Disclaimer: This legal briefing is a guide. It is not a definitive statement of the law and does not cover all eventualities.

Your Human Rights: right to freedom of assembly, association, expression, free speech and conscience

  • 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, 1998 UN General Assembly Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and others
  • Grondwet (Dutch Constitution), art 9 – vrijheid van vergadering en betoging (freedom of assembly and demonstration)
  • Exceptions: public order/health/morals/safety, national security and in most cases, trafficClimate Laws
  • Over 1,500 climate laws and policies, including the binding 1992 Kyoto Protocal and 2015 Paris Agreement
  • Over 1,000 climate litigation cases all over the world


  • Below 18 – advise them to join the Students Climate March
  • 18 and above – with responsibility, knowing that there will be risk of arrest, encouraged to join XR-NL

National status

  • Dutch, non-Dutch, EU citizen, with a registered address – same rights as a native Dutch person as per EU laws
  • Non-EU – be cognizant of your actions (i.e. not a threat to national security, etc)
  • The principle of non-discrimination, enshrined in Grondwet, art 1 (the police are obliged to observe this principle)
  • Speak to an immigration lawyer for detailed questions

Information about Action

  • If inexperienced or unsure, inform the municipality about the “protest” (some actions don’t and it’s ok not to as well) – NOTE: this is not a request for permission
  • In principle, the city is there to “facilitate” this protest by ensuring that the police are there for your safety
  • Have a police liaison speak to the police about the action beforehand to inform them of how well-prepared the action will be are in terms of crowd management, risks, safety, etc – NOTE: this has worked really well for XRUK
  • Speak to a criminal lawyer about the details of the action and get feedback on the law and certain limitations
  • IMPORTANT: because of the unconventional nature of XR, ensure that actions are cloaked as a “protest”; e.g. a protest + street party and not just a stand-alone street party as it will not qualify as a “protest” and therefore not subject to the rights and freedoms (and protection) enshrined in law


  • Under Dutch law, it is compulsory to carry an ID at all times
  • To carry an ID or not during an Action will be determined by your experience, the overall group strategy and an understanding of how it can work or not work to one’s favour
  • No ID Pros: anonymity, possibly no fine, no record
  • No ID Cons: you’ll be at the discretion of the authorities, thumbprint and picture will be taken
  • ID Pros: you will only be detained for a maximum of 6 hours
  • ID Cons: fine for action committed and heavier fine for repeat offence, you will have a record (but it is IMPORTANT to note that it isn’t a criminal one – a criminal per definition is someone who’s been convicted as guilty in a court of law)

“No comment”

  • During action: if you’re not qualified to speak on behalf of the group, don’t
  • When arrested: if you say something incriminating, upon arrest, you would have waived your rights and anything you say can be held against you
  • During detention: the police will want to interview you, so tell them that you will only do so with your lawyer present


  • A warning will be given by the authorities to the group before they start the arrest
  • Do not run, do not resist arrest
  • You’ll be asked to identify yourself to which you should ask for your XR city lawyer (see below) and say nothing else (have lawyer info written on your body or make sure the stewards know that you’re being taken)
  • You’ll also be frisked for weapons
  • At the police station, you’ll be asked again to identify yourself and hand in your possessions


  • Detention with no ID: up to 12 hours (excl. the time between 00-09h), in which case, detention could last a max of 21 hours
  • Detention with an ID: up to 6 hours (excl. the time between 00-09h), in which case detention could last a max of 15 hours
  • But often, the police will release you before the time is up – they too want to go home, eat and rest

Fines and release

  • Fines can be imposed for not having an ID circa EUR 60 but this can also be EUR 0 if anonymity is kept
  • Possible fines for the action you were caught doing (e.g. trespassing, obstruction of traffic, criminal damage, etc) EUR 50 and above
  • If you’ve been ID-ed, you may receive an order to appear in court at a later date, in which case, communicate well with your lawyer

More info

REMEMBER Not all arrests lead to people being charged and not all charges lead to conviction (pronouncement of guilt by the court). Hence, one is only guilty and recognised as a criminal upon a guilty conviction.