Loss and Restoration of Dutch Nationality, version 2

REVISED ARTICLE

NOTE: The following article was originally published on March 3, 2019. Due to many of the comments and questions, the author Paul Munsell has graciously revised the article. The article was revised and updated on TIP website on May 21, 2019.

INTRODUCTION

A short time ago, there were several heavy-duty discussions on Facebook about retaining dual or the reinstatement of a Dutch nationality. People had many questions.  Mr. Paul Munsell, who has intently studied Dutch nationality laws and regularly follows updates to any legislation regarding the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap, has painstakingly written up an article that will explain some of the most very complicated requirements under Dutch law.

LOSS AND RESTORATION OF DUTCH NATIONALITY / VERLIES EN HERKRIJGING VAN HET NEDERLANDERSCHAP: A BRIEF HISTORY AND EXPLANATION

by Paul Munsell

This is information to give a bit of understanding of how Dutch nationality law with regard to cases of dual nationality has evolved over time as there is a definite distinction amongst everyone regarding when they were born and their own personal circumstances and those of their families with regard to the loss or reinstatement of Dutch nationality (Nederlanderschap).

The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) (the Kingdom Act on Netherlands Nationality) entered into effect on 1 January 1985 and is still in effect today.  This Act, formally signed by Koningin Beatrix on 19 December 1984, replaced the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) (WNI (1892)), which was signed by Queen-Regent Emma in 1892 as Queen Wilhelmina was not yet 18 years of age.

If you were born prior to 1 January 1985, then you acquired (or did not acquire) Dutch nationality under the provisions of the WNI (1892).

Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892)

The initial public policy of the Netherlands at the time the WNI (1892) and the RWN (1985) entered into effect remains unchanged:  dual nationality should be limited as much as possible.  However, there are exceptions.

When the WNI (1892) entered into effect, Dutch nationality hinged in almost all circumstances on two important principles:  1) dual nationality should be restricted to the greatest extent possible and 2) the child acquired Dutch nationality at birth primarily via the Dutch father only under Article 1 which states:

Artikel 1

Nederlanders door geboorte zijn:

  1. het wettig, gewettigd of door de vader erkend natuurlijk kind, waarvan tijdens de geboorte de vader de staat van Nederlander bezit.

This means that Dutch nationality was primarily acquired via the child’s Dutch father only on the child’s date of birth following the ascending patrilineal blood line (in Latin:  jus sanguinis a patre).  Only in certain circumstances was Dutch nationality prior to 1 January 1985 acquired via the Dutch mother only (jus sanguinis a matre), such as when the father was stateless and only the mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth.  Place of birth is irrelevant.

Loss of Dutch nationality under the WNI (1892)

Article 7 of the WNI (1892) sets forth the basic cases in which Dutch nationality would automatically be lost.  These include:

  1. by naturalizing to another country as an adult (minor-aged children would also lose Dutch nationality by having shared in the naturalization of either parent);
  2. by a revocation decision (vervallenverklaring) from the Dutch authorities at the request of an adult who held another nationality in addition to Dutch nationality and who had lost both nationalities and without the individual having willfully made such circumstance known to the Dutch authorities and the individual resided outside the Netherlands;
  3. by having willfully accepted a foreign nationality (a Dutch women would retain her Dutch nationality if she did not willfully accept the acquisition of a foreign nationality at the time of her marriage to a foreigner and whose nationality she automatically would have acquired at marriage under the laws of her husband’s country);
  4. by willfully having agreed to serve in the military forces or to enter into the civil service of another country without prior permission from the Dutch authorities; and
  5. Dutch nationals who were born outside the Kingdom and outside of the Republic of Indonesia would lose Dutch nationality (except those who were in the service of the Kingdom) and who resided for ten (10) continuous years outside of the Kingdom, unless they gave notice to the Dutch authorities they wished to retain Dutch nationality before the 10-year period expired (i.e., by age 31). Another 10-year period would start to run on the day such notification was given.  As for minor-aged children, the 10-year period would start to run on the day they reached the age of majority (21 years at the time in the Netherlands).
Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985)

On 1 January 1985, the RWN (1985) entered into effect.  RWN (1985), Chapter 2, Article 3 (Hoodstuk 2:  Verkriging van het Nederlanderschap van rechtswege) states:

Artikel 3

Nederlander is het kind waarvan ten tijde van zijn geboorte de vader of de moeder Nederlander is, alsmede het kind van een Nederlander die voordien is overleden.

