According to the Dutch government, The Netherlands is one of South Africa’s major trading partners. With Dutch business well-represented in the country, operating around the customs requirements of the two countries is critical. Please read below for the latest customs information when shipping to the Netherlands.

Essential Information

Sending items to the Netherlands – General Advice

For all shipments to the Netherlands, the following Customs ID numbers are required: EORI, Tax ID number.

Alert DHL if the shipment value exceeds the Advisory Value Limit (USD50,000.00). Undervaluation will lead to fines and delay of shipments.

Maximum parcel dimensions: length 120.0 cm (47.0 inches), height 160.0 cm (62.0 inches), width 100.0 cm (39.0 inches).

Maximum weight per shipment: 1,000.0 kg (2,200.0 lb). Maximum weight per piece: 1,000.0 kg (2,200.0 lb).

Non-standard Customs Services such as Multi-Line Entry clearance, Bonded Storage, Clearance Authorisation, Post Clearance Modification and Bonded Transit Documents are chargeable under standard billing terms and paid by the receiver. Proforma invoices are accepted.

To prevent clearance delays, mention the following information on the import invoice: Commodity Code (aka HS code), Incoterms®, and freight charges.

Shipments without authorisation can be returned to origin.


Prohibited items which cannot be sent under any circumstances to the Netherlands include:

  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Commercial shipments containing tobacco and tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, etc.) to private persons
  • Furs
  • Imitation and pirated products
  • Medicines for private persons

These are in addition to the following commodities which are not accepted by DHL under any circumstances. A list of these can be found here.


Restricted items

Please ask your local DHL Customer Service representative prior to shipping any of the following items:

  • Any items requiring phytosanitary and/or veterinary controls – including animal products and skins; plants and plant products; seeds; soil samples; and perishables
  • Dangerous goods, including hazardous or combustible materials; medical samples; perishables
  • NI cashier cheques (NI = a negotiable instrument – a document guaranteeing the payment of a specific amount of money, either on demand, or at a set time, with the payer named on the document).


Please note the following advice:

  • Drugs: non-prescription of non-EC origin (not sent to private persons): sender must provide prior approval from the Ministry of Health
  • Personal effects: state ‘personal effects’ on invoice. If the goods are part of a migration from a non-EU country, the sender must apply for a license from Dutch authorities to get a tax relief before shipping the goods. Expect clearance delays. The sender must provide inventory list with item value. More information about applying for the import license.
  • Shipments to hotel guests: must be sent under Incoterm DTP
  • Tobacco (not sent to private persons): companies need import permits to import tobacco products
  • Wigs and hair pieces: invoice must mention correct value and whether it concerns human hair or synthetic hair

Undervaluation will lead to fines.


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