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Your loved one passed away abroad, what to do?

In this situation there is a lot to deal with. There is a lot that needs to be arranged to bring your beloved back home again, however far away from home they may be.

Can I contact you myself?

Anytime! We are reachable 24 hours a day via telephone number +31 (0)35 621 78 62.

Can I negotiate with local parties and sign agreements?

It is possible that you get in contact with local companies, like funeral companies and funeral transporters. We strongly advise you to NEVER sign a contract yourselves however. It can have adverse consequences and in most cases you are not able to submit any claims at a later time. Van der Heden I.R.U. can represent your interests and can act on your behalf from The Netherlands to ensure the best possible repatriation.

What is an autopsy?

An autopsy can either be a post mortem or dissection. In both cases it involves internal examination of the body of the deceased. This is done to determine the cause of death or possible signs of illness.

This takes place at a (hospital) mortuary. An autopsy is requested by a doctor (on behalf of the family). The family’s consent is always required.

A dissection is ordered by a court ruling and no consent from the family is needed. The prosecutor will request for this.

What is embalming and thanatopraxy?

There are certain conservation methods to slow down the natural decomposition process. They temporarily keep the body in good condition in order to make transportation possible. In any case, the first thing to do is to cool the body as soon as possible.

Conservation methods that are commonly used are embalming and thanatopraxy; another name for the same procedure. If the farewell takes place after the deceased was brought over, embalming is recommended. During transport by air, embalming is often even compulsory. Some airlines waive the obligation on the basis of religious beliefs.

Embalming is often done with the substance formalin. It is applied to the face or in the veins (the latter gives the best results). Depending on the country in which someone passes away, one of these two methods is applied. This can depend on local jurisdiction or the available options and resources.

Do I need to be insured to be repatriated?

No, that is not necessary. Usually repatriation is covered by your travel or health insurance. If the deceased is not insured, the costs will need to be covered by the family. It often happens that an insurance policy is not at hand. In this case Van der Heden I.R.U. can still start the repatriation however. In the meanwhile the policy can be retrieved and shown. In almost all cases, the insurer will then cover the costs. As we work for all alarm centres in The Netherlands, there is usually not a problem.

What does repatriation of a deceased cost?

Transport from surrounding countries in Europe, normally costs around € 1.500 to € 5.000. The costs increase with distance. Repatriations costing more than € 10.000 do not happen very often, but the costs are dependent on the country in which someone passes away and the circumstances. In most cases the insurance company covers the costs. The mentioned amounts are an indication, and no rights can be derived from these. Van der Heden I.R.U. will always send you a quote first. As soon as payment is processed, you are ensured of our service.

How will the deceased be brought home?

The deceased is transported in a so-called transport box. These are especially designed for this purpose. The box is often made of wood and has a metal inside for extra protection. For the official farewell, the family usually chooses a different and more stylish coffin.

Will the transport always take place by air?

No, for the transportation from surrounding countries we deliberately use a special transport vehicle with a built in cooling system. This vehicle with an experienced driver is sent your way as soon as possible. Most of the time we are able to do so within 60 minutes. If long distance transport is needed, this will take place by plane. The deceased will be transported in the cargo hold. Not every flight has enough space in the hold however.

How and when do I get home myself?

On the basis of laws and regulations, the deceased is always transported separately. Unfortunately during your journey home you cannot stay with your loved one. This is because passengers are transported in a different part of the plane.

We recommend therefore, that despite the sad circumstances, you get back home by yourself. This way you can prepare for the final farewell. Should you not be able to arrange for your journey back home, we can make you a proposition.

It is possible that you need to sign a few documents first at our local agent. We will inform you first if this is necessary. To be completely sure, you can call us first before you travel home.

Can you bring a deceased back to his homeland from The Netherlands?

Surely this is possible. Next to transportation from The Netherlands to another country, we can even organise the transportation between different countries.

Is funeral transportation from one foreign country to another possible?

Yes. Van der Heden I.R.U. is one of the few organisations that can take care of this.

