What can the Institute do for you?

Do you have a question about human rights, or would you like to know if you can file your discrimination complaint to The Institute? Or would you like to know what other options are available?

The Institute can be contacted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on week days on 030-8883888 or by email to info@mensenrechten.nl. You cannot turn to the Institute with all individual complaints which may involve human rights. In many cases the Institute will refer you on to institutions which are able to assess such complaints.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, you can start a procedure at the Institute. As soon as your discrimination complaint is received the Institute will consider whether or not it can deal with the case. If so it will start an investigation. After the investigation there will be a hearing. The assessment will be sent to you within six months after submitting your complaint. This will tell you whether or not the Institute is of the opinion that discrimination has actually occurred. In the assessment the Institute may also make a recommendation on how to prevent discrimination in the future. This procedure is free of charge. If you wish to engage a lawyer however, costs will apply.

When can you start a procedure? The complaint should relate to discrimination issues in relation to school, living accommodation, shopping, work, going out or sport. In that case you may submit a complaint if you feel disadvantaged on account of:

  • your gender (man, woman, transgender)
  • pregnancy
  • your age
  • your religion
  • your sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual)
  • your racial origins
  • your nationality
  • your handicap or chronic illness
  • your civil status (married, in a registered partnership, neither of these)
  • working hours (full time, part time, permanent or temporary contract)
  • personal beliefs
  • political views


Sometimes an organisation itself, such as a school or business, is not sure about what is allowed or not allowed in relation to equal treatment. In that case you can submit your policy to the Human Rights Institute. The Institute then examines whether or not the policy is discriminatory. This is called an assessment of one’s own practice or regulation.

For further details see: