Netherlands: Statistics Netherlands to look at polygamous marriages

Civil servants, particularly in the major cities, register dozens of bigamous or polygamous marriages annually.  These marriages are banned and criminal in the Netherlands.

However, that doesn't hold for marriage registries which are concluded in countries where polygamy is not criminal, such as Morocco.  These marriages must be registered in the Netherlands when immigrants from these countries move there.

It's unknown how often this happens in the Netherlands.  Statistics Netherlands (CBS), where all marriages are registered, had removed till now all polygamous or bigamous marriages from its files, assuming they are administrative mistakes.

CBS, alarmed by an internal civil-service order from Amsterdam about the procedures from writing up such marriages will now make an inventory whether it's correct to write off these marriages.

Jan Latten of the CBS says that currently it's not in their statistics.  They currently also write off marriages which register 14 year olds.  The law doesn't allow a man with two wives.  They will now investigate whether they've been missing something and if there's possibly an unrecognized trend.  Since if there is, it's their job to report about it.

According to T. Verhoeven of the Rotterdam municipality, such marriages appear weekly.  They register them on the basis of the law of conflicting laws of marriage.  Polygamous marriages are commonly recognized.  For them it's important if the documents are authentic and if the spouse is not Dutch, and not with Dutch citizenship, since then it's not allowed either.

Similarly to Amsterdam, Rotterdam doesn't have data about the number of bigamous or polygamous marriages.  According to the Amsterdam municipality there are such marriages there too, but they are not processed into the statistics.

Amsterdam instructs its civil servants when registering marriages to inspect marriages of convenience of exploitation of women and if need me calling in the police.  But that never happens, according to a municipality spokesperson.

The policy in Rotterdam is also to look for corruption.  Verhoeven says that in practice it rarely happens that a bigamous or polygamous marriage is rejected.

In the debate in parliament about homosexual marriage the possiblity of bigamous marriage was also debated.  The suggestion was abondanoned, also because such partnerships are already possible through a notary certificate.

Source: NRC (Dutch), h/t NRP

See also: Rotterdam: Man sent to jail for polygamy

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