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Force Majeure?

Although no precedents of the present pandemic are known, it is to be expected that under Dutch law generally force majeure will be acknowledged only where the precise object of the contractual undertaking of one of the parties towards the other is forbidden by authorities. At present this will apply to cultural and sportive performances for an audience of over 100, day care centres and schools, and for specific forbidden air transport.

Under Dutch law some relief may be claimed, however, under the rules for unforeseen circumstances. A contract may be set aside or amended, also by a court, in unforeseen circumstances that disturb the balance of agreed reciprocal undertakings in such a way that in all reasonableness and fairness one party may not expect the other party to fully comply with the original contract. As a consequence, organisations of lessors and lessees of shops, for example, recommend to their respective members that they should start a dialogue in order to come to an agreement on delayed or temporarily reduced payment of the rent, for shops that had to close. Banks have announced that they will apply a moratorium of 6 months for interest and repayment of loans.