Navigating the law in a foreign country can be stressful and confusing. Below is our edit of free or inexpensive services, providing answers to difficult legal questions and support in your time of need. Please note that The Wetwinkel, Rechtswinkel and Wijksteunpunt Wonen have an English webpage in addition to the Dutch one.

Rechtwijzer is an online legal guidance website. It is in no way a substitute for in-person legal advice. However, if you want to get a general idea of the solutions available for your problem then Rechtwijzer is a good starting point. The website covers the following jurisdictions: family partnerships, consumer issues, government body conflict, rent, resignation and debt management.

Juridisch Loket is probably the best-known service for free legal advice in Amsterdam and across the Netherlands. It is also your first stop for legal aid. The service is very comprehensive and covers work, housing, criminal and civil law, consumer rights, financial guidance, residency and immigration, social benefits, and accident and injury. They also offer a database of template legal letters in Dutch so that you can start the process yourself. 

The Wetwinkel began in the 1980s to cover the gap between serious legal issues and people who did not know how to navigate the law. Staffed by law students of the UvA, they specialise in rent issues, labour law, consumer rights, administrative law, and other civil issues (contracts etc.). They do not cover criminal, tax, personal, family, or inheritance law.

The Rechtswinkel has been providing free legal advice in Amsterdam since1972. They offer telephone advice and walk in clinics during the week. They specialise in labour, consumers, rent, personal and family and social security. They do not cover business advice or urgent legal matters.

Wijksteunpunt Wonen (WSWonen) gives tenants free information, advice, and support in the field of renting and living. WSWonen is an independent foundation. As well as individual advice, they also cover tenants’ rights across the city, ensuring that fair rents and best practice is adhered to. They have different offices for each district of the city.

EDITOR’S NOTE: All of these organisations provide the starting point for your legal research. If your issue is urgent or not covered by any of their jurisdictions, then we strongly recommend proceeding directly to a lawyer for assistance. Please ensure that you have read the article Legal Aid in the Netherlands for further information on how to proceed.

photo credit: Deborah Nicholls-Lee

Emmy Coffey McCarthy

Emmy McCarthy was the Director of Stichting Amsterdam Mamas. She is a Mama, Entrepreneur and Connector on a never-ending quest for balance in her life.