By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

ROTTERDAM, August 14, 2008 ( – Two Dutch cities have instructed their marriage registrars to recognize polygamous marriages of immigrants that have taken place in countries where having more than one wife is permitted, such as Morocco.

Although polygamy is technically banned in the Netherlands, the marriages of Muslims who have several wives are now recognized by Dutch authorities in the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, reports the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Until now, registrars in the major cities had been recording the irregular marriages of immigrants, but the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS), where all marriages are registered nationally, has been removing these bigamous or polygamous marriages from its files, on the assumption that administrative errors had occurred, reports NIS News.

The city councils of Amsterdam and Rotterdam have informed the CBS that the marriage records are not a mistake.

CBS researcher Jan Latten told NRC Handelsblad that the CBS would study whether or not to recognize the bigamous and polygamous marriages. “We will now investigate whether this can be regarded as a trend that was previously not recognised. If this is the case, it is our task to report this.”

“At present, it is not included in our statistics,” Latten pointed out. “In the same way, we delete marriages involving fourteen-year-olds. A man with two wives just cannot exist by law.”

Rotterdam city council spokesman T. Verhoeven said that bigamous and polygamous marriages are registered regularly, though government employees must inform the Public Prosecutors’ Office (OM) if there is any suspicion of marriages of convenience or exploitation of women.

“They are simply acknowledged. It is important for us to check that the documents are authentic and that the husband does not have Dutch nationality. Otherwise the construction is illegal,” Verhoeven explained.

The Netherlands has for years pushed the boundary of what constitutes marriage, beginning with the decision to legalize homosexual “marriage” in 2001 – the first country in the world to do so. In 2005 the Netherlands entered heretofore uncharted territory when a Dutch man and two women were given a license for their three-way civil union.

In September, 2005 reported on the “co-habitation contract” entered into by the threesome.

The man claimed that the arrangement was justified because there is no jealousy. “There is no jealousy because both women are bisexual. If they had been both hetero, it would be more difficult.” The arrangement was given government sanction after it was confirmed before a notary who duly registered it as a legal civil union.

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