Conditions and requirements
The requirements for being allowed to bring a pet into the Netherlands vary depending on what kind of animal it is, and whether you’re bringing it from within the EU or from a non-EU country. If you bring a dog or a cat from another EU country, for example, you must make sure that your pet:
- is at least 15 weeks old
- has been vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days prior to the departure date
- is microchipped and has a pet passport (see below).
These rules also apply to ferrets.
If you’re bringing any other animal from a country within the EU, such as a small rodent, a rabbit, a bird, fish, an amphibian or a reptile, it must have a pet’s health certificate signed by a veterinarian. In addition, if the animal is a protected species, you must check that you are permitted to import it under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna (CITES), an international agreement that regulates the trade in protected animal and plant species.
It is recommended that you allow at least a 6-9 month waiting period to arrange for your pet paperwork. Dogs, cats and ferrets travelling abroad with their owners from other EU member states must have an EU ‘pet passport’ (EU-dierenpaspoort) from the vet in their country of origin. The main function of this document is to certify vaccination against rabies. For more information about the pet passport, click here.
Bringing an animal to the Netherlands from a non-EU country
For the conditions and requirements for bringing an animal to the Netherlands from a country outside the EU, contact the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
Make sure to call your airline in advance of travelling with a pet. It’s often overlooked that you have to make a reservation for your pet to travel with you. Airlines have strict weight limitations and temperature restrictions that may endanger or cause discomfort to your animal therefore it’s suggested to check in advance. Individual airlines will advise on which animals can be taken on board and which must go on as designated cargo.
Dogs must be microchipped and registered within two weeks of arrival in the Netherlands. The microchip is normally implanted by a vet, who can also advise you on how to register the animal. As of 2016, the City of Amsterdam does not charge dog tax.
The Netherlands has a wide network of animal hospitals and vets. As well as appointments, many vets offer a special drop-in time (spreekuur) when you can stop by unannounced for advice or in an emergency. As for health check-ups, your vet will keep you regularly informed with updates. Click here for the official association of Dutch vets (website in Dutch only).
Pet lost or found
Pet gone astray? Contact the Dierenbescherming organisation (website in Dutch only). If your pet has a chip, you should also report the loss – find an overview of chip databases here. If you find a pet and it looks like it might be hurt, contact the Dierenambulance (animal ambulance; website in Dutch only).