This is an important distinction from Article 1 of the WNI (1892) as henceforth a child acquires Dutch nationality either via the Dutch father or via the Dutch mother.  Place of birth is irrelevant.

Now here is where Dutch nationality law gets complicated.

It is recognized under Dutch law and international law that an individual cannot lose his/her nationality if he/she only has one nationality (in this case, Dutch nationality).  Otherwise, the individual would become stateless.  Therefore, if you are a Dutch national only, you cannot lose your Nederlanderschap.

Loss of Dutch nationality under RWN, Article 15(c):  Loss of Dutch nationality if a dual Dutch national lives outside of the Netherlands after his/her 28th birthday

Artikel 15

(c) Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren wanneer de betrokkene na zijn meerderjarigheid gedurende een ononderbroken periode van 10 jaren woonplaats buiten Nederland, onderscheidenlijk de Nederlandse Antillen, heeft in het land waarin hij is geboren en waarvan hij eveneens de nationaliteit bezit, anders dan in een dienstverband met Nederland, de Nederlandse Antillen dan wel een internationaal orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van een person met een zodanig dienstverband.

This new article 15(c) (hereafter referenced as “article 15(c) (oude)”) unequivocally states that a dual Dutch national born outside the Netherlands who possessed both Dutch nationality and the nationality of the country of birth and who resided in the country of birth would lose his or her Dutch nationality if, after attaining the age of majority, he/she lived in his/her country of birth for an uninterrupted period of 10 years and he/she was a citizen of that country.

What does this mean?

As a result, many dual Dutch nationals, either knowingly or unknowingly and living abroad, lost their Dutch nationality on or subsequent to 1 January 1995 (1 January 1985 (effective date of the RWN (1985) and article 15(c) (oude)) + 10 years = 1 January 1995).

Many of these former Dutch nationals live in:  Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States).  Why these countries more specifically?  Because, historically, it is to these countries to which the greatest amount of Dutch emigrants went in the past.

The February 2000 revisions to the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap.  Article 15(c) (oude) replaced by article 15, paragraphs 1 (c) and 2.

Artikel 15

1 Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren:

c. indien hij tevens een vreemde nationaliteit bezit en tijdens zijn meerderjarigheid gedurende een ononderbroken periode van tien jaar in het bezit van beide nationaliteiten zijn hoofdverblijf heeft buiten Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao en Sint Maarten, en buiten de gebieden waarop het Verdrag betreffende de Europese Unie van toepassing is, anders dan in een dienstverband met Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao of Sint Maarten dan wel met een internationaal orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van of als ongehuwde in een duurzame relatie samenlevend met een persoon in een zodanig dienstverband;

2 Het eerste lid, aanhef en onder a, is niet van toepassing op de verkrijger

a. die in het land van die andere nationaliteit is geboren en daar ten tijde van de verkrijging zijn hoofdverblijf heeft;

b. die voor het bereiken van de meerderjarige leeftijd gedurende een onafgebroken periode van tenminste vijf jaren in het land van die andere nationaliteit zijn hoofdverblijf heeft gehad; of

c. die gehuwd is met een persoon die die andere nationaliteit bezit.

As RWN (1985), Article 15 (c) (oude) was subsequently considered quite restrictive (loss of Dutch nationality by a dual Dutch national not residing in the Netherlands and who had attained age 28), the Dutch legislator wished to change the law so that former Dutch nationals, who had lived in the country of their birth for a period of ten uninterrupted years after having reached the age of majority, could have their lost Dutch nationality reinstated via option procedure.  Therefore, dual Dutch nationals living outside of the Netherlands on or past age 28 would no longer automatically lose their Dutch nationality as such had been the case under Article 15(c) (oude).

The implementation of this new article would mainly apply to former Dutch nationals who had lost their Dutch nationality subsequent to ten years after the RWN (1985) was implemented on 1 January 1985.

Three bills were drafted to amend the RWN (1985), article 15(c) (oude), the last of which passed the Tweede Kamer in April 2000 and was approved by the Eerste Kamer in December 2000.  RWN (1985) 15(c) (oude) was thus revised.  The new articles governing the loss and retention of Dutch nationality were added and became article 15, 1(c) and article 15, 2.

These revisions were implemented and entered into effect in three (3) separate stages.

STAGE 1

(former Dutch nationals who lived for more than ten uninterrupted years in the country in which they were born and whose nationality they possessed and who were issued with a Dutch passport or proof of Dutch nationality after 1 January 1990).

