Visiting a notary just became more expensive. But only for non-Dutch

Every notary in The Netherlands is subject to disciplinary rules and we all follow the rulings of the disciplinary court. Recently the Gerechtshof in Amsterdam, which is the highest and therefor final institution to decide, gave a ruling that will have an impact on all expats in The Netherlands.

The case
There is a specific law that governs all the doings of notaries; this is the so called “Wet op het notarisambt”.

In article 42 of this law, the lawmaker in The Hague has laid down the rule that a deed by a Dutch notary must be drawn up in Dutch. It is also embodied in this law that if a signatory to the deed does not understand Dutch sufficiently, a translator must be present when the deed is signed. This is to make sure that a brief translation of the deed can be made when all parties concerned are present for the signing of the deed and therefor can understand what the deed entails.

The Gerechtshof had to decide how to interpret this article in a situation where the Dutch notary had drawn up the deed in Dutch for a non-native speaker. This person didn’t speak Dutch, but was fluent in English. As was the Dutch notary.

The notary had not called for a translator to be present, as the notary gave a synopsis in English of the deed to his client before the deed was signed by the client and the notary.

The Gerechtshof decided that this was not the way to handle things. If the law calls for a translator to be present, then the notary should stick to the law. Being able to talk his client through the deed because the notary is a fluent English speaker, as is his client, is just not good enough according to the judges.

Conclusion
The Dutch are sometimes known for the ease with which they apply the rule of law. An example of which is the gedoog-beleid that makes the sale of small amounts of cannabis in the world (in)famous coffeeshops possible (although factually illegal).

But unfortunately the judges in Amsterdam where not so lenient when it comes to notaries, deeds drawn up in Dutch and foreigners. Since the law stipulates that a translator must be present when not all signatories to the deed are (native or fluent) Dutch-speakers, having a translator present is obligatory. No gedoog-beleid here.

Unfortunately this means that for foreigners, like yourself, a visit to a Dutch notary suddenly has become more expensive. Not only do you have to pay the fee for the notary, but all of a sudden also that of the obligatory translator.

Fortunately I can still talk with you and give you my advice without the presence of a translator. He or she must only be present when a deed is signed.

Mr Ernst Loendersloot LL.M., Sr kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Mr Ernst Loendersloot LL.M., Sr kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Mr. Ernst Loendersloot
kandidaat notaris te Maastricht
Telefoon 043-3509950.

 Print version.

TO LEGALISE OR NOT ? THAT WAS MY QUESTION. part 2

Dear reader,

In my last column I told you about legalizing documents or “legaliseren” of your signature by a Dutch notary.

I ended by stating in short the difference between the two. But that is usually not were it ends for you. You probably will need an Apostille or even more.


Apostille: short or long way

In either case the fact that a Dutch notary has to be sworn into office and is appointed by the Dutch King, should be proof enough that everything is correctly executed. But sometimes this is not enough.

In which case you need to go to the nearest courthouse. There, the court-officials will attach an extra document. In this document, the presiding judge will declare that the signature placed by the notary is indeed the latter’s signature.
(you can say that the notary’s signature is now “gelegaliseerd” by the court).

Usually that is enough because of the Apostille Treaty. Signatory-counties to this treaty need to accept the court declaration and the signature of the judge. So this is the short Appostille-method.

But not all countries have signed this treaty. If you need to send the documents to one of those non-signatory countries, you must take extra action.

From the courthouse the document needs to go to The Hague. There it must usually be presented at the Ministerie van Justitie. The civil servants of this ministry will place an extra text on the document and declare that the signature placed by the judge is indeed the signature of the judge.

After you’ve got this extra declaration, you sometimes must then go to the Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken. The civil servants working there will sign off on the fact that the previous signature was put there by the Minister van Justitie.

After having gotten this declaration, you must ultimately go to the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, which will ad the final Dutch declaration that the last person signing was the Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken.

And just to finish everything, you must then proceed to the embassy in The Hague of the recipient country. The ambassador will then ad the final text. This is (you might have guessed) that the signature of the Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken is indeed his. Thereby completing the whole “chain link” from the signature of the Dutch notary to the only reliable one (in the eyes of this foreign state). I.e. that of their ambassador to The Netherlands.

(Sometimes you can go directly from the Ministerie van Justitie to the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, bypassing the Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken or to the embassy. Make sure you check with embassy officials before going to The Hague).

So if you need to have a document or your signature legalized, make sure that you know if you can follow the short route or need to take the extra time and drive the extra miles to The Hague and all the ministries.

On my site (www.ntrs.nl) you can subscribe to my free newsletter. You will receive an email with my latest columns or legal news.

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Mr. Ernst Loendersloot, Senior kandidaat notaris te Maastricht. Fotograaf: Bert Beelen

Mr. Ernst Loendersloot, Senior kandidaat notaris te Maastricht. Fotograaf: Bert Beelen

 

TO LEGALISE OR NOT ? THAT WAS MY QUESTION. part 1

Dear reader,

I don’t think I am anywhere near the Great Bard, but I think I can use a changed version of the famous quote by William Shakespeare.

As a trained legal practitioner I know how important it is to use the correct wordings and what great consequences incorrect wording can have. But that this can be double so when speaking in a foreign language was brought home to me by a request from an employee of the UnitedWorldCollege in Maastricht.


Can you legalize some documents ?

I was asked this question and immediately said yes. But when my client came to the office, I discovered that I had made a wrong presumption.

A Dutch notary uses the term “legalisatie”. This sounds almost the same as “to legalize”. But it means different things. And since you might one day need a notary to legalize something, I think it is useful if I tell you a bit more on this subject.


Legalisatie is not to legalize but means copy collationnee

If you want to legalize a document, this means that a Dutch notary will make a copy of the original document and then will write some text of his or her own on the copy, place his seal of office and sign the copy. This procedure is called: copy collationnee and means that the Dutch notary makes a true copy of the original document.

By doing this, through the power invested by the Dutch King in the notary, it is made clear that the copy is the same as the original document. So a copy collationee are the words you use with a Dutch notary when you need to have a document legalized.

This gives you the advantage that you keep the original document and can sent the copy abroad if required to do so (say a graduation diploma when applying for a post-graduate course in another country).


So what does the Dutch “legalisatie” mean ?

An understandable question since the Dutch notaries use the Dutch word “legalisatie”. When a Dutch notary uses this word he or she means that it is your signature that will be legalized, not the document which you sign.

A Dutch notary will ask you to sign the original document in his or her presence and then will ad a special text after your signature and his or her seal of office and then will sign this original document too. In the text added by the notary it states that you have indeed signed the original document and by interference that you did so of your own free will  and without having second thoughts.

So instead of getting a true copy for you to send away, you receive the original document back to put in the mail. But there can be no doubt that it is indeed your signature on this original document.


Why choose one above the other ?

You ask the Dutch notary for a copy collationnee if you yourself don’t have to sign a document, but need only a copy of one.

If on the other hand you need to sign an official document, you must ask for you signature to be “gelegaliseerd”.

On my site (www.ntrs.nl) you can subscribe to my free newsletter. You will receive an email with my latest columns or legal news.

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Civil law notary is not a notary public. What does a Dutch notary do ?

Dear reader,

Every country has it’s own way to organize things. And if you move from one country to another you may notice that sometimes a (legal) term may seem familiar, but means something different on the other side of a border.

This is certainly true for the term “notary”. Therefor I would like to explain the responsibilities of a civil law notary in The Netherlands because these are very different from those of a notary public in for example America or Great-Brittain.

I am referring you to the Dutch national organization of civil notaries in the Netherlands (Royal Civil Notaries’ Professional Organization, abbreviated KNB). This organization was founded based on the Civil Notaries’ Act. This law also describes the duties of a civil notary in The Netherlands.

I quote the English language version of KNB’s website:

Society is composed of people with varying and sometimes competing interests. Agreements are needed in order to ensure that business between them can be conducted smoothly. What is also needed is an independent official to record such agreements. This is the notary (or junior notary).

It must be underlined that Dutch notaries are civil law notaries, meaning that they are fully qualified legal professionals, and thus entirely distinct from the profession of notary public in the United States and other common law countries.

(Source: http://www.notaris.nl/english/the-notary)
More simply said: without a deed drawn up and signed by a civil notary, no real property or registered boats and ships, and planes can be transferred in the Netherlands.

Also, most agreements that are recorded in a deed with a civil notary may be executed without the intervention of a judge. Within the European Union (EU) it is actually under discussion whether the office of Civil Notary should be restricted to persons who are citizens of the country in question, because in that respect a civil notary is comparable to a judge. Such a requirement may certainly be demanded of judges according to EU rules, since this touches on the functioning of the State.

In order to become a civil notary, people need to successfully complete a four-year full time education for notarial lawyer at a Dutch university. After that, they have to do a three-year, part-time post-doctoral study. In the first and in the third year, an examination is administered which handles all study materials.

After that, one still needs to be appointed as public official by the Queen. This appointment is not forthcoming if one has not spent at least 6 years full-time in the notarial business. A positive decision by an Expert Commission is also required and such decision will under no circumstances be made if there is any (criminal) suspicion as to this person.

Even after being appointed civil notary, the office can be revoked if a notary violates the rules. Such a civil notary is then dismissed from the office by the Queen. For example, this is the case if the civil notary acts in any way that damages the notarial office’s honor or respect.

Moreover, the civil notary is under oath of secrecy and has the right to remain silent. Also when faced with investigative officers such as the police or tax inspectors.

Only in exceptional circumstances, the civil notary may pass on to these agencies what he/she discussed with clients. An example would be laundering criminal monies.

(Ps. This article was part of a legal opinion I wrote for a court in New York. I thought this introduction into what the difference is between an Dutch civil law notary and an American notary public, would be of interest to you.
Therefore I copied this part of the opinion.
I wrote the article in Dutch and an official translation was made. Any faults in grammar, syntax or other use of English are not mine)

Mr. Ernst Loendersloot
Senior kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Telefoon 043-3509950.

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Ernst Loendersloot - senior kandidaat notaris Foto: Harry Heuts

Ernst Loendersloot – senior kandidaat notaris Foto: Harry Heuts

VAT lowered. Beware when renovating your home !

Dear reader,

My first article for United World College had as subject the raising of the VAT tariff from 19% to 21%.  So it seems fitting that I now tell you about the lowering of the VAT tariff.


VAT Tariff lowered to 6% when renovating your home

Recently the Dutch government decided to lower the tariff for the VAT to 6%. This is good news, but there are some points I would like to adress. And I will do so hereafter in a pragmatic style using bullit points. 

  • The lower VAT tariff only applies to the hours billed to you by the builders.
    On the materials used by the builders you still have to pay 21% VAT.
    The government published a list giving a set differentiation between the costs of material and labor used for specified projects.

    E.g. replacing the heating in your home means that a quarter of the costs can be attributed to labor and the rest are costs for materials used.
    So only on 25% of the total costs you will be charged 6% VAT. On the rest you still pay 21%.

    Deviations are possible but your builder has to document everything he or she does.

  • The lower VAT tariff of 6% on labor costs only applies if the house is over two years old.
    This seems logical since otherwise you start renovating a newly built home,
    but it seems wise to mention it.
  • The lower tariff applies to all work done between March 1st 2013 and February 28th 2014.

    But here is an interesting thing. If the work started before March 1st 2013
    but ended on or after this date, the lower VAT tariff also applies.

    If you decide to renovate at the end of 2013 or the start of 2014 beware:
    when the job is finished on or after March 1st 2014,
    the lower tariff cannot be used. You have to pay 21% on all the labor costs even on the work the builders did before that date !

    So make sure that in your contract with the builder is a penalty clause to make him or her finish on time. Otherwise you will be the one left holding the bucket !

  • The work undertaken by your builder must be to renovate or restore a home.
    If you decide to have the builder erect a new home that did not exist before, you have to pay 21% on all labor costs.

    So if for example you decide to take in your aging parents and contract with a builder to either build a new home for them on your property or rebuild your garage into a (completely separate) home, beware:
    you pay 21% on all labor costs.

    If you want to extend your home by putting the kitchen in your garage, then the lower VAT tariff also does not apply.

I hope to have given you some insight in the new rules concerning the lower VAT on labor costs.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Mr. Ernst Loendersloot
kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Telefoon 043-3509950.

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KNB congres, niet lachend

Mr. Ernst Loendersloot, Sr. kandidaat notaris te Maastricht.
Fotograaf: www.lauradehaanfotografie.nl

Three Day Cooling Off period. III

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Small recap

This is the third of three articles regarding the Three Day Cooling Off Period.

In the first article I told you a bit about what the cooling off period means for you as a buyer and what requirements must be met for you to be able to invoke it.

The second article went deeper into the fact that the agreement to buy a house must be in writing. If the house concerned is the one you are going to live in, this means that there are actually no obligations for you to buy this real estate or pay damages if the agreement was only reached orally.


Can the seller of a home also invoke the Three Day Cooling Off Period
and/or does the seller also have no obligations unless the agreement is in writing ?

In this third article I would like to give you the answer to the question stated above.

The cooling off period was introduced into Dutch law per September 1st 2003. As mentioned in my first article it was incorporated in article 2 of Book 7 of the Dutch Civil Code. (Abbreviated as: Artikel 7:2 BW)

If you read that article you will find that it does not mention any rights for a seller (in Dutch: verkoper) to invoke the cooling off period. The word “verkoper” is not used, only the word “koper”. Which is the Dutch word for “buyer”.

On December 9th 2011 the Hoge Raad, the highest civil court in The Netherlands, pronounced a verdict in an interesting court case. And this verdict is very relevant in answering the question whether you can invoke the Three Day Cooling Off Period if you are not buying a home, but selling your home instead.


The answer is: No or actually Yes. You can !

If you already lived some time in Holland you will probably recognize a Dutch treat in the answer given above. It stems from having rules and then not sticking to them (and certainly not to the letter). In the end you get a situation were even government agencies start “te gedogen”.

In this important case decided by the Hoge Raad, the judges did not give a new interpretation to the wordings of artikel 7:2 BW. They could hardly do so since the words are clear: no mentioning of “sellers”.

So at first it seems as if the answer must be:
No, the seller is not entitled to invoke the cooling off period.

Instead the Supreme Court decided that the intention of the lawmakers was to make sure that a contract of sale of a house is only valid if it is in writing and is signed by all parties concerned.

And because of this the judges stated that no one is bound by any agreement orally reached. This effectively means that the seller is only obliged to transfer ownership of his or her home if the buyer has signed the contract of sale.

Therefore, the answer to my question must be:
Yes, the seller of his or her home also has a kind of Cooling off period.

But this does not end three days after signing the contract of sale (as it does for the buyer). Instead it (only) ends after the seller has signed the contract. And that can be at any time after an oral agreement has been reached. So the seller can actually decide for his or her self when the cooling off period ends for him or her (and the Three Day Cooling Off Period starts for the buyer) by postponing signing of the contract.


Warning

I must warn you though that this only works if artikel 7:2 BW applies to the situation. So check my first article and look over the requirements mentioned there.

In general you can say that if the house that is on the market is your own (i.e. you live there while it is being sold) and the buyer wants to move in after having bought it, the buyer is entitled to the Three Day Cooling Off Period. Whereas you, as the seller, have the right to refuse to sign the contract without having to pay damages.

