News Articles

Pre-1985 children of non-Dutch father gain Dutch citizenship

Minister relents in mixed-nationality case

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - Most if not all children born prior to 1985 from a union between a Dutch mother and a non-Dutch father, may be eligible for Dutch citizenship. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk granted the exemption in response to pressure by members of nearly all political parties in the Second Chamber.

From 1985 to 1988, the Dutch government in an ill-publicized - especially abroad - transitional arrangement had allowed these children to obtain citizenship. Most of them had not been aware of that possibility or found out too late about the arrangement.

Some 250 of these pre-1985 born ‘children,’ now adults, have appealed to the government recently to allow the entire group - estimated at about 30,000 - to be granted Dutch citizenship now. Initially Minister Verdonk had nixed the appeal, citing the considerable time lapse and the fact that a transitional arrangement had been in place at the time.

Parliamentarians subsequently had urged Verdonk to reconsider her position, which she did when it became apparent that a majority in the Second Chamber would vote in favour of a motion to grant the exemption. Lawyers of the group were considering to take the Minister to court over the matter as well.

Until 1985, only Dutch fatherhood assured the newborn their Dutch citizenship. The same rights did not apply to Dutch mothers. The current Dutch government wants to restrict the possibilities of dual citizenship however. It aims to promote integration and to ensure that the next generation will be Dutch only and thus make efforts to integrate in society.

There are just over one million Dutch citizens with dual citizenship, one in sixteen. About half of them also have a Moroccan or Turkish passport, and one quarter has a passport from another EU country. Children born in the Netherlands from Moroccan parents automatically become Moroccan citizens. Morocco thus far has been unwilling to change that policy. The Dutch law also grants these children Dutch citizenship.