On February 2001, Stage 1 of the new article 15 entered into effect. Stage 1 applied to former Dutch nationals who had lost their Dutch nationality on our subsequent to 1 January 1995 by 1. having been born in the country whose nationality they possess; 2. who lived in that country for more than ten (10) uninterrupted years past age 18; and 3. had been issued with an NL passport or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

This Stage 1 provision ensured that Dutch nationality would automatically be reinstated to former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality under RWN (1985) Article 15 (c) (oude) if, on or subsequent to 1 January 1990, they had been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate (Verklaring van Nederlanderschap/Bewijs van Nederlanderschap).  Under this Stage 1 option procedure, Dutch nationality will be deemed never to have been lost.  The provision would also apply to minor-age children if the parents had requested such a document for them.

As stated, this legislative revision would be applicable to individuals to whom a Dutch passport or a Verklaring van Nederlanderschap /Bewijs van Nederlanderschap (Dutch nationality certificate) had been issued on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

Therefore, it would be necessary to determine on which date the Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate had been issued and from which date a new period of 10-years would start to run in order to avoid the loss of Dutch nationality.  This loss provision did not begin earlier than 1 January 1994.  It also would apply to children who also had lost Dutch nationality along with the parents.

As from 1 February 2001, the former Dutch national who lost his/her Dutch nationality under the Stage 1 provisions by having had a valid Dutch passport on the day Dutch nationality was lost under Article 15(c) (oude) could apply for a Dutch passport.  As stated, under this Stage 1, Dutch nationality will be deemed never to have been lost.

Exclusions to Stage 1

The reinstatement of Dutch nationality under Stage 1 was not open to the following former Dutch nationals:

(i) Former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality prior to 1 January 1985 because:

a. they were born outside of the Netherlands;

b. they had lived for an uninterrupted period of 10 years outside the Netherlands after reaching the age of majority (21 years at the time); and

c. 3) they did not submit notification to the Dutch authorities by age 31 they wished to retain their Dutch nationality (21 age of majority + 10 years = age 31).

This mainly concerned former Dutch nationals who were born abroad prior to 1 January 1954.

(ii) Former Dutch nationals who renounced their Dutch nationality (Verklaring van Afstand); and

(iii) Former Dutch nationals whose Dutch nationality was withdrawn (ingetrokken).

(iv) Former Dutch nationals who lived for more than ten (10) uninterrupted years in the country in which they were born and whose nationality they possessed and who were not issued with a Dutch passport or proof of Dutch nationality on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

Why would Dutch nationality not be reinstated to former Dutch nationals who were born abroad with Dutch nationality prior to 1 January 1954 and subsequently lost Dutch nationality?

As explained above, under the WNI (1892), a dual Dutch national, who lived outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands and who did not notify the Dutch authorities within 10 years after reaching the age of majority (which was age 21 up to 1 January 1988) he/she wished to retain Dutch nationality, would lose Dutch nationality automatically.

Now, if we do the math, here is how the dates work for the exclusion of this option possibility and how 1 January 1954 is not some arbitrary date.  The time line is entirely logical.

Example1 January 1954 + 21 years (age of majority in the Netherlands at the time) = 1 January 1975 + 10 years (in which to request a Dutch passport as a dual Dutch national residing overseas) = 1 January 1985 (implementation date of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap/loss of Dutch nationality).

STAGE 2

(former Dutch nationals who lived for more than ten uninterrupted years in the country in which they were born and whose nationality they possessed and who were never issued with a Dutch passport or proof of Dutch nationality after 1 January 1990).

On 1 April 2003, Stage 2 of the revised Article 15(c) oude entered into effect.  This Stage 2 option provision applied to former Dutch nationals who had lost their Dutch nationality subsequent to 1 January 1985 under RWN (1985) Article 15(c) (oude) because:

  1. they had been born in the country whose nationality they possess; and
  2. they had lived in that country for more than ten (10) uninterrupted years subsequent to age 18; and
  3. they had never been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990. This means they were not in possession of a valid Dutch passport at all since at least 1 January 1990.

If you had never been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990 under the above conditions, it was possible to have Dutch nationality reinstated with retroactive effect to the day it was lost by written option request made to the Dutch authorities.

This Stage 2 option window began on 1 April 2003 (implementation date of Stage 2) and ended on 31 March 2005.

What is the significance of the 31 March 2005 Stage 2 option expiration date which equals 10 years?