There is one caveat though. The Hoge Raad also ruled that if the buyer already has incurred cost, for instance by hiring an appraiser to value the house with the view of asking for a bank loan, under certain circumstances the seller must reimburse these costs.

Ernst Loendersloot, senior kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Ernst Loendersloot, senior kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Visiting a notary just became more expensive. But only for non-Dutch

Every notary in The Netherlands is subject to disciplinary rules and we all follow the rulings of the disciplinary court. Recently the Gerechtshof in Amsterdam, which is the highest and therefor final institution to decide, gave a ruling that will have an impact on all expats in The Netherlands.

The case
There is a specific law that governs all the doings of notaries; this is the so called “Wet op het notarisambt”.

In article 42 of this law, the lawmaker in The Hague has laid down the rule that a deed by a Dutch notary must be drawn up in Dutch. It is also embodied in this law that if a signatory to the deed does not understand Dutch sufficiently, a translator must be present when the deed is signed. This is to make sure that a brief translation of the deed can be made when all parties concerned are present for the signing of the deed and therefor can understand what the deed entails.

The Gerechtshof had to decide how to interpret this article in a situation where the Dutch notary had drawn up the deed in Dutch for a non-native speaker. This person didn’t speak Dutch, but was fluent in English. As was the Dutch notary.

The notary had not called for a translator to be present, as the notary gave a synopsis in English of the deed to his client before the deed was signed by the client and the notary.

The Gerechtshof decided that this was not the way to handle things. If the law calls for a translator to be present, then the notary should stick to the law. Being able to talk his client through the deed because the notary is a fluent English speaker, as is his client, is just not good enough according to the judges.

Conclusion
The Dutch are sometimes known for the ease with which they apply the rule of law. An example of which is the gedoog-beleid that makes the sale of small amounts of cannabis in the world (in)famous coffeeshops possible (although factually illegal).

But unfortunately the judges in Amsterdam where not so lenient when it comes to notaries, deeds drawn up in Dutch and foreigners. Since the law stipulates that a translator must be present when not all signatories to the deed are (native or fluent) Dutch-speakers, having a translator present is obligatory. No gedoog-beleid here.

Ernst Loendersloot, Sr kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Ernst Loendersloot, Sr kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Unfortunately this means that for foreigners, like yourself, a visit to a Dutch notary suddenly has become more expensive. Not only do you have to pay the fee for the notary, but all of a sudden also that of the obligatory translator.

Fortunately I can still talk with you and give you my advice without the presence of a translator. He or she must only be present when a deed is signed.

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COOLING OFF PERIOD WHEN BUYING YOUR HOME. PART II

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In my last article I mentioned that you are entitled tot the Three Day Cooling Off Period if you buy a new home. But there is more to article 2 of Book 7 of the Dutch Civil Code (artikel 7:2 Burgerlijk wetboek) and I would like to provide you with a few more details.
AGREEMENT MUST BE IN WRITING

When all the requirements (as mentioned in my previous article) are met, then the agreement reached between you and the seller must be put down in writing (in Dutch: koopcontract).
Otherwise there is no agreement to buy !

If there is an estate agent acting on behalf of the seller, he or she will usually draw up the contract of sale and present it to you for signing.

But this can also be done by a notary or even by the buyer and or seller themselves. This I don’t recommend by the way.


COOLING OFF PERIOD ONLY BEGINS AFTER THE BUYER HAS RECEIVED THE SIGNED CONTRACT

Article 7:2 Civil Code states that only when the contract of sale is signed by both seller and buyer and a copy has been given to the buyer, does the clock start ticking. As of that moment the buyer has three days to withdraw from the contract without damages.

So the contract has to be signed by both parties and even then the cooling off period does not begin. The clock really only starts ticking after the buyer has received this (doubly-)signed contract !

In order to make sure that everyone knows when the buyer received the contract signed by both the seller and the buyer, the estate agents ask the buyer to sign an extra form. That is the receipt.

