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Contract Law in the Netherlands

Contract Law in the Netherlands

The principles of the Dutch contract law

The contract law in the Netherlands is based on a few key principles and each contract must observe them in order to have binding force. Each party may enter into a contractual agreement out of his or her own will: this is the freedom of contract. This is important as neither party can force the other to agree upon certain terms that do not suit them. The principle of reliance is also important for the binding force of the contract: the party making the offer must stand up to the expectation created and meet his contractual obligations.

In order to be legal, a contract concluded in the Netherlands must not violate any basic values of the society, otherwise it can be considered null and void. When entering into an agreement, as a business owner in the Netherlands or as a citizen you must pay attention to the contractual provisions and liabilities.

Mandatory provisions

The contractual parties have the right and freedom to express their wishes in contract and agree to whichever degree they consider fit. However, in some business fields the type of the contract is conditioned by other laws and regulations. This is the case of employment contracts that must, according to law, state the type of work, number of working hours, remuneration and the rights the employee is entitled to.

Rental contracts or those signed when selling a property in the Netherlands must also observe the applicable regulations, like those expressed in the tenancy law.

Contracts in the Netherlands do not need to be written, although this is recommended because in case of any dispute they can be used as evidence in a Dutch court, as opposed to the oral agreements.

Assistance for drawing up contracts in the Netherlands

All contracts in the Netherlands should be drawn up in such a manner that they observe the basic principles of reasonableness and fairness. Because the two parties do not always have the same social position, there are certain additional provisions acceptable through the Dutch Civil Law that can protect the weaker party.

The consultants at our Dutch law firm can help you draw up and conclude any types of agreements. You can contact our lawyers for professional legal assistance.