The time period for “renewing” Dutch nationality if the dual Dutch national lives outside the Netherlands (including the Western Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten or any other Member State of the European Union henceforth always runs in ten-year incremental periods.

Example31 March 2005 (Stage 2 option procedure expiration date to request and receive a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate) – 10 years = 1 January 1995 (initial loss of Dutch nationality for dual Dutch nationals living abroad when RWN (1985) article 15(c) (oude)) went into effect.

Now, if the loss of Dutch nationality by dual Dutch nationals living outside 1. the Netherlands (including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius or Saba) or 2. Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten or 3. a member state of the European Union (since 1 January 1985) always operates in 10 year incremental periods, then if 1 January 1995 was the date on which loss of Dutch nationality under article 15(c) (oude) would take effect, if we subtract ten 10 years (because 10 years is the duration in order for Dutch nationality to be lost under RWN (1985), Article 15(c) (oude) = 1 January 1985 (implementation date of the RWN (1985). [1 April 2005 (Stage 2 implementation date) – 10 years = 1 January 1995 – 10 years = 1 January 1985]

The time line is entirely logical!

STAGE 3

(remaining cases for reinstatement of Dutch nationality for former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality as adults prior to 1 April 2003 (the implementation date of the Article 15, 1(c) and 2)

On 1 April 2003, the new article 15, 1(c) and 2 entered into effect, thereby replacing RWN (1985) 15(c) (oude).

Restoration of Dutch nationality under the Stage 3 option procedure window applied to the following former Dutch nationals who had lost their Dutch nationality prior to 1 April 2003, but who could not have it reinstated under Stage 1 or Stage 2.

This option procedure applied to those former Dutch nationals who do not reside in the Netherlands and who, after reaching the age of majority, had lost Dutch nationality because they had acquired a foreign nationality as an adult.

The three (3) distinct option cases were:

(i) a former Dutch national who lost Dutch nationality as an adult, because he/she was born in the country whose nationality he/she subsequently acquired as an adult, and he/she was living in that country at the time the foreign nationality was acquired;

(ii) a former Dutch national who, before turning 18, had lived for an uninterrupted period of at least five (5) years in the country whose nationality he/she subsequently acquired as an adult; or

(iii) a former Dutch national who, when he/she acquired the nationality of another country and lost Dutch nationality automatically because of this naturalization, was married to or in a registered civil partnership (which can be recognized under Dutch law) with a national of that same country.  Example:  A Dutch woman who married a U.S. national and she voluntarily naturalized American prior to 1 January 1985 while married to her American husband, in which case she automatically would have lost her Dutch nationality in so doing under the WNI (1892).

If the former Dutch national fell under one of these three cases, he/she had between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 (another 10-year window!) to have his/her lost Dutch nationality reinstated via option.

The 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2013 period also was the 10-year time frame during which an individual who fell under the Stage 1 option period would need to apply for and receive in hand a new Dutch passport, Dutch national identification card or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate.  Once one of these documents is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run.

What is the significance of the 31 March 2013 Stage 3 option expiration date which equals 10 years?

Example31 March 2013 (Stage 3 option expiration date) – 10 years (to apply for reinstatement of Dutch nationality via option under Stage 3 in one of the three specific aforementioned cases back to the implementation date) = 1 April 2003 (Stage 3 implementation date of article 15, paragraphs 1 and 2 replacing RWN (1985) 15 (c) (oude) for the retention of Dutch nationality under the 3 specific cases mentioned above).

Exclusions to Stage 3

The reinstatement of Dutch nationality under Stage 3 was not open to the following former Dutch nationals:

(i) Former Dutch nationals who lost their nationality when Suriname and Indonesia gained independence;

(ii) Former Dutch nationals who lost their nationality as a result of the conclusion of the Council of Europe convention to reduce the number of cases of multiple nationality. The Netherlands has been a party to this Convention since 10 June 1985.  An example here would be a former Dutch national who acquired Norwegian, Danish or Austrian nationality;

(iii) Former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality as minors by acquiring the nationality of a parent;

(iv) Former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality prior to 1 January 1985 because they were born outside NL, lived for an uninterrupted period of 10 years outside NL after reaching age 21 and they did not submit notification they wished to retain their Dutch nationality (once again those born abroad prior to 1 January 1954);

(v) Former Dutch nationals who renounced their Dutch nationality (Verklaring van Afstand); and

(vi) Former Dutch nationals whose Dutch nationality was withdrawn (ingetrokken).

