Dutch citizens living abroad have called for the incoming government to scrap the ban on dual nationality.
The current law, which dates from 1892, is ‘hopelessly outdated’ and leaves many emigrants unable to buy a house, get a job or start a business, the Foundation for the Dutch Outside the Netherlands (SNBN) said.
The organisation has taken out a full-page advert in the NRC newspaper calling for dual nationality to be enshrined in the next cabinet’s coalition agreement, arguing that it would strengthen international trade and ‘maintain the Netherlands’ status as a social and cultural world leader’.
Around a million Dutch citizens live abroad, many in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia, but they have to give up their Dutch passports before they can become citizens of their host countries.
SNBN also say Dutch nationality should be restored for people who had to give it up to claim another country’s citizenship.
‘Many other countries have long since permitted dual nationality, but the Netherlands has stubbornly clung to the principle of one nationality,’ said SNBN chair Eelco Keij, who lives in New York. ‘Not only is this ban a huge obstacle for many people on a personal level, it also restricts the Netherlands’ international trade.’
He told BNR Nieuwsradio that migration is less permanent in today’s interconnected world. Many people who move abroad return in less than 10 years and have regular contact with their families in the meantime.
‘In the past people emigrated on a big ship and never came back, but the world is different now,’ he said. ‘People come back more often and the internet and radio make it easier to stay in touch. In that sense they remain far more Dutch than they would have done 50 years ago.’
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