The Cooling Off Period starts as of midnight following the date of receipt. This period lasts three whole days and includes all days of the year with the exception of sundays and all official holidays (such as both Christmas ays). This does not include Carnival, because it is not an official holiday even if almost no one in Maastricht works during this festival.


OPTING OUT DURING THE COOLING OFF PERIOD MUST BE DONE IN WRITING

I must warn you though. Signing a contract of sale concerning a house in The Netherlands where you want to live and signing for its receipt only can be undone during the cooling off period, which lasts only three days.

Even then you have to take care that your opting out must be done in writing !

If you sent the letter too late (i.e. it is received by the seller after the three day period) or if you do it orally and not in writing, you are obligated to keep your end of the deal and pay for the home (or pay damages to the seller).


WHERE TO GO FOR INFORMATION ?

You can enlist the help of professionals when looking for a home to buy.

Choose an estate agent to help and he or she will look after your interests.

If you decide not to use an agent of your own, go to a notary before placing a bid. A Dutch notary is obliged to give you sound legal advice and will help you with all the documents the estate agent employed by the seller will draw up.

So if you have any questions, please contact me.

Mr. Ernst Loendersloot
kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Telefoon 043-3509950.

COOLING OFF PERIOD WHEN BUYING YOUR HOME. PART I

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COOLING OFF PERIOD WHEN BUYING YOUR HOME
Part I

Have you heard the story of the man or woman who was at an auction of very expensive paintings by Van Gogh, Matisse and Renoir ?

He or she almost sneezed and could only prevent this from happening by squeezing his or her noose.
But the auction master thought it was a bid and sold a painting to this highest bidder.
So this unfortunate onlooker ended up having to pay several millions that he or she did not have for a painting he or she did not want.

I think this story is an urban myth because no sane auction master working at one of the renowned auction houses such as Sotheby’s would do this. Imagine what reputation damage would ensue if after the auction the newspapers would report that the sunflowers by Van Gogh were in fact not sold to the highest bidder since this person did not actually place a bid.

WHY YOU CAN PLACE A BID ON YOUR NEW HOME WITHOUT THINKING TWICE

This urban myth about how you can accidentally end up buying something, gives me a nice intro into the workings of article 2 of Book 7 of the Dutch Civil Code (artikel 7:2 Burgerlijk wetboek or art. 7:2 BW).

The Dutch parliament adopted this article several years ago in order to protect prospective buyers of homes against rashly bidding on a new home. At that time the Dutch housing market was a “sellers market”. If you wanted to buy a new home, you almost had to bid for it without even having seen it. Otherwise some one else would place a bid more quickly than you and you would end up without a home.

To prevent unknowing consumers to buy something like a new home without having had time to check it out or have it inspected by knowledgeable  advisors, a new rule was instituted:

A Three Day Cooling Off Period (in Dutch: Drie Dagen Bedenktijd).

Under this rule anyone buying a home can place a bid. If it is accepted, the bidder still has three days to rethink and retract his or her offer without having to pay any damages to the seller.

So you can place a bid for your new home without running any risks !


BUT ONLY IF ALL THESE REQUIREMENTS ARE MET

In article 7:2 Civil code some explicit conditions are mentioned which must be met. And through the interpretations of the Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad in The Hague) we know a bit more about these conditions.

So please read the following  carefully before making a bid.

  • it must be an existing home
    or it must be a so called “bouwkavel” on which the seller will build your new home to the specifications in the koop-/aannemingsovereenkomst
    (if the object is a garage or office space, then it is deemed commercial property and you are not an unknowing consumer who needs protection)
  • the home concerned must be situated in The Netherlands;
  • it must be a home where you have the intention of living and the seller must be aware of this intention
    (otherwise you are again not deemed to be an unknowing consumer worthy of protection)
    (if you want to buy a house where your son or daughter is going to stay while studying away from home, you can not claim to be buying this home to live in yourself)

TO BE CONTINUED

Ernst Loendersloot - senior kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Ernst Loendersloot – senior kandidaat notaris te Maastricht

Tax deductable gifts. Column for United World College Maastricht.

TAX DEDUCTABLE GIFTS

Column 133, United World College, Tax deductable gifts

Dear Readers,

My two previous columns might have taxed you a bit, since both concerned Dutch tax laws and turned into a lecture. This was because I was not sure how much pre-existing knowledge you had on the subjects.

In this column I will use the upcoming Holiday season to point out that you can get a tax-break by donating money.

I will also use it to promote two projects in which I have a personal interest.

But I will also give you a memorable musical experience, since that is what you do at X-mas:
give something precious to others.


GIVING MONEY AWAY CAN LEAD TO TAX REDUCTION

If you pay income tax in The Netherlands you may not be aware of the possibility to reduce the amount of taxes you pay to the Belastingdienst, by donating money. If you make use of the tax regulations in a certain way, you can get a refund of up to 52% of the money you donate.

For this to happen without limitations you need to choose a certified institution which will receive your donations. If the institution of your choice was given the certification by the Belastingdienst, it can be found in a list kept by the government and the institution will have the so called ANBI-designation.

(ANBI is the abbreviation of: Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling, roughly translatable as: General or Good Cause Enhancing Institution).

If you simply donate money to this ANBI institution part of your donation will never be refunded by the Belastingdienst. To make optimal use of the refund scheme you need to sign a deed with your notary in which you undertake to donate every year the same amount for at least five years in a row.

Since in general the ANBI will pay for the deed, every ANBI has chosen its own notary office to draw up the deeds. This does not mean that if you would like to support the Butterfly Association in Wageningen you will have to go there to sign the donation deed. This can be done by proxy and all you need to do is fill in a power of attorney, sign it and sent it to the Butterfly Association. Their notary will draw up your donation deed and have an employee sign it on your behalf.

If you decide to do this, you can claim a tax-refund for your gift for the next five years. This means that depending on how much income tax you have to pay in The Netherlands, you get up to 52% back of the money you donate to the ANBI.

OUR NOTARY OFFICE AND TWO SPECIAL FUNDS
(THE ADVERTORIAL)

Our office has assisted and will keep on assisting two specific ANBI’s by drawing up the donation deeds for (almost) free.

These two ANBI’s are the University of Limburg in Maastricht (more specific the SWOL fund) and the DESNA foundation.

Because of this I have been interviewed for the Maastricht University Magazine. So for general information I suggest you read their article.

Let me tell you a bit more about a specific Lecture Chair the SWOL fund is trying to raise enough money for. I hope after reading you will decide to donate money towards the endowment of this chair.

Otherwise there is the possibility of contributing towards music and culture by donating to the Desna foundation.


SWOL AND THE UNIVERSITY CHAIR FOR THE STUDY OF AND THE ADVANCEMENT OF CHILDREN’S HUMAN RIGHTS

When I was studying law at Maastricht University, I followed the lectures of Jan Willems, a professor at the university. He is championing the legal rights of children under international treaties.


Dr. J.C.M. Willems 

(Assistant Professor in International Law)

More specifically the human right of children to enjoy a normal childhood in which each child must be protected from serious harm by third parties or even their immediate family. Think of the prevention of child abuse but also the right to enjoy a healthy upbringing and good schooling.

In his opinion it is better for children if parents are helped in this regard even before their son or daughter is born.

On this he recently said: “Informing and assisting parents, and where unavoidable the initiation of child protection measures, should begin before birth rather than after a newborn baby has suffered brain and other developmental damage. This is better for both children and parents, but also saves a lot of money since life-long monitoring of multi-problem families and at risk youth by several welfare and governmental agencies can be avoided. Moreover, in my opinion this will greatly reduce the cost of physical and mental health care, special education, crime and welfare dependency.

(On a personal note:
I have written an article on a sad case here in Southern Limburg, where a two year old daughter was murdered by her mother who was afterwards judged to have been under psychological duress since giving birth and therefore was not sentenced to jail. If anyone wants to attempt to translate this article, please let me know.