How can I retain my Dutch nationality if I am a dual Dutch national and I don’t live in the Netherlands (including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten or any member state of the European Union?

With the implementation of the revised article 15, paragraphs 1 and 2 which entered into effect, as explained on 1 April 2003 and which are still in effect today, while the acquisition of a foreign nationality by an adult age 18 or over in addition to Dutch nationality has been restricted to the three (3) exceptions as explained under Stage 3, the possibility for a dual Dutch national to retain Dutch nationality has been expanded.

There are two (2) ways in which to “reset” the 10-year clock if and only if you are a dual Dutch national and you live outside:

1) the Netherlands (including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba); or

2) Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten; or

3) any other Member State of the European Union.

Option 1:  Obtain a new Dutch passport, Dutch national identification card or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate once every 10 years.

All you need to do is to request and receive in hand (merely requesting such document is not sufficient; one must actually receive the issued document) one of these documents once every ten (10) years and before the expiration date of the previously-issued document.  If a new document is not issued by the expiration of the previously-issued document (i.e. before the 10-year period ends), you will lose your Dutch nationality.  No exceptions!

On the date one of these three documents is issued to you, a new ten (10) year period begins to run. (Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap, Artikel 15(4).)

Example:  Dutch passport is issued on 1 April 2018.  The passport will be valid for 10 years and will expire on 31 March 2028.  A new document must be requested and issued before 31 March 2028.  Otherwise, you, as a dual Dutch national, will lose your Dutch nationality [1 April 2018 + 10 years (document validity) = 31 March 2028 (expiration date; loss of Dutch nationality if a new document has not been requested and received)].

Option 2:  Move back to the Netherlands (including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius or Saba), Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten or any other member state of the European Union in the year immediately preceding the year in which your document will expire and reside there officially for one uninterrupted year .

If you then leave again, a new 10-year period begins to run.

Since 9 March 2014, all Dutch passports, Dutch national identification cards or a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate issued to individuals 18 years of age or older are henceforth valid for ten (10) years.

Dutch passports or Dutch national identification cards issued to a minor (those under 18 years of age) are valid for five (5) years only.

Dutch passports and Dutch national identification cards must be applied for in person at any Netherlands embassy or consulate worldwide.  This is required by a European Union Regulation that all passports and identification cards of a member state must contain biometric data taken by the authorities of that member state when the new document is requested.

A Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate may be applied for via post from the Netherlands embassy or consulate in your geographic area.  There is no need to appear in person for the Bewijs.

While it is not a travel document, the Bewijs is confirmation that you hold Dutch nationality on the date the Bewijs was issued.  From its issuance date, a new 10-year period begins to run.

Always remember the 10-year rule and always keep your document up-to-date.  Do not let your document expire.  Also be sure to retain all of your original former Dutch passports, Dutch national identification cards and/or your Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificates.

Lastly, be aware that if you acquire a foreign nationality voluntarily by naturalization as an adult, the main rule is that you will automatically lose your Dutch nationality, unless you fall under one of the three (3) exceptions discussed above which entered into effect on 1 April 2003.

Therefore, it is good to remember that although you may be in possession of a valid Dutch document, you might have lost your Dutch nationality in the interim if you acquire a foreign nationality voluntarily and you don’t fall under one of the exceptions!  A Dutch passport is confirmation that you held Dutch nationality on the date the passport was issued.  A passport is merely a travel document.  A voluntary life event may have occurred in the meantime which resulted in the loss of your Dutch nationality.

If you have any concerns, contact the Netherlands embassy or consulate in your geographic area or contact the Immigratie- en Naturalisatie Dienst via e-mail at:  https://ind.nl/contact/Paginas/E-mail.aspx

In order to e-mail the IND, your question may only be written in Dutch or English.

You can also leave a question for The Indo Project below.  I’ll be happy to respond!

Paul Munsell is Dutch and American and owes his Dutch-Indonesian heritage to his Dutch mother and Opa, who was born in Banjarmasin (Borneo) and raised in Surabaya (Java).  Paul has intently studied Dutch nationality laws and regularly follows updates to any legislation regarding the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap.  You can follow his Facebook group specifically on Dutch nationality at:  Netherlands/Dutch Nationality Law Changes 2010 & Latent Dutch.

