Although polygamy is banned in the Netherlands, the marriages of Muslims who have several wives are recognised by Dutch authorities.
Registrars in the major cities, in particular, record dozens of bigamous or polygamous marriages per year. These marriages are prohibited and an offence in the Netherlands. However, polygamous marriages that take place in countries where more than one wife is permitted, such as Morocco, are accepted, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports.
If immigrants with several wives settle in the Netherlands, the local authorities register all the marriages. However, the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS), where all marriages are registered nationally, removes these bigamous or polygamous marriages from its files, on the assumption that administrative errors have occurred. As a result, it is not known how common the phenomenon is in the Netherlands.