24 October 2023, by Abi Carter

Once again, the issue of dual nationality is back on the political agenda in the Netherlands, after two political parties released new information about draft legislation to relax the rules. Under the plans, foreign nationals would be able to gain Dutch citizenship without having to renounce their original nationality. 

Dual Dutch citizenship to be allowed under new legislation

The centrist political party D66 and the left-wing coalition GroenLinks-PvdA have released more details about a proposal to loosen the rules surrounding dual nationality for Dutch citizens. Under current plans, foreign nationals seeking Dutch citizenship would no longer be required to give up their original nationality, while Dutch nationals living abroad would also not be forced to surrender their citizenship if they wish to take on a second nationality. 

Dutch MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma told Dutch News that the draft legislation was a “recognition of the economic and cultural value of our citizens abroad… It will also mean people who come to the Netherlands and adopt Dutch nationality but don’t get rid of their own should be allowed to do so.” He added that he wanted to “remove the stigma” attached to dual nationality and said that an overhaul of the citizenship laws was “long overdue”. 

Currently, the Netherlands has some of the strictest rules on dual nationality in Europe, only allowing it in a few circumstances, for instance, if a person is married to someone with a Dutch passport, or if their country of origin does not allow them to renounce their citizenship. 

Similarly, any Dutch citizen with a second nationality who lives away from the Netherlands for more than 10 years automatically loses their Dutch citizenship. They also have to renounce their Dutch nationality if they take a second nationality, with no exceptions. 

Citizenship bill to be debated by parliament after November elections

The proposal has been turned into a bill that will be debated in parliament. However, it is almost certain that this will happen after the national election on November 22, which will decide new members of the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer), and so it remains to be seen whether the initiative will go any further. 

This is not the first time that a proposal has been put forward to update the Netherlands’ nationality laws, but previous attempts have always floundered. The PVV has said for years it would ban dual nationality. 

In 2016, the Council of State, which advises the Cabinet, said that the legislation needed to provide more detail on whether conflicts of loyalty could arise among Dutch people with two passports. The draft law was subsequently amended, citing several studies that lawmakers say demonstrate that the risk of this is relatively low.

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