Debt Collection Netherlands

Debt Collection Netherlands

Does your company have an unpaid invoice in the Netherlands because a Dutch customer refuses to pay? Our Dutch debt collection specialists and lawyers will be happy to help you. We can ensure that your outstanding invoice in the Netherlands will be paid quickly. Read here what we can do for you when you want to hire a debt collection agency in the Netherlands.

"We have strong debt collection resources in the Netherlands. For example, we can use the bankruptcy petition to get Dutch debtors to pay quickly. As the largest business collection company in the Netherlands, we are the ideal party for your debt recovery in the Netherlands".

Submit your case before 16.00 pm and we will act today!

International debt collection in the Netherlands

When doing business with a Dutch trading partner you are confronted with different trading traditions and customs than those you are used to. Moreover, with different legislations on debt recovery in the Netherlands as well as language and cultural barriers, debt collection in the Netherlands is not always as straightforward.

All the above often makes debt recovery in the Netherlands to be complicated and time-consuming. That is why you should hire our debt collection agency in the Netherlands. They have the means to retrieve your Dutch debt.

Payment behaviour of Dutch companies

  • Statutory term of payment of invoices is 30 days
  • Dutch companies are among the better payers in Europe
  • Invoices are paid within 40 days
  • A payment term of 14 days is customary in the case of reminders

Debt collection in the Netherlands

Dutch companies are among the better payers in Europe. Over the years, their payment behaviour has only continued to improve. On average, invoices are paid within 40 days. Nevertheless, approximately 1/3rd of business invoices are not paid on time. Small businesses in particular, are severely affected by this. As a result, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has launched an initiative ( in order to improve payments to small businesses. Several large Dutch multinationals have joined this initiative, whereby they have agreed to pay smaller suppliers within 30 days.

Advantages of debt collection in the Netherlands

  • Dutch collection lawyers in your country
  • Dutch speaking lawyers
  • Highest success rates
  • Collection throughout the Netherlands
  • Always a single point of contact
  • 24/7 online access to our portal
  • No Cure No Pay debt collection

Dutch lawyer in your country

It is best to contact a Dutch lawyer or collection specialist to collect your invoice against a Dutch debtor. You don't have to go to the Netherlands, you can simply contact our specialists at Bierens. They have extensive knowledge and experience with the laws and regulations on debt recovery in the Netherlands. As our lawyers communicate in the native language, we can make your Dutch debtor pay quickly.

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Debt collection procedure in the Netherlands

The process of debt recovery in the Netherlands can be divided into two phases. In the extrajudicial phase, we collect without the intervention of the court, in the judicial phase we do involve the court to get your Dutch debtor to pay. Because we are a law firm, we can assist you in both phases.

Extrajudicial debt collection

Prelegal debt collection
Our starting point is to always start the debt recovery procedure in the Netherlands in the extrajudicial phase. In this phase, we try to avoid the intervention of the court. We contact your Dutch debtor to ensure that your debtor pays the outstanding invoice. In the extrajudicial phase we have the following possibilities in the Netherlands:

Written demand letters and phone calls

We call your debtor and we send a written reminder asking your Dutch debtor to pay. Your debtor will then have several days to make a payment. In certain cases, we may also talk to your debtor face to face.

Announcing legal proceedings

The best way to pressurise your Dutch debtor to pay is to announce legal proceedings. In most cases, the announcement will persuade your debtor to make the payment. It is therefore advisable to hire a debt recovery agency in the Netherlands who can announce such proceedings on your behalf. This will prevent the collection process from taking longer than necessary.

If your debtor refuses to pay in the extrajudicial phase, we can go to court in consultation with you. We will perform a credit check and analyse your debtor's financial situation. This enables us to better assess your debtor's finances and determine whether legal proceedings are worthwhile. In addition, we will always let you know in advance what the possible costs are, and we will only start working after receiving your permission.

Judicial debt collection

Would you like to start legal collection proceedings against your Dutch debtor? If so, the first question is in which country should you take legal action: in your country or in the Netherlands? This depends on the competent court, i.e. the court that is competent to rule on your debt collection case.

In your general terms and conditions, you can make agreements about the competent court in the event of a (payment) conflict. This is also called a choice of forum. Have no agreements been made? Then the main rule is that the court in the country of the defendant has jurisdiction. In this case the Dutch court. You then must go to the Netherlands to follow legal proceedings there.

Furthermore, the main rule is that the law of the country of the seller or service provider applies. In this case, your country's law applies. We then get this difficult situation where the Dutch judge must judge the case based on your country's law. A legal system he is unfamiliar with. This is not a desirable situation, which is why our advice is to make agreements about this in your general terms and conditions. In addition, you can also agree that you can litigate in your own country, should a conflict arise.

Debt collection laws in the Netherlands

When we take legal action against your Dutch debtor, there are several Dutch collection laws that we can implement. The best applicable procedure differs per situation. Our lawyers always look for the best option depending on your debt recovery in the Netherlands.

The Dutch legal system is focused on protecting creditors. That is why inexpensive and efficient debt collection procedures can be used to get your debtor to pay quickly. Our debt collection lawyers know perfectly well which collection procedures will help you retrieve what you are entitled to.

Bankruptcy petition (applying for bankruptcy)

The bankruptcy petition is one of the most effective means of debt collection in the Netherlands. The aim is not to get your debtor to go bankrupt, but to pressurise your debtor to pay. As many companies do not want to be declared bankrupt, they will be more likely to pay. This procedure is a very effective method of debt collection. In addition, this procedure is relatively cheap. Bankruptcy proceedings can be started if there is an undisputed claim.

Ordinary civil proceedings

In the case of both disputed and undisputed claims, our Dutch lawyers can start ordinary civil proceedings to retrieve your unpaid invoice in the Netherlands. A lawsuit is filed against the debtor. The court can then order the debtor to pay the claim. In these proceedings, evidence can be provided in a variety of different ways. In most cases, the judge will try to have the parties reach a settlement amongst each other. The disadvantage is that it is a lengthy procedure. A simple ordinary civil procedure in the Netherlands may on average take between six to twelve months, while complicated procedures may even last up to two years.  After that, an appeal can be lodged, which can again extend the case.

Debt collection proceedings

Debt collection proceedings are an effective way to quickly collect outstanding invoices in the Dutch court. The processing period of these proceedings is a lot shorter than in other proceedings. In most cases, the court will make a verdict within 2 weeks, after which this verdict can be enforced immediately. Debt collection proceedings are particularly suitable for the collection of simple claims.

Seizure of assets

If a Dutch client does not pay, our lawyers can seize your debtor's assets. Your client will then no longer be able to access their assets. This prevents your client from spending their money or selling their goods so that there is nothing left for you to collect.

International collection laws

international collection laws

In addition to Dutch collection laws, there are also a few European measures that can be used if your Dutch customer refuses to pay. It is important for the European Union that trade between European countries is stimulated. Therefore, complicated procedures are unwanted. That is why, in addition to the normal procedures, there are two alternative procedures that can be used for foreign claims between two EU countries: the European Payment Order Procedure and the Small Claims Procedure.

Both procedures are relatively fast and cheap. A standard form must be filled in, which is then sent to the competent court. If you have not agreed on anything, this is usually the court in the defendants’ country. The court then deals with the collection case and makes a judgement.

The small claims procedure is only suitable for small claims up to €5,000. The European Payment Order only applies to undisputed claims. Although it is a simple procedure, it is not used very often against Dutch debtors. The Dutch bankruptcy petition is much more effective and faster in order to get your debtor to pay.

Debt collection working method in the Netherlands

  • Upload claim
    Upload your debt recovery case online
  • Start case
    We will process your case immediately
  • Send a demand letter
    We will immediately send a payment reminder to your debtor
  • How to approach debtor?
    Together we will determine our approach
  • Online portal 24/7
    View your case 24/7 through our online portal
  • Ask questions
    Questions? Your contact is always available to assist you
  • Get invoice paid
    Your unpaid invoice will be paid

Litigation in your own country

Have you agreed in the general terms and conditions that the court in your country has jurisdiction? Then legal proceedings can also be started in your country. Depending on your specific situation, our lawyers will look at what is most beneficial for your organisation. If we start legal proceedings in your country against your Dutch debtor, we can start ordinary civil proceedings. Both parties will be heard, after which the court will make a judgment.

Executing judgments in the Netherlands

If a verdict has been obtained in your country against a Dutch debtor, it has yet to be executed to retrieve your unpaid invoice in the Netherlands. Within the EU, it has been established that all verdicts obtained in the EU member states are also recognised in other EU countries. For the execution of a Dutch judgment in the Netherlands, the Dutch court issues a certificate. This is then sent to the bailiff in the Netherlands together with the judgment. The bailiff can then set to work immediately to ensure that the judgment is executed in the Netherlands.

Limitation period in the Netherlands

limitation period
An outstanding invoice cannot be collected for an unlimited period of time. An invoice can become time barred. Once the statute of limitations for your invoice has expired, you can no longer enforce payment of your invoice through the courts. It is therefore important to keep a close eye on this limitation period.

A statutory limitation period of 5 years applies to business claims. This period starts when the claim is due and payable. This is the due date of the invoice. If the payment term of an invoice is 30 days, the limitation period of 5 years applies after those 30 days have passed.

Suppose you deliver a batch of clothing to a customer. On 1st April 2017, you send the corresponding invoice, with a payment term of 30 days. However, your customer has not paid. The due date of the invoice is 1st May 2017. From this moment onwards, the limitation period of 5 years applies. On 1st May 2022, your invoice will become time barred.

Exceptions to the limitation period

The limitation period of 5 years applies to normal claims. Please note that the limitation period is different for some claims. For example, transport law throughout Europe has a limitation period of 1 year.

Preventing the statute of limitations for your Dutch invoice

You can avoid the limitation of your invoice by interrupting the prescription period. By interrupting the statute of limitations, the limitation period is halted. In the Netherlands there are three ways to interrupt the statute of limitations:

  1. Recognition by the debtor: The debtor confirms that there is an obligation to pay. For example, because the debtor has already paid one instalment or makes a payment proposal.
  2. Initiating legal proceedings: for example, by filing a writ of summons.
  3. Sending an interruption letter: This is a written summons to let your customer know that you still want payment of your claim. It is important that the interruption letter meets certain requirements. If this is not the case, you risk that there is no interruption, meaning that the invoice will simply expire.


It is therefore most profitable to send the interruption letter at the end of the payment term. Make sure to do this on time, before the statute of limitations expires. Otherwise, you risk your invoice becoming time barred and you will no longer be able to legally collect it.

Legal areas for debt collection in the Netherlands

Our Dutch debt collection agency has been active for several years. During this time, we have helped many companies all over the world with their debt collection business in the Netherlands and abroad, as well as all kinds of debt collection cases in various jurisdictions:

  • Transport
  • Buying and Selling
  • Construction law
  • Rental and leasing
  • Agency and distribution agreement
  • Damages and unlawful acts

“Bierens is a highly effective and professional partner. Not only do they have a good debt collection procedure, they also give solid advice.”

Manuel Maas, Eneco

National coverage

Is your debtor located in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or Utrecht? For our specialists, it does not matter where your customer is located. We can assist you throughout the Netherlands. For the successful collection of your case, you do not need to call in a debt collection agency or lawyer in the Netherlands. You can simply transfer your case online. Our Dutch specialists will then get straight to work.

We offer more than a collection agency

If you are currently looking for a collection agency in the Netherlands, know that you would be better off with a collection lawyer. Our Dutch debt collection lawyers have more resources than a debt collection agency. Moreover, they work faster and are also more successful. The speed and efficiency of our services can only be beneficial for your organisation, as they will retrieve your payment as soon as possible.

Submit your case before 16.00 pm and we will act today!

No Win No Fee debt collection

no cure no pay

During the extrajudicial phase, we work based on the No Win, No Fee principle. If we do not collect, then you pay no legal fee. You only pay €150 for administrative costs. After all, an unpaid invoice in the Netherlands causes enough frustration. We think it would be unfair if you were to be faced with all sorts of additional fees.

You only pay a fee if we can collect the claim. We try to recover this fee from the debtor as much as possible. Therefore, a successful collection case will cost you almost nothing. That is what we call justice, as you will receive what you are entitled to.

Debt collection costs

If the collection is successful, we try to recover the collection costs from the debtor as much as possible. In that case, your Dutch customer will pay the outstanding invoice and the collection costs. This way, you will pay little to no collection fees to our organisation.

Our Dutch specialists

Do you have an outstanding invoice with a Dutch customer? Or do you have another conflict with your client? Our collection specialists and lawyers will be happy to help you solve your payment conflict. Please feel free to contact us for more information. Are you tired of waiting for your payment? Then hand over your invoice immediately. Our specialists will then get straight to work for you.

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  • Fast solutions for your cases
  • Real measures to recover your payments
  • The best results for the lowest costs