More Dutch people have two passports
Radio Netherlands Worldwide
Published on 14 December 2009 – 12:23pm
A growing number of Dutch people have dual citizenship, according to figures released by the Dutch statistics office announced on Monday. This is despite the fact that in principle people who naturalise in the Netherlands are obliged to give up their original nationality.
There was a major increase in the number of people with duel nationalities between 1992 and 1997. During this period people who acquired Dutch citizenship were allowed to hold on to their original nationality as well, and the majority of applicants chose to take this option.
Since 1997, in principle people who naturalise have had to renounce their previous citizenship. However, there are a range of exceptions. People who come from countries that do not allow their citizens to give up their nationality, such as Morocco, are exempt from the rule. Those who are likely to suffer major financial disadvantages are also exempted. As Turkish people who give up their citizenship stand to lose inheritance rights, they also fall into this category.
As a result, the number of people with duel citizenship has continued to rise since 1997. Moroccans and Turks make up the Netherlands largest immigrant groups, and more than half of the Dutch people with two passports originally come from these countries.
Children who have one parent with both a Dutch and foreign passport automatically acquire dual citizenship, and this is another group which continues to grow. In 2008, 22,000 children acquired duel nationality at birth.
Minors whose parents naturalise are also allowed to keep their original passports alongside their newly-acquired Dutch ones. This means that while parents who have naturalised hold only Dutch citizenship, their children who may never have even visited their parents homeland are allowed to have two passports. However, when they reach the age of 18 they have to choose which they want to keep.
In 2007 the issue of duel citizenship hit the headlines as the present government took office. The far-right Freedom Party led by MP Geert Wilders proposed a motion of no confidence in two newly-appointed Labour Party ministers, Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak and then social affairs minister Ahmed Aboutaleb. Alongside their Dutch citizenship, Ms Albayrak and Mr Aboutaleb also hold Turkish and Moroccan citizenship respectively. Mr Wilders argued that their duel citizenship meant they had divided loyalties. However, the Freedom Party motion met with a resounding defeat in the Lower House.