119 Comments on “Loss and Restoration of Dutch Nationality, version 2

  1. thank you for this article. I still have a question. My twin sister and I were conceived in Holland. I have an older brother who was born in Indonesia,(1953) a brother (1956) and a sister (1958) born in Holland and because of medical reasons, (my brother had severe asthma-had several convulsions) my family moved to California in July of 1961. My sister and I were born in February of 1962. We are now 57 years and I was wondering if we qualify for dual citizenship.

    • Hello. Place of birth (or conception) in the acquisition of NL nationality is irrelevant.
      However, you must provide a bit more information.
      1. Was your father an NL national on your date of birth (I’ll presume he was)?
      2. Did your father ever naturalize to a foreign nationality while you were a minor?
      3. With what nationality were you born with? (As you state you were born in the USA, you automatically acquired U.S. citizenship at birth, having been born on U.S., soil (jus soli)).
      4. We you living in your present country of nationality on 1 January 1995?

      If you were born a dual NL national and you lived in your country of present nationality on 1 January 1995, you would have lost your NL nationality on 1 January 1995 (i.e. 10 years after the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN)entered into effect on 1 January 1985).
      Under the former Artikel 15(c) explained in the article, NL nationality would automatically be lost by a dual NL national 1. who was living in his/her country of present nationality, and 2. who had reached the age of 28 years old. The loss of NL nationality would not enter into effect in this case before 1 January 1995.
      Hence, you lost your NL nationality as a dual NL national not residing in the Netherlands on 1 January 1995.
      However, you would have been able to make use of the one-time option procedure to have your lost NL nationality restored via option between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 as you had lost your NL nationality under RWN Artikel 15(c) from the limited facts you have presented in your question.
      Unfortunately, this one-time option procedure has since expired.

      • Hello Paul,

        I have a question regarding my eligibility in getting Dutch passports for myself and my children. I’m not sure where to post my question. Here is my history:

        I was born in the USA in January 1960
        My father was a Dutch immigrant and not yet an American citizen.
        When I turned 21 my father asked if I wanted Dutch citizenship; I declined since I would have had to give up my American citizenship.
        I moved overseas when I turned 23 (1983) for 15 years.
        My daughters were born in Jerusalem (1994 and 1996);
        They have US passports; and were only ever American citizens.
        We moved to Japan in 1996-1998
        We moved back to the US in 1998 where we have lived ever since.

        Many thanks in advance for your time and advice.

    • Hello Paul,

      I mistakenly posted my comment as a reply to someone else’s comment so I’m resending.

      Many thanks for all the information you provided above. However I have a question regarding my eligibility in getting Dutch passports for myself and my children. Here is my history:

      I was born in the USA in January 1960
      My father was a Dutch immigrant and not yet an American citizen. My mother was a British citizen. They became American citizens in 1961.
      When I turned 21 my father asked if I wanted Dutch citizenship; I declined since I would have had to give up my American citizenship.
      I moved overseas when I turned 23 (Sept. 1983), for 15 years.
      My daughters were born in Jerusalem (1994 and 1996);
      They have US passports; and were only ever American citizens.
      My husband is American.
      We moved to Japan in 1996 and lived there until May 1998.
      We moved back to the US in 1998 where we have lived ever since.

      Many thanks in advance for your time and advice.

  2. For the first time last year, I found myself renewing my passport and being given a 10 validity instead of the usual 5. Now I understand the reason why!

    • Hello. Even if your NL passport expired, as long as you were within the 10-year “window,” you would not have lost your NL nationality. NL passports were only valid for 5 years per statute until 9 March 2014. Beginning on 9 March 2014, all NL passports are henceforth valid for 10 years. NL passports issued to minors (i.e. those under 18 years of age) are still only valid for 5 years.

