Dutch nationality

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Passport of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Proof of Dutch citizenship from 1936

The Dutch nationality ( Dutch Nederlanderschap ? / I ) is the nationality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands . In most cases, it is acquired when the person concerned has at least one Dutch parent (principle of descent ). In the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the place of birth principle is only used in exceptional cases (e.g. foundlings). Citizenship can also be obtained through naturalization ( naturalization ). A simplified procedure is the "option". It applies, for example, to people who were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and who also meet certain conditions. Audio file / audio sample

Proof of Dutch citizenship ( verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap / bewijs van Nederlanderschap ), a travel document ( reisdocument ) or the Dutch identity card ( identiteitskaart ) within the meaning of Art. 15 Para. 4 of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN).

Basic legal situation

Who is a Dutch citizen is regulated in different legal norms.

  • The Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Statuut) stipulates that nationality is a matter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The individual countries of the Kingdom can therefore not determine their nationality independently.
  • The Grondwet (Gw) law stipulates that a law regulates who is a Dutch citizen ( Nederlander ).
  • The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN) law regulates how Dutch citizenship can be acquired.

European Union

All Dutch citizens are Union citizens . However, the free movement of persons and other EU rights of non-Dutch Union citizens are restricted in relation to the Caribbean Dutch territories.

Acquisition of citizenship

Through legal automatism

The acquisition of citizenship happens “ by law ” in principle on the basis of the principle of descent . To do this, certain requirements must be met ( Art. 3 to 5c RWN).

  • A child acquires Dutch nationality at birth if at least one of the parents is a Dutch national at the time.
    A child born out of wedlock to a Dutch father and a non-Dutch mother will only acquire them if it was recognized by the father before the birth.
  • A foundling found on the territory of the Kingdom or on a ship or in an aircraft that is registered in the Kingdom is a Dutch citizen (exceptional case, here: place of birth principle ), unless it is found within five years of the discovery that the child has a different nationality by birth.
  • A child acquires Dutch nationality through birth on the national territory of the Kingdom (exceptional case; here: place of birth principle) if
    • at least one parent is domiciled in the Kingdom at the time and
    • at least one of the parents of that parent (i.e. a grandparent of the child) had their primary residence in the Kingdom at the time of the parent's birth.
  • A child acquires Dutch nationality through adoption if at least one of the adoptive parents is Dutch at the time.

By "option"

Acquiring citizenship through the “option” is a simplified form of naturalization in which certain conditions must be met ( Art. 6 to 6a RWN). Benefit from this, for example

  • adult non-Dutch citizens who were born in the UK and have had their main residence there ever since,
  • Non-Dutch nationals who were born in the UK, have had a residence permit there for at least three years, have their main residence there and have been stateless since birth ,
  • Minors, non-Dutch, who have been recognized by one of the Dutch parents but have not become Dutch, if they have been cared for and raised by the parent concerned for at least three years,
  • Non-Dutch citizens who have had a Dutch spouse (or registered partner) for at least three years and who have had a residence permit and main residence in the UK for at least fifteen years and
  • Non-Dutch nationals who are at least 65 years old and who have had a residence permit and main residence in the UK for at least fifteen years.

A candidate must not have been in prison or have been fined heavily, or be married to more than one spouse in the previous four years. Candidates who are at least 16 years old have to take part in a naturalization ceremony at the end of the option procedure, at which they have to submit the declaration of loyalty ( verklaring van verbondenheid ).

The procedure lasts three months, which is shorter than the one-year naturalization procedure. In addition, the application for an option is associated with lower costs for the applicant than the application for naturalization.

By naturalization

Announcement of the acquisition of citizenship by grant (2009)

The acquisition of citizenship through granting takes place on the basis of naturalization . Anyone wishing to acquire Dutch citizenship through naturalization must in principle meet a number of requirements ( Art. 7 to 13 RWN), including:

  • He must be of legal age (18 years or older).
  • He must have a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of residence in a country of the Kingdom.
  • Before submitting his application, he must have had permanent residence in a country of the Kingdom for at least five years.
  • He has to demonstrate sufficient integration into Dutch society.
  • He must not have committed a criminal offense for a certain period of time before his application.

Numbers, statistics

The Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek publishes annual statistics on naturalization in the Netherlands.

In 2015, 22,102 people acquired Dutch citizenship through naturalization. That was almost 5,000 fewer than the year before. Compared to 2014, fewer Turks, Moroccans and people from refugee countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran were naturalized. About 1,700 of the naturalized were Moroccan citizens, 900 were Turks, 900 were former Soviet citizens, 900 Iraqis and 700 Chinese. The Chinese were one of the few groups with an increase over the previous year. A third of the naturalized persons did not know their previous citizenship.

Loss of citizenship

Through legal automatism

Dutch citizens can voluntarily renounce their citizenship ( Art. 15 para. 1b RWN). In addition, they automatically lose their Dutch citizenship if they voluntarily adopt another nationality ( Art. 15 para. 1a RWN). Exceptions apply ( Art. 15 Para. 2 RWN) if one

  • was born in the other country and has his main residence there upon receipt of the citizenship there,
  • has his main residence in the other country for at least five uninterrupted years before reaching the age of majority or
  • Has a spouse of the nationality that one freely adopts.

A Dutch citizen who also has a foreign nationality automatically loses Dutch nationality if he has had his main residence outside the UK or the European Union for more than ten years and has failed to have his travel document or identity card extended ( Art. 15 para . 1c RWN).

Further rules apply to minors ( Art. 16 RWN). You lose citizenship if paternity is no longer recognized or an adoption is revoked.

Through withdrawal

The Dutch state will revoke the citizenship of a person concerned if they

  • after naturalization did not try to part with the old citizenship ( Art. 15 para. 1e RWN),
  • has cheated in the event of naturalization or option, for example through a false identity ( Art. 14 Para. 1 RWN),
  • convicted of a crime directed against the security of the kingdom, such as a war crime or a crime with terrorist intent (since March 1, 2017 also: membership in a terrorist organization) ( Art. 14 Para. 2 and 4 RWN) or
  • serves voluntarily in the armed forces of a state fighting against the kingdom or a Dutch ally ( Art. 14 para. 3 RWN).


The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap law replaced the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het ingezetenschap law of 1892 in 1984. Until then, children were only automatically Dutch citizens if their father was Dutch.

By April 1, 2003, a child also acquired Dutch nationality if recognized after birth. From April 1, 2003 to March 1, 2009, a child who was not recognized before birth could acquire Dutch nationality through the option procedure or through a judicial process with evidence of paternity. In the latter case, the acquisition was retroactive from birth. Since March 1, 2009, a child up to the age of 7 will automatically acquire Dutch nationality again if the father has recognized it. Valid DNA analysis must be performed on a child who is 7 years old or older.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Wetten.nl - Regeling - Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden - BWBR0002154. In: overheid.nl. Wetten.overheid.nl, accessed on March 13, 2017 (Dutch).
  2. Wetten.nl - Regeling - Grondwet - BWBR0001840. In: overheid.nl. Wetten.overheid.nl, accessed on March 13, 2017 (Dutch).
  3. Wetten.nl - Regeling - Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap - BWBR0003738. In: overheid.nl. Wetten.overheid.nl, accessed on March 13, 2017 (Dutch).
  4. option. Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, accessed July 28, 2018 (Dutch).
  5. costs. Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, accessed on 25 March 2017 (Dutch).
  6. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek: 22 duizend naturalisaties in 2015 , press release of December 14, 2016 (Dutch).