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Dutch authorities now recognizing polygamous marriages contracted abroad

Dutch authorities have recognized the marriages of Muslims who have several wives even though polygamy is banned in the Netherlands.

While bigamous or polygamous marriages are prohibited in the Netherlands, registrars accept marriages contracted in countries where more than one wife is permitted, a Netherlands Information Services news bulletin says.

Local authorities register all the marriages of immigrants possessing several wives who settle in the Netherlands.

It is not known how common polygamy is in the Netherlands because the Central Bureau for Statistics removes bigamous or polygamous marriages from its files on the assumption the records were created through administrative errors.

Spokesman T. Verhoeven of Rotterdam’s city council said polygamous marriages are registered almost every week. “They are simply acknowledged. It is important for us to check that the documents are authentic and that the husband does not have Dutch nationality,” he explained, saying the registration of such marriages in Rotterdam is “practically never” refused.

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