Transport of mortal remains

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

You must have a death certificate and a laissez-passer (body passport) or similar declaration to be able to transport mortal remains from the Netherlands to abroad and vice versa. The death certificate is issued by the municipality where the deceased person has passed away. Then a municipality in the Netherlands is able to issue an authorisation for burial or cremation. Mortal remains must be transported in an airtight zinc lined coffin or casket.

RDW inspection of hearse and registration number

Funeral transport in the Netherlands takes place in a hearse. If you want to use a car as a hearse, it must be inspected by the RDW (in Dutch) first. A hearse requires special equipment. Once the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW) has inspected your hearse, it will issue a special registration number (vehicle category M and body type SD).

Transporting mortal remains across borders

For the transport of mortal remains between countries that have signed and ratified the Strasbourg Convention, you only need a laissez-passer. If this is in the Netherlands the laissez-passer (lijkenpas) is issued by the municipality where the person died. If the body of a deceased is being transported from another country into the Netherlands the competent authorities of that country will issue a laissez-passer.

When transporting mortal remains to or from a country that has not ratified this Convention, you must also have a certificate from the competent authorities that specifies the name of the deceased and the place to which they are being conveyed.

If the body is being transported within the Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) you only need a permit to bury or cremate the body.

Transporting the ashes of a deceased across borders

You do not need any documents to transport the ashes of a deceased (in Dutch). However, it is advisable to have an English translation of the death certificate and the cremation certificate at hand. Ashes can be transported by a special repatriation company. Some airlines allow urns to be carried as hand baggage or in the hold. It is advisable to check first with your airline or Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO