Conditions in reception facilities


Country Report: Conditions in reception facilities Last updated: 08/04/22


Dutch Council for Refugees Visit Website

Residents of a reception centre usually live with 5 to 8 people in one unit. Each unit has several bedrooms and a shared living room, kitchen and sanitary facilities. At the time of writing, there are no reports of serious deficiencies in the sanitary facilities that are provided in the reception centres. Residents are responsible for keeping their habitat in order.[1] Unaccompanied children live in small-scale shelters, which are specialised in the reception of unaccompanied children. They are intensively monitored to increase their safety (see section on Special Reception Needs).

Adults can attend programmes and counselling meetings, tailored to the type and stage of the asylum procedure in which they are. Next to this, it is possible for asylum seekers to work on maintenance of the centre, cleaning of common areas, etc. and earn a small fee of up to €14 per week doing this.[2] It is also possible for children as well as adults to participate in courses or sports at the local sports club. Children of school age are obliged to attend school. To practice with teaching materials and to keep in touch with family and friends, asylum seekers can visit the Open Education Centre (Open Leercentrum) which is equipped with computers with internet access. Children can do their homework here. There is supervision by other asylum seekers and Dutch volunteers.

AZC are so-called open centres. This entails that asylum seekers are free to go outside if they please. However, there is a weekly duty to report (meldplicht) in order for the COA to determine whether the asylum seeker still resides in the facility and whether he or she is still entitled to the facilities.[3] Some reception centres such as HTL, as well as centres for rejected asylum seekers, have a stricter regime. There have previously been some incidents and issues with asylum seekers. Other incidents are related to Dutch citizens protesting the establishment of a reception centre in their city.

Residents can use the MyCOA-application – available in 11 languages – to obtain extensive information on their stay in an AZC. For example, they receive a message when post arrives; they can obtain information on the job market in the Netherlands or regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

[1] For more information, see COA, House rules, available in Dutch at:

[2] Article 18(1) and (3) RVA.

[3] Article 19(1)(e) RVA.

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