What are exceptional circumstances?

Exceptional repatriations happen when people pass away on ships or in coastal waters. Or in case of the passing of a baby. In these cases, local laws and regulations (or the lack of these) can make everything very difficult. Also in case of reburials or exhumations. In these circumstances, it is best to get into contact with us as soon as possible, so we can arrange the repatriation according to your wishes.

Can you also take care of the funeral?

Of course we can also prepare for the funeral in The Netherlands and manage and lead the funeral for you, according to your wishes. Usually local funeral companies will take care of this, but you can also contact us to arrange this for you.

What is repatriation?

Repatriation is the return back to the homeland. When someone abroad passes away, a doctor will determine the time and place of death. After that the deceased can be looked after and the journey back home can start.

How long does repatriation take?

The distance and circumstances abroad determine how long repatriation takes. Usually it takes two to four workdays before departure can take place. Depending on regulations and procedures, weekends or bank holidays, the departure can sometimes be delayed.

Why is repatriation a speciality?

Every country has its own customs when it comes to death and all related matters. Sometimes there are even big differences between regions or cities within the same country. Correct transportation of a deceased from one country to another, needs the utmost care, attention and knowledge. There are only a few internationally recognised organisations that can offer this. Van der Heden I.R.U. is the most experienced and independent company to support you in this.

What happens if the deceased has a donor codicil?

In most cases, a local doctor or organisation to approve donation of the organs will contact you. If required, we can inform you regarding the possibilities in a specific location or country.

Which documents are needed for transportation?

If someone passes away abroad, specific documents are needed for repatriation. Please contact Van der Heden I.R.U. to make sure you get the needed administrative support and that everything is correctly processed. We offer you immediate help.

What happens to the documents of the deceased?

To make sure all administration is handled correctly, the passport or identity card of the deceased is required. The official documents will travel along with the deceased in a special envelope. The identity card or passport will often be confiscated by the local authorities and destroyed or sent on to the consulate or embassy of The Netherlands.

What does the embassy do when someone passes away abroad?

The Dutch embassy and consulates only support you in cases of emergency.
They will advise you but will not arrange for funeral transport. Van der Heden I.R.U. is familiar with the rules and regulations at consulates and often works together at the appointment of embassies and consulates.

Do you go abroad yourselves to arrange everything?

Depending on the country in which someone passes away, we make the necessary preparations ourselves onsite or have this done by our local partners. This way we can ensure the quickest and most secure solution in every situation. If needed, we can always travel to a specific location.

What happens at my arrival at Schiphol airport?

When you arrive at Schiphol, we can make sure you meet with one of our employees or a pastoral employee. We can also arrange transport for you to bring you back home. Should you and the deceased arrive at the same time, you can also opt to travel back home with the deceased.

What happens at the arrival of the deceased at Schiphol airport?

You and your relatives can meet the deceased at Schiphol. Your personal wishes determine the way the reception or ceremony will take place. There is a special but small ceremony room for this at Schiphol. It takes about 2 to 4 hours before the body of a deceased is released after arriving back at the airport.

Can I still see my loved one once back in The Netherlands?

If the repatriation proceeded without any delay, this is possible.

Can you offer extra care for the deceased after arriving in The Netherlands?

Thanks to our long-time experience we have proven methods to perfectly care for a deceased. This is important when saying final goodbyes. Besides cleaning and giving extra care to the deceased, we can also apply a final embalming. We can arrange for the correct hairstyle, complexion and make-up. The Van der Heden I.R.U. team is even equipped to take care of reconstructions. Abroad, this specialty care often leaves much to be desired.

Can I make an appointment for a personal meeting?

Of course. If you live or reside in The Netherlands, you can make an appointment and visit our office in Hilversum to discuss the repatriation of your loved one.

Can special wishes be carried out?

When preparing the repatriation of a deceased, we always take the specific wishes of the next of kin into consideration. Whether these are personal, cultural or on a religious basis.

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