Place of detention


Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 30/11/20


Dutch Council for Refugees Visit Website

In principle asylum seekers are not detained in prisons for the purpose of their asylum procedure. However, foreigners with psychological problems that are detained may be transferred to a specialised prison which offers psychological care.[1] This option is provided for in the Bill regarding the return and detention of aliens, which is still in the legislative process.[2] This is only possible when the detention centre cannot offer adequate care and on the condition the asylum seeker is kept separate from criminal detainees.


Even though asylum seekers are not detained with criminals or in prisons, the facilities managed by the Custodial Institutions Service (Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen, DJI) are very similar. During the border procedure, adults are detained at the Justitieel Complex Schiphol. They stay in a separate wing at the detention centre. Territorial detention takes place in Rotterdam for men and in Zeist for women and (families with) children.


The three centres have the following capacity.


Detention capacity in the Netherlands: 2019

Detention centre

Maximum capacity

Maximum capacity immediately available

Occupancy average

Oct – Dec. 2019




Not available




Not available




Not available




Not available


Source: DJI.[3] It should be noted that the number for Schiphol includes a section for criminal detention.


During the last months of 2018, there has been a drastic reshuffle between these three centres. As of September 2018, asylum seekers in border detention at Schiphol are transferred to the centre in Rotterdam after two weeks when the IND has rejected their asylum request within the border procedure. The capacity of the detention centre in Zeist has been reduced and is now dedicated to the detention of families with children and unaccompanied minors.[4] Women under territorial detention are placed in Rotterdam. As a result, most immigration detention takes place in Rotterdam since 2019.



[1]See e.g. CPT, Report of the visit carried out from 2 to 13 May 2016, CPT/Inf(2017) 1, 19 January 2017, 36.

[2]Bill regarding return and detention of aliens (2015-2016), 34309/2.

[3]DJI, Capacity and occupancy statistics, May- August 2019. available in Dutch at:

[4]More information is available in Dutch at:


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation