FAQ's about the Treaties database

1. Does the Treaty Database contain the texts of treaties?

The Treaty Database only contains information on treaties, not treaty texts.

2. Where can I find treaty texts, including consolidated versions?

Treaty texts can be found in the Netherlands Treaty Series. Issues of the Treaty Series from 1951 onward can be accessed via www.officielebekendmakingen.nl.

Consolidated versions of the texts are available on the government website, http://wetten.overheid.nl. The Treaty Database provides links to the government website for treaties available in consolidated form. Currently, consolidated versions are available online of treaties published in the Treaty Series from 1951 onward, which were in force or entered into force on or after 1 January 2005. This date range will be gradually expanded to include treaties published in the Bulletin of Acts and Decrees before 1951 (the Netherlands Treaty Series was first published in 1951; before that date treaties were published in the Bulletin of Acts and Decrees). For more information see below.

3. What treaties does the Treaty Database contain information on?

The Treaty Database contains all relevant information on treaties to which the Kingdom of the Netherlands is party. This includes information on signing, ratification, acceptance, approval, accession, denunciation, territorial scope, declarations of continued adherence, the making or withdrawal of reservations, the making, amendment or withdrawal of declarations, and so on.

The Treaty Database covers:

  • all treaties published in the Netherlands Treaty Series since 1951 that apply to any part of the Kingdom;
  • all treaties published since 1945 that apply to Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and/or the Carribean part of the Netherlands. Of course, many of these treaties apply to the European part of the Netherlands as well;
  • all treaties for which the Kingdom acts as depositary.

At present, the database contains information on over 7,000 treaties, including all reservations, declarations and objections made after 1 January 2003. Even so, the database is not complete. Gradually, more and more older documents will be added.

For more information on the structure of the Kingdom of the Netherlands click here.

4. How up to date is the Treaty Database?

The content of the Treaty Database comes from Pacta, the internal treaty information system of the Treaties Division. Pacta is updated every day, and the new information is available in the Treaty Database after 8:00 the following morning.

The most recent treaty information is always promptly integrated into the database. For this information the Treaties Division is dependent on written and/or electronic notifications supplied by the depositaries. This means that there will always be a delay between the adoption of a change, the communication of the new information by the depositary, and the moment when this information is accessible on the Treaty Database. From time to time, certain information does not reach the Treaties Division; nor is it accessible online. This can lead to more serious delays and, in the most extreme case, the absence of a piece of new information regarding a treaty.

5. Can the information in the Treaty Database be re-used?

The information in the Treaty Database is not copyrighted.

6. What do the following terms mean?

Adoption

a treaty is adopted when all the parties involved in the negotiations agree on the text of the treaty. The parties may demonstrate their agreement through an exchange of notes or letters or by signing the treaty, a final act or a resolution.

Bilateral

describes a treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and one other party.

Bulletin of Acts and Decrees

reference to the year and number of the Bulletin of Acts and Decrees in which the act approving the treaty is published. Bulletins of Acts and Decrees dating from 1995 onward can be found on https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl.

Conclusion (date of .../ place of ...)

reference to the date on which the treaty was signed and the place where it was signed, respectively.

Consolidated texts

‘consolidation’ entails integrating all amendments into the original texts. Each time a treaty is amended, a new issue of the Treaty Series will be published. If a treaty has been amended many times over the years, a reader would require several volumes of the Treaty Series to piece together the complete text. The online availability of consolidated treaty texts on the government website, http://wetten.overheid.nl gives the public access to the most up-to-date, complete text at a glance. Treaties available in consolidated form can be accessed via the links to the government website that have been added to the Treaty Database.

Declaration 

a declaration is a statement in which a party clarifies, for example, its interpretation of one or more of the treaty’s articles. Declarations made since 1 January 2003 are registered in the Treaty Database. All declarations related to treaties for which the Kingdom of the Netherlands is the depositary are registered.

Depositary 

the Treaty Database states for which treaties the Netherlands is the depositary. The depositary does the administrative work relating to the treaty. The text of a treaty establishes which state or international organisation is the depositary. The administrative work entails managing the data concerning its entry into force and expiry, the parties, and the reservations, declarations and objections.

