Surviving your rights

When you’re in a foreign country and something goes wrong, it can be frustrating not knowing where you stand legally, and who you can turn to for help in asserting your rights.

Het Juridisch Loket

The legal counter provides all sorts of free legal advice on a variety of topics, from criminal and civil law to financial guidance and residency and immigration issues. They have a handy online database of template legal letters in Dutch that you can utilise. You can get advice in English over the phone, or visit one of 30 branches nationwide, the nearest ones are in The Hague and Rotterdam.

Wetswinkel Delfland

The law shop offers legal advice at Van Bleyswijckstraat 91 in Delft on Monday and Wednesday evenings between 18:30 and 20:30. “Our services are completely free. Everybody can visit us without an appointment, thus also TU students,” said Yaser Aziz, vice president and board member. It’s run by a team of law students and graduates voluntarily.


This is an online legal guidance website, good for getting a general idea of the solutions available to your problem.

National Student Union

The Dutch student union has a legal line for free advice on issues such as study finance, landlord issues and the negative binding study advice (BSA).

Rights at TU Delft

The Student Charter is a good starting point; it details all rights and duties of students to TU Delft and vice versa, including how the BSA is implemented. The Code of Ethics and the Teaching and Examination Regulations outline further rights and responsibilities. The Central Complaints Desk for students is managed by a team of student counsellors, and they’ll submit any complaints to those concerned requesting cooperation in finding a solution. If you’re unhappy with the result, you can contact the student ombudsman to act as an independent intermediary. Complaints involving inappropriate conduct, discrimination or intimidation are handled by confidential advisors.

Rental issues

Unreasonable rent increases? Landlord refusing to fix the leaky roof? “The Rent Committee is an independent, national organisation, that deals with disputes between landlord and tenant over rent price, maintenance and costs for services and utilities,” they stated. “A ruling by The Rent Committee is binding.” This government organisation can help resolve issues, and maybe even arrange a rent reduction for you.

Consumer rights

ConsuWijzer provides free information and advice on consumer related issues. Misleading and aggressive sales, guarantees, bills and payment, online purchases, and unwanted contracts and subscriptions are the five most common topics of complaint. “ConsuWijzer won’t solve your problem for you, but will give you clear advice to enable you to deal with it yourself,” they stated.

Public administration

Do you have a red tape complaint? “Public administration is here to serve all citizens of the Netherlands. One of its tasks is to make sure that legislation, regulations and admini-strative procedures are correctly implemented and applied. When this is not properly managed, however, conflicts may arise between you and the public administration. If this happens, you have the right to seek help (free of charge) from the Nationale Ombudsmen,” said the independent and impartial organisation.


You can report noisy neighbours, for example, or nuisances in public spaces to either the municipality or the police to deal with.

Sociaal Raadsliedenwerk

Social advisers provide free advice on laws and regulations relating to socio-legal or financial problems. They can assist you in submitting applications and appeals and filling out complicated forms.

Consulting a law firm

Plenty of law firms specialise in expats, and many offer a free initial consultation. Bear in mind that amongst one of the many insurance policies you hold in the Netherlands may be legal cover; it’s worth checking what you’ve already paid for.

This is an updated version of a previous Survival Guide article.

More about surviving The Netherlands and Delft:

Surviving rentals

Surviving emercency situations

Surviving the rain

Redacteur Redactie

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