A nice vintage chair, a washbasin that can still be used for a round or maybe even a second-hand mirror that hasn’t been scratched yet… We throw away a lot of good stuff. Things that many residents of The Hague can make good use of. But suppose you see a beautiful sofa on the sidewalk, can you just take it with you?
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You see it sometimes: a lost piece of furniture on the side of the street. Furniture that is on the street is often registered with the municipality that collects it. Furniture may not just be put on the street, the municipality must be aware of this. But can you just take these things with you?
Civil Code 5, Article 4.
“He, who takes possession of a movable property that does not belong to anyone, acquires the ownership thereof,” it says in the Civil Code. But when does something belong to no one? In normal human language: when someone ‘gives up’ his things, such as when he or she puts them at the side of the road (Civil Code 5, article 10). It must be with the intention to throw away the furniture. According to the law, you are therefore within your rights when you pluck a mirror from the street, provided you are sure that someone wanted to throw it away.
If the waste is in a container, then the issue is slightly more difficult. Suppose a clothing store throws old items of clothing in their wheelie bin, then you are not allowed to remove the clothing from there, because it is still the property of the store. If the wheelie bin is on the road during collection day, then it is
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Is that allowed?
If something is loose along the road, you can take it with you, provided you make sure it was the previous owner’s intention to dispose of the items. For example, if someone leaves an iPad by the road, you may assume that it has not been put by the road to throw away. In most cases it is best to ring the bell with the former owners. Then you can ask whether the items can be taken with you.
Free furniture to be lost
Conversely, there are also plenty of free ways to get rid of your furniture. You can make a trip to the recycling center, place a call on the