Two faced

The debate – if you can call it that – about dual nationality highlights petty small-mindedness in the extreme. A vociferous minority in parliament, with considerable backing in the country at large, seem quite happy to insult the one million Dutch nationals who happen to have another nationality as well.

There is also something deeply patronising about the ‘they are so well integrated’ pat-on-the-head attitude that prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende seems to have towards the two dual nationality ministers in his government.
But aside from the emotional arguments surrounding having two nationalities, owning two passports is often pragmatic – particularly when it comes to divided families. Why would an American-Dutch woman give up her US passport so she could struggle through entry procedures every time she went to visit mom?
If Wilders and his ilk want to change attitudes, they should campaign to make sure that everyone born in the Netherlands is Dutch – whatever other passports they are also entitled to. Born and brought up by foreign parents, you have to wait until you are 18 to become naturalised.
Until then, you are officially a foreigner – albeit a ‘well integrated’ one. A residency permit to live in the country of your birth? That’s a great way to encourage loyalty.

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