Dutch Propose Identical Day For Naturalisation Ceremonies

Dutch Propose Identical Day
For Naturalisation Ceremonies

The Daily Herald
St. Maarten
June 29, 2007

THE HAGUE–The Dutch Government is planning to organise naturalisation ceremonies on the same day throughout the Kingdom. The intention is to introduce this day also in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in 2008.

The naturalisation ceremony is a gathering to officially reflect in a festive, but solemn atmosphere the obtaining of Dutch citizenship. The intention is for the new Dutch citizen to experience a positive welcome.

The naturalisation ceremonies started in 2003 in the Netherlands on a voluntary basis, copied from countries such as Unites States of America, Australia and Canada. While the possibility existed in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba as well to hold organised ceremonies, they were never done.

Meanwhile the Dutch Government decided that the naturalisation ceremonies should not be voluntary anymore and that each municipality should organise such a ceremony at least once a year.

Currently the Netherlands has a system whereby a municipality organises every six to eight weeks a naturalisation ceremony. The intention is, however, to change this into a once-a-year event on which date all the municipalities will organise a naturalisation ceremony.

This date will probably be on August 24, because on that day in 1845 the Dutch constitution was declared. Hirsch Ballin said, however, that for the Netherlands Antilles the date can differ.

The Dutch Minister in addition pointed out some problem points the naturalisation process in the Netherlands Antilles has been experiencing. He said that the naturalisation trajectory is too long. In the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, it takes sometimes four years before a decision is taken on naturalisation requests. In the Netherlands this takes on average six months.

Another problem point he highlighted was the registration system being used in the Netherlands Antilles, the so-called NAVAS system. Its old, its not being maintained and its incomplete. Consequently, the immigration services do not function optimally and are very slow making it easier for foreigners to stay illegally in the Netherlands Antilles.

Furthermore the Dutch Minister said that the Dutch coalition accord indicates that Dutch should be the mandatory naturalisation language in the entire Kingdom. In this regard Hirsch Ballin said he will shortly propose to the governments of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba to start the necessary procedures to do the same.

Finally Hirsch Ballin said that a draft law will be discussed in September regulating that the persons obtaining the Dutch nationality should declare their solidarity with the Kingdom stating the following text: I declare that I respect the Dutch legal order and promise to faithfully fulfil the obligations of citizenship.

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