ABSTRACT

From a legal perspective, a child becomes an adult overnight. According to Dutch law, this happens when he1 turns 18, the Dutch age of majority. A child’s eighteenth birthday marks an important moment: from then on he is entitled to vote and to stand in elections; he is considered to have full legal capacity; and he no longer falls under parental custody. In addition, he is considered to be fully accountable under criminal law. In other words, childhood ends at age 18. Setting age limits, such as the age of majority, is significant in terms of legal certainty and equality. There are several other legal age limits: for example, criminal responsibility begins at age 12 and civil liability starts at age 14.