strict rules:
- You must submit your application in person to the Chief of Police in your police region (in Dutch);
- You must make sure you have a safe storage facility for your weapon(s). The police will check this on site;
- You must also comply with an examination of your mental health (e-screener);
- You must provide 3 references;
- If the weapons permit is granted, you must collect it in person with the police.
You need a recognition permit if you intend to use weapons for commercial purposes (for example sale, rent or repair). You can apply for a recognition permit with the chief constable of the police force in your police region (in Dutch).
You need an authorisation permit if you intend to transport a weapon. You can apply for an authorisation permit for transport or a hunting licence with the chief constable of the police force in your police region (in Dutch).
A dispensation permit is an individual exception to a statutory prohibition. You can apply for a dispensation permit to own a weapon from Justis (Ministry of Justice and Security, in Dutch).
Biological weapons are prohibited in the Netherlands. No company may develop, manufacture, stock, procure or possess biological weapons.
Online application via Message Box
You can apply for a permit for weapons and ammunition with the Dutch Police, Justis or the CDIU (Dutch Tax and Customs Administration) via Message Box. Message Box is a secure e-mail system that enables entrepreneurs to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.