Amnesty activists campaign in front of the House of Representatives, calling for the governments new legislation on non-consensual sex to be changed, Amnesty International states the new law will not offer more protection to victims.

Netherlands: ‘Historic victory’ as Dutch law adopts consent-based definition of rape

Responding to a vote by the Senate of the Netherlands for introducing a consent-based definition of rape into the country’s Sexual Offences Act, Dagmar Oudshoorn, Director of Amnesty International Netherlands, said:

“The Netherlands has taken the final step to change the outdated Dutch law and recognize that sex without consent is rape. This is an important move towards preventing and combatting sexual violence and improving access to justice for survivors.

“The passing of this bill into law is a historic step. It is a long-awaited victory for survivors of sexual violence and a testament to years of tireless campaigning by activists and survivor groups.”


Today the Senate voted to remove the requirement that rape must involve physical force, threat or coercion. The Netherlands will become the seventeenth country out of 31 European states analysed by Amnesty International to recognize that sex without consent is rape. The act will come into force on July the 1st 2024.

The vote passed with 73 votes in favour and 2 against. Together with hundreds of activists and an action group of women who experienced sexual violence, Amnesty International Netherlands has campaigned for a consent-based law for years.

Mireille, one of the women from the action group said: “After four years of campaigning, we finally have recognition. What we have experienced, now officially exists.”