Rutte discards dual citizenship petition

THE HAGUE–The Dutch Government will maintain its policy to prevent dual citizenship of its nationals, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made clear in a reaction to the petition “Once a Dutch national, always a Dutch national.”

In a recent letter to the initiator of the petition Eelco Keij, Rutte reconfirmed the standpoint of his Government that persons who voluntarily assume citizenship of another country will lose their Dutch nationality.

“This because the possession of a nationality is always connected to the existence of a factual and real connection with a certain country. A moment arrives when the Dutch nationality ends if at a certain point the connection with the Netherlands has ceased to exist, or the ties with another country have become greater than the ties with the Netherlands,” stated Rutte.

Because many people are not aware of the risk of automatically losing their Dutch nationality, the Dutch Government in June this year started the campaign “Dual nationality? Don’t lose your Dutch one!” Rutte stated that through this campaign, Dutch nationals residing abroad are actively informed about the relevant stipulations in the Kingdom Law on Dutch nationality.

Petition initiator Keij responded with disappointment and disbelief. “By reacting personally to the petition, which has been signed by more than 22,000 people, Prime Minister Rutte has effectively quashed more than one million Dutch citizens abroad,” he stated in a press release.

In a letter to the Prime Minister last week, Keij contended that the current legislation represented an “old-fashioned” viewpoint that no longer made sense in times of globalisation and associated migration of people.

“The existing regulations hurt the interests of the Netherlands which positions itself as a country with strong international ties that looks ahead,” stated Keij, who reminded the Prime Minister that an estimated six per cent of Dutch nationals resided abroad and that on a yearly basis several tens of thousands of Dutch nationals migrated abroad.

“This is a large group, often forgotten by the Government. They leave for work, studies, love or otherwise. They are proud ambassadors of the Netherlands and together they form a cultural and economic network that benefits the Netherlands,” stated Keij.

According to Keij, Dutch nationals abroad live in an international world that forms part of the current globalisation, which will only grow stronger. “This new reality is also part of the Netherlands in the 21st century. Stubbornly clinging to the policy of one nationality knows only losers: both the Dutch nationals abroad and the Dutch State.”

Keij warned Rutte that this issue will not go away. “Your cabinet and your successors will continuously be confronted with this. Ignoring the interests of this group of Dutch nationals and clinging to old-fashioned regulations and mentality will not offer anything good, not for yourself, not for the people you serve as Prime Minister.”

Keij, a candidate on the slate of the Democratic Party D66 for the March 15, 2017 Dutch Parliamentary elections, and an avid advocate of rights of Dutch nationals living abroad, said that he hoped for more compassion and mentality change of the next Dutch Government.

Source: The Daily Herald