Political parties D66 and PvdA have drawn up draft legislation that paves the way for the Dutch to have a second passport and for foreign nationals to become Dutch – without renouncing their original nationality.
The Netherlands has some of the strictest rules on having more than one passport in Europe. Foreigners who wish to become Dutch currently have to give up their original nationality in most cases – unless they are married to a Dutch passport holder or reach the age of 65.
Similarly, Dutch nationals currently automatically lose their nationality if they live away from the Netherlands for more than 10 years and have another nationality. They also have to renounce being Dutch if they take a second nationality, no matter what the reason.
The draft legislation is a “recognition of the economic and cultural value of our citizens abroad,” Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, the D66 MP behind the legislation, told Dutch News.
“It will also mean people who come to the Netherlands and adopt Dutch nationality but don’t want to get rid of their own should be allowed to do so. I’m hoping to transform the way we see dual nationality in the Netherlands and remove the stigma that is too often wrongly attached to this.”
The legislation will also redress the historic injustice done to all those Dutch people who lost their Dutch nationality over the the years, he said. “It is a scandal that no one is writing about. One thousand plus people a year are losing their nationality, with all the grave repercussions that it involves.”
Efforts to reform the strict Dutch laws on dual nationality have faltered over the years, despite the Netherlands claims to be a country with a global outlook, and the likelihood of this legislation making it to the statute books remains to be seen.
“The overhaul of our nationality law is long overdue,” Sjoerdsma said. “If you look across Europe, the Netherlands has really fallen behind. Within the EU we are in a minority of two or three that don’t accept dual nationality as a general rule.
Sjoerdsma is standing down at the November election and sees the draft legislation as a last-ditch effort to “get rid of a relic from the past.”
“Hopefully this will force other parties to make clear what their position is,” he said. “Most of them are trying to stay well clear of this issue.”
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