Eileen Engels

My father was a gynecologist and, together with Eileen Engels, was one of the first doctors in The Netherlands to acknowledge that young mothers could experience a psychological trauma which is called Post Partum Depression. So you might say that I have a special interest in this legal subject).

Anyway:
Jan Willems hopes to be holding a new chair on the subject of Children’s Rights and the Prevention of Child abuse, and the SWOL-fund of the University welcomes endowments to turn this chair into a success.

Therefore I have the following “sales-pitch”.
If you want to contribute towards the endowment of this special chair in children’s rights and wish to make use of the tax benefits open to you under Dutch tax law: why not sign up to donate money towards this chair via SWOL for at least five years.

 If you want to do so you can contact me or Sandra van den Tillaard.


Sandra van den Tillaard

She is the fund-raiser at the University responsible (amongst more things) for the funding of the chair on Children’s Rights.

 
DESNA FOUNDATION AND BAYAN MUSIC


Board of Stichting Desna

But I have not finished yet with my “sales pitch”.

There is another ANBI that I want to draw your attention to.

It is the DESNA foundation and its aim is to let more people enjoy music by the Bayan-instrument and to preserve the musical heritage of the Ukraine.

The foundation has received donations up to € 25.000,-. And this money was wisely spent to pay for a completely new Bayan, built in Moscow.


The Bayan

Now the foundation has as its new short term goal the purchasing (or lending) of a van to transport recording- and performing-equipment within the Ukraine. If this can be achieved, it will help to record all the folk-songs that are still being performed in this country. Unfortunately the musicians who do so are all getting on in age and if nothing happens there will be no performers left in a few years time.

And if there are no recordings made, no one will know of this musical treasury anymore.

Of course you can donate money to this foundation in the same (tax deductable) way as towards the University Chair of Jan Willems. If you want to do so, let me know and I can assist in drawing up the donation-deed.

But you can also help in three distinctly other ways.

The first is by coming to one of the performances that Volodymyr Kurylenko is giving the next couple of weeks in The Netherlands. Your entrance fee will be used to help the Desna foundation reach its goal of supporting the Ukrainian musicians.

But you can also ask Volodymyr to perform for you and your friends at your home or office. You pay a fee for this, but I can assure you that it will be an experience you will not forget. And your family and friends or business associates and co-workers won’t either.

And to finish: if you happen to know someone or a company in the Ukraine that can help by selling or lending a van that is in good working order, please contact the administration of the Desna foundation. This would be great news for them and all music lovers around the globe.

 

MY GIFT TO YOU:

I understand that during the Holiday season in December it is a good tradition to sing carols in the streets of the United Kingdom and elsewhere. If I were to do so, you would not enjoy the experience.

Therefore, and as promised, I have listed two sites where you can enjoy music performed by Ukrainian musicians on Bayan. I hope you will like my gift to you.


Volodymyr Kurylenko

 site of Volodymyr Kurylenko

 Lullaby for Eliana, Part I, II, III and IV

Please note that the Four Lullabies For Eliana were composed by the Ukrainian musician Artem Nyzhnyk who is also playing the Bayan in the four recordings you can watch on YouTube.

These four pieces were commissioned to celebrate the life of a very young girl called Eliana, who was born with a heart defect. Their parents were told by doctors on the East Coast of the USA that their daughter would be dead within one to two years. Luckily her parents were referred to Doc Hanley who is a heart surgeon on the West Coast and who operated on Eliana. This he did successfully and Eliana now enjoys life as any healthy young child.

But she will have to undergo several more open heart operations before her 18th birthday.


Astrid Walschot

Since both her parents, Will Stapp and Astrid Wallschot are musicians (violin and harp respectively) two of their friends commissioned the composition of the lullabies. Since they want to remain anonymous I was asked to be the go-between.

I wish you good health in the new year.

Sincerely,

Ernst Loendersloot

You can follow me on:
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@ernstloenderslo
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Ernst Loendersloot