Sunday 26 September 2021

Dutch expats abroad gear up their campaign for dual nationality rights


Dutch expat organisation SNBN is renewing its campaign to win dual nationality rights for Dutch nationals who live abroad, and hopes to make the issue part of the general election campaign.

Thousands of Dutch nationals who live abroad face practical issues because they lose their right to a Dutch passport if they take another nationality, SNBN chairman Eelco Keij told BNR radio on Friday.

‘It could be that you need another nationality for a job or to buy a house,’ Keij said. ‘Then you automatically, without warning, lose your right to Dutch nationality without appeal.

Economic sense

The Netherlands, says Keij, is built on trade and the Dutch abroad have added economic value. ‘They facilitate business connections, they provide an impulse to international trade, they stimulate tourism,’ he said.

‘This call won’t go away. Other countries are becoming more accepting of dual nationality, partly because of the economic added value but also because international families are no long something special, they are increasingly normal.’

The SNBN is launching its campaign on Saturday with a full page advert in the NRC and hopes put the issue on the agenda in the 2021 general election campaign. Around one million Dutch nationals are thought to live abroad.


The current government had pledged in its 2017 coalition agreement to take steps to change the Dutch rules on dual nationality but has not published any recommendations, despite planning to do so in spring 2019.

Senators have, however, voted in favour of new legislation which will allow Dutch nationals living in Britain to retain their Dutch nationality if they have to become British to ensure their residency rights are respected.

The law would mean Dutch nationals who already live in the UK can apply for a British passport without having to renounce their Dutch nationality – if the final withdrawal agreement means their residency rights worsen.

The draft legislation originally offered the same deal to British nationals in the Netherlands, but that idea was dropped because there was not enough support in parliament.

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