  3. Hi Paul,
    I live in the US and have a US passport. My NL passport expired in 2017, it was only valid for 5 years. Will I be able to obtain a new NL passport? Is the 10 year window from the year I left NL or when NL passport was provided or expired?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Julia.
      1. If your NL passport expired in 2017, it was issued in 2012, as prior to 9 March 2014, all NL passports were only valid for 5 years. Since 9 March 2014, all NL passports, NL national identification cards or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificates are valid for 10 years.
      2. As your NL passport expired in 2017, you have until 2022 to “renew” it. (2012 issue date + 5 year validity (as your NL passport was issued in 2012, it was only valid 5 years) = 2017 + 5 years (to be within the 10-year window) = 2022.
      3. If NL nationality is the only nationality you have, even if your NL passport expires you will not lose your NL nationality because otherwise you would be stateless. This is contrary to NL law and international law.
      4. Never let your NL passport expire if you are a dual NL national! A new NL passport, NL national identification card or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate must be requested AND received in hand (merely applying is not sufficient; you must actually receive the new document) must be “renewed” within 10 years from its issuance date (i.e. before the 10-year window expires).
      5. Remember, it is only if 1) you are a dual NL national and 2) you do NOT permanently reside in i. NL (including Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius, Saba), ii. Aruba, iii. Curacao iv. Sint Maarten or v. any other member state of the EU that the 10-year window will apply to you pursuant to the provisions for loss of NL nationality under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap, Hoofdstuk V (Verlies van het Nederlanderschap), Artikel 15 (1) c.
      You are still an NL national, but if you do not renew your NL passport by 2022 and you do NOT reside in one of the geographic areas hereabove referenced and you ARE a DUAL NL national, you will automatically lose your NL nationality by not renewing in a timely manner.
      Best regards.

  4. hey Guys,

    We have been batling with the dutch embassy about our passports from 2002 . I had never registered for one but my father had to renew his so i can get mine. Time passed mails were sent back and forth but at the end of the day dutch embassy concluded that my father was born out of wedlock since his parents married 2 years after his birth. At that time it was not clear what they wanted. Fast track to this year my father mother managed to get a traditional marriage certificate that proved my father was born in a marriage which was later convereted to a christian marriage two year after.
    Please advise will we both still fall under the 10 year term since all this time the embassy were not clearly letting us know what they need. ?

    Please note
    1.) My opa was born in the netherlands
    2.) My oma was born in kenya but of Ugandan descent and automatically got dutch ciztizenship upon marrying my opa in 1963(Christian marriage) and I believe she getting customary marriage certificate of 1961 (Just a few months before my fathers birth) that would have made her dutch in 1961 and not 1963 . Please elaborate on the law of marriage then

    My father passport expired in 1987 just before my birth and could not renew it as his father had passed on in 1981 and him being the eldest he had take care of his sibling. Far much in 2002 the rest of his siblings applied for passports at the embassy in Nairobi and were issued. To date he had issues .

    Kindly clarify would he fall under 10 year since he has expired dutch passport but was not born in kenya so he doesnt have kenyan nationality and has never lived in his country of birth uganda?He married my mother 1998

    NB:
    I also got 10 year problem but the whole delay was because of them

  5. You state your father’s NL passport expired in 1987 just before your birth.

    However, you do not give enough information.
    1. Did your father at that time in 1987 have another nationality?
    2. What was the nationality of your father on your date of birth and through your 18th birthday?
    3. With what nationality were you born in 1987?
    4. Did your father have a valid NL passport at any time from your date of birth through your 18th birthday?
    5. What was your mother’s nationality on your date of birth?
    6. Did your mother acquire any other nationality from your date of birth until you were 18 years old?
    7. What is your current nationality?
    8. Have you ever had an NL passport, a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate or NL national identification card?

    Please write short, concise, individual sentences. Please do not use a long paragraph with all the information.

    It is easier to have all the information listed on separate lines in order for me to be able to see how the events and years unfold.

    One thing you need to know is that under NL civil law at the time, if a Dutch father was married to a woman, but then this same Dutch man had a child out of wedlock with another woman, the child did not acquire the Dutch father’s nationality automatically as the Dutch father could not acknowledge the child as he was married to another woman.

    Additionally, if 1. at least 10 years has elapsed since your father’s last NL passport was issued and 2. he has resided continuously outside the Netherlands (including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten or any other member state of the European Union for those ten (10) years and 3. he has not applied for and received in hand a new NL passport, NL national identification card of Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate, then your father has lost his NL nationality definitively. Rijkwet op het Nederlanderschap, Hoofdstuk V (Verlies van het Nederlanderschap), Artikel 15 (1)c.

    In the hypothetical situation you were born in 1987 and in the hypothetical situation you were born with NL nationality, you turned 18 in 2005.

    If you were living for ten uninterrupted years outside of the geographic areas hereabove listed past age 18 and you never applied for and received in hand 1) an NL passport or 2) an NL national identification card or 3) a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate, then you definitively lost your NL nationality on your 28th birthday in 2015 under the same RWN, Artikel 15(1)c.
    [born 1987+18 years (age of majority)=2005 + 10 additional years = 2015/age 28.]

    However, as requested above, you need to provide more information.

    Regards.

