For expats living in the Netherlands, the landscape around dual citizenship could be on the brink of change. Two influential Dutch political parties, the centrist D66 and the left-leaning coalition of GroenLinks-PvdA, are renewing their efforts to modernize the nation’s dual citizenship laws. The parties have updated their original 2016 proposal and are pushing for it to become a bill, slated for debate after the November 22 national elections.
Current State of Dual Citizenship in the Netherlands
The Dutch stance on dual nationality is among Europe’s most restrictive. Presently, Dutch citizens living abroad are generally required to relinquish their Dutch nationality when they obtain citizenship in another country. The same is true for immigrants to the Netherlands, who often must give up their original citizenship to become Dutch. This policy has raised eyebrows and concerns, especially among the large expatriate community here.
According to MPs Sjoerd Sjoerdsma from D66 and Attje Kuiken from GroenLinks-PvdA, this state of affairs hinders Dutch people from building lives outside of the Netherlands. They argue that these regulations can prevent people from making crucial life choices, like purchasing property in their new country of residence.
Implications for a Diverse Citizenry
This proposed legislation aims to extend its benefits beyond the expat community. It could prove particularly helpful for Dutch citizens who have heritage in another country. For example, individuals from Morocco currently can’t relinquish their original citizenship when they become Dutch, often placing them in a stigmatized position. The proposed bill seeks to alleviate this issue, according to the involved MPs.
While the right-wing PVV party has been advocating for a dual citizenship ban, D66 and GroenLinks-PvdA hope that this bill will, in Sjoerdsma’s words, “remove the stigma” surrounding dual nationality.
Responding to Previous Concerns
Earlier skepticism about the proposal came from the Council of State, which had asked for further clarification on whether dual nationality might create conflicts of loyalty for Dutch citizens. The revised bill addresses this concern by referencing studies indicating that such conflicts are statistically unlikely.
Considering that at least one million Dutch citizens live or work abroad—a number that continues to grow—the potential impact of this legislation is vast.
The bill’s future, however, is not set in stone. Debate on the legislation is scheduled to take place after the upcoming November elections. Whether the bill will gain sufficient support to become law is still an open question.
For those interested in the changing landscape of dual nationality in the Netherlands, the coming months will be pivotal. Stay tuned for more updates.