Which customs checks can I expect when travelling to the Netherlands?

Are you travelling to the Netherlands by plane? All travellers and their luggage are checked by Customs upon arrival. You are obliged to cooperate with the checks. If you do not cooperate, you are guilty of a criminal offence.

How do we check you and your carry-on luggage?

We can check your carry-on and hold luggage with scanners or by opening your suitcase. We will also check you. We do this by scanning you and sometimes by searching you. This is when a customs officer examines your clothes and the contents of your pockets. If you want, this examination can take place in a separate room. During 100% checks, we use sniffer dogs.

For more information on what a 100% check is, see 100% checks.

Sometimes we will ask you questions

An interview is also part of the check. This is when we ask you questions such as: 'What is the purpose of your trip?' Or: 'How did you pay for your plane ticket?' You are obligated to answer the questions.

This is how we check your hold luggage

Checking your hold luggage after unloading the aircraft will be done without your presence. We are allowed to force any locks on your suitcase for this purpose. Use a so-called TSA lock to reduce the risk of damaging the lock. We have a special master key for this purpose. If we open your luggage without you present, we will let you know. For example, by means of a notice in your luggage.

More information

For more information about our jurisdiction read the Union Customs Code or the Algemene douanewet (only available in Dutch).

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