When you find an object, you have to report the find as soon as possible. File a declaration with the municipality where you found the object. Did you find an object in a house, a building or a means of transport? In that case you must report it to the owner or user of the house, building or means of transport.
The object can be reclaimed by the owner during one year after the declaration. Thereafter it becomes the property of the finder. The year only starts as from the moment the property has been registered with the municipality. You can do this by contacting the relevant municipality and reporting the found property. It is important to first check if the property is registered as stolen. You can do this by visiting the following website: www.stopheling.nl.
You can always deposit the found object(s) with the municipality where you report them. In that case, ask for proof of declaration or detention. Do you decide to keep the object yourself? Then you must take care of the maintenance, so that the condition of the object does not deteriorate.
A finder who files a declaration too late or fails to do so, will only become the owner of his find after twenty years. If the owner reports within one year, the finder must return his find. He is then entitled to compensation and may keep his find until the owner has paid. If the owner does not pay within one month, the owner thereby forfeits his rights. The finder then becomes the owner.
For detailed information, we advise you to consult the Civil Code for the current Lost Property Regulations: (Civil Code, book 5, articles 5 to 12). This describes the rights and obligations of the finder and of the owner who has lost his or her property.
For a popular wording of this legislation, we refer you to our Lost Property Legislation page (Dutch only): https://ilost.co/nl/wetgeving-gevonden-voorwerpen.