Freezing Assets in the Netherlands (1)
12 November 2021
In the Netherlands, it is relatively easy for creditors to seize assets. If you feel you have a legitimate claim, and you can locate assets in the Netherlands, it may be worthwhile to ask Dutch courts permission to seize or freeze these assets. You will put pressure on your debtor – and make sure in the end, your claim is paid.
The Netherlands is a hub for international business. Also in terms of finance. For tax purposes, many companies have a seat in Amsterdam, or other corporate links to the jurisdiction. This means in many cases, you will be able to locate debtor assets in the Netherlands.
You can seize assets before, during or after litigation. This series focuses exclusively on pre-trail seizure in the Netherlands.
Which assets can be freezed and seized in the Netherlands?
Dutch law puts most assets up for pre-trial seizure. If you feel you have a legitimate claim, you can seize for example the following assets:
- Moveable assets owned by the debtor (e.g. bank accounts, cars, jewelry, inventory, trading stock);
- Moveable assets owned by the debtor that are in your possession, as creditor;
- Moveable assets owned by the debtor that are in the possession of third parties;
- Immoveable assets owned by the debtor (e.g. real estate, ships, aircraft);
- Shares, securities and certain other financial instruments;
- Self-seizure (i.e. claims the debtor may have on you, as creditor);
- Claims the debtor may have on third parties;
- Intellectual property.
There are more assets that can be seized following a freezing injunction (i.e. a pre-trail conservatory order). However, these are targeted most often. In many other jurisdictions, parties litigate for years on end, only to find out that there are no assets left to liquidate (a so-called Pyrrhic victory). In the Netherlands, this problem is neutralized by the opportunity to freeze assets early on.