Entry into force

the text of the treaty specifies when the treaty will enter into force. Multilateral treaties are usually intended to enter into force as soon as a specified number of parties have consented to be bound by the treaty. A bilateral treaty enters into force as soon as both parties have consented to be bound by the treaty.

Expiry

the expiry date of a treaty is usually specified in the text. A treaty may be concluded for a fixed term. It is also possible for parties to denounce a treaty.

Extension

reference to the territory or territories of a state to which the treaty applies.

Kingdom (of the Netherlands) 

The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of four parts: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Curaçao and Sint Maarten enjoy internal self-government within the Kingdom, like Aruba and the former Netherlands Antilles. A treaty is signed for the Kingdom as a whole, after which the individual parts of the Kingdom decide whether the treaty should be effective for them. In practice the term "the Netherlands" is often used where the Kingdom of the Netherlands is actually meant. For more information click here.

Multilateral

describes a treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and two or more other parties.

Netherlands Treaty Series

reference to the Treaty Series year and number in which the treaty text and data are published. The Database does not contain treaty texts, but does list a number of places where they can be found and provides links to the relevant issues of the Treaty Series.

Objection

a party may object to a reservation or the accession of another party. The depositary state or organisation registers the objections and forwards them on. Objections lodged since 1 January 2003 are registered in the Treaty Database. All objections concerning treaties for which the Kingdom of the Netherlands is the depositary are registered.

Parliamentary paper 

reference to the relevant parliamentary proceedings. Parliamentary Papers dating from 1995 onward can be found on https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl.

Party

a state or international organisation that has consented to be bound by the treaty.

Provisional application 

a state may give effect to provisions of a treaty before they have entered into force.

Ratification

usually, after a treaty is adopted, states are required to complete a number of national procedures before they can consent to be bound by the treaty. All states have their own procedures and their own names for those procedures. In the Netherlands, treaties must be approved by parliament. After approval is granted, states notify the other parties that they consent to be bound by the treaty. This is called ratification.

Relations (Relationship with other treaties)

the overview describes the relationship between the treaty concerned and other treaties. A ‘parent treaty’ is the original treaty that is replaced, amended, supplemented, implemented, expanded or continued by another treaty. A ‘successor treaty’ ('child convention') is the treaty that replaces, amends, supplements, implements, expands or continues the original treaty.

Reservation 

a reservation is a declaration by which a state purports to exclude certain provisions of the treaty in their application to that state. Reservations entered since 1 January 2003 are registered in the Treaty Database. All reservations related to treaties for which the Kingdom of the Netherlands is the depositary are registered.

Termination

Title

the title of the treaty is given in Dutch and English.

Treaty number 

Each treaty in the Treaty Database has been given a unique identification number. This unique identification number can also be found on the details page and in the bread crumb trail for the treaty concerned. The treaty number may also be used to deep link to the treaty. For more information see question 7

Treaty Series

Treaties are officially published in the Netherlands Treaty Series (Tractatenblad). The full texts are not in the Treaty Database, which only indicates a treaty’s location (i.e. the relevant volume of the Treaty Series).
The Treaty Series is an official publication of the Dutch government. It publishes treaty texts and information on treaties to which the Kingdom is bound or to which the government would like to accede. The Treaty Series, which began publication in 1951, can be consulted online by clicking on the ‘officiële publicaties’ section of overheid.nl, the official website of the Dutch government.

Type 

this refers to the different ways parties can be bound by a treaty.

7. Is there an easy way that I can deep link to treaties in the Treaty Database?

Yes, there is an easy way to deep link to specific pages concerning a treaty. The deep link is composed of the website’s url and the treaty number: http://www.minbuza.nl/treaties/+treaty number. This unique identification number can also be found on the details page and in the bread crumb trail for the treaty concerned.

For example, the deep link to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950 (treaty number  005132) is: http://www.minbuza.nl/treaties/005132

8. Does the Treaty Database contain information on Memorandums of Understanding (MoU)?

No. A Memorandum of Understanding is not a treaty, but rather a written policy agreement between governments, ministers, other public authorities or international organisations. Such agreements are binding only politically and morally.