So, I’ve officially graduated. Now I can write the glorious “MA” suffix after my name. I also have a full-time job! Actually, I’ve been working since the beginning of August, and that is part of my excuse for not having written anything in a while.
As part of repatriating my degree, I had to go through the process of legalising a document. There is a document called the “Apostille Treaty” that recognises courts from other countries, which would have made the process much simpler, but unfortunately, Canada is not a signatory. So my past week has been spent running around the Netherlands getting my documents stamped and signed…
The first stop was at the Ministry of Education in Groningen. This was actually the trickiest bit. Without the seal from this ministry, the rest of the stops are pointless. You can verify to see if the ministry has your information by checking online using your DigiD. But that only works if you still have an active Dutch telephone number (I haven’t had one for about nine months…). Fortunately, you can also e-mail a scan of your diploma to them so that they can figure out if they can legalise it for you. I wasn’t willing to make the trip without having this little confirmation. The office is located at Kempkensberg 12 and is open from 10:00 to 16:00 Monday through Friday. You have to ask at the reception desk for a ticket for legalisation. It took about 45 minutes for me to get the sticker applied. I arrived just after 10, but there were already a few people waiting ahead of me. So anticipate a little bit of time for this. The website is available here.
Once you pay the €6 fee, you can go off to the next stop, which if you are going to work in a country that is a signatory of the Apostille Treaty means visiting the district court at Guyoutplein 1. Otherwise, you have to hop on the train and head down to Den Haag to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their stamp (€10). The ministry’s office is adjacent to Den Haag Centraal at Bezuidenhoutseweg 67, open from 09:00 to 12:30 Monday through Friday. The desk for legalisation is located up a floor from the ground floor. I arrived there just after 09:00, and the sticker was applied within 20 minutes of my number being called to the desk. This was the quickest visit of the process. The website says that the average wait time is 1 hour, but it really depends on how busy they are. The website can be found here.
The final step is to visit the Canadian Embassy for their legalisation. This is the most time consuming (and expensive) part, as they say it may take 2-3 business days to process it (€35). So I dropped it off on Tuesday, and picked it up on Friday. The Canadian Embassy is located at Sophialaan 7, and you have to drop it off between 09:30 and 12:30 Monday through Friday. Pickup, however, goes until 17:00. You have to go through a security screening before you are allowed into the embassy, then you just have to wait until you are called. The woman who dealt with my diploma said it would be ready the following morning for pickup, so I suppose the times really depend on how busy they are. But had I known that it would have been ready the following morning, I could have shortened my trip by a few days!! The Canadian Embassy’s website is here.
But now, €51 euros later… I have a diploma with two stickers and a stamp stating that it is indeed a legitimate Master’s degree!! Hooray!