    • Dear paul

      my apologies i did not noticed u replied

      1.) fathers passport expired 1987 december , i was born in april 1987
      2.) my father has never picked up another nationality
      3.) we reside in kenya my country of birth (and my mothers nationality and country of birth
      4.)My father was born in Uganda
      5 )Oma had married my opa on 1961 befor my fathers birth but it was later converetd to Christian 1963
      6)Rest of my fathers 10 siblings got there passports
      7.)Dad was born 1961 sept 16
      8.)I turned 28 2015 but we could not get customary marriage certified before then cz we didnt know embassy wants
      9)I was also born before marriage of my parents but both my sis and i were ackowldeged in a will dated 1993 when i was 6yrs
      10.)my oma has always remained dutch n resides isn Tiburg.
      11.) currently have a kenyan ID that i registred for 2009 (so i not done 10 yrs)or does this always count from 18yrs
      12.) Is there a way i can reinstate my dutch passport

      NB
      my father never picked up another nationality

      • You state your father never acquired any other nationality and has only had Dutch nationality.

        But you also state your father was born in Uganda and has not been able to renew his Dutch passport? Since December 1987? And you have never had a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate?

        So that means your father has been without any sort of passport since 1987 but all of his other siblings have Dutch passports?

        How can that be the situation for your father if Dutch nationality is the only nationality he had, meaning that it seems from what you are stating that the Dutch authorities are not issuing him with a Dutch passport up through now?

        If all documents are in order, a passport renewal is simple.

        Please note: the 10-year rule past age 18 (i.e by age 28) is an absolute rule in effect since 1 April 2003. RWN Artikel 15(1)c.

        Since 1 April 2003, under RWN (1985), Artikel 15(1)c a dual Dutch national not residing in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten or any other member state of the European Union will automatically lose Dutch nationality if, by age his/her 28th birthday (for a first-time request, i.e., upon 10 years after reaching the age of majority), he/she does not request:
        1) a Dutch passport; or
        2) a Dutch national identification; or
        3) a Dutch nationality certificate.

        Once a new document is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run as long as the dual Dutch national continues to reside continuously outside of these geographic areas. RWN (1985) Artikel 15(4).

        If your father has never acquired another nationality, it should not be that difficult for him to prove that he is not a Ugandan national or a Kenyan national. In that case, his Dutch passport renewal would be simple. If all documents are in order for passport renewal, there would be no reason for his Dutch passport not to be renewed.

        If he has some sort of foreigner identification card from those countries proving he does not have that nationality, then it seems peculiar he does not have a valid Dutch passport now. You seem to be stating he has been unsuccessful through now of being able to renew his last Dutch passport, which expired in December 1987 from what you are stating.

        Your issue is that it seems your father acknowledged you in a will after your birth at age 6 from what you have stated. That is not the same thing as acknowledging you formally as his child on your birth certificate or in the Netherlands under specific Dutch law provisions.

        Just because he acknowledged you in a will when you turned 6 does not mean under Dutch law you were born with Dutch nationality because your father had Dutch nationality in 1987. From what you are stating, you have only ever had Kenyan nationality. Your father’s latter acknowledgment of you merely by a will is not the same thing as formal acknowledgment of a child at a latter date which would confer Dutch nationality on the child.

        Further, written correspondence back and forth with any of the Dutch authorities with regard to obtaining documents would not stop this 10-year clock from running if you ever had Dutch nationality in the first place. The Dutch law is very clear: the document has to have been 1) requested and 2) approved before 3) the 10-year period expires. By age 28 for the first-time request and then once every 10 years after that if the individual resides outside the Netherlands or the other geographic areas mentioned.

        You may wish to contact a Dutch immigration attorney.

        Also, in 2015 the Dutch authorities would have clearly indicated the documents your father would need to submit for a Dutch passport application. There seems to be an issue on their part with the “acknowledgment” issue of yourself at age 6 in a simple will. That would mean you were not born with Dutch nationality at all and never acquired it through your father to begin with.

        Please note this is not legal advice.

  6. Interesting subject. Let me tell you what happened to a Dutch Indo KNIL man. He served the KNIL in the Dutch East Indies when he became 17 years. He was active in the 1st and 2nd politionele actions on the island of Sumatra and Java. He did belong to the group Indische Nederlanders who got fired from the KNIL, when Indonesia became independent. After a tense situation, whereby the Indo soldiers were ready to fight against the Dutch, it was decided that the Indo Knil men and spouses were sent to Nieuw Guinea. In between, a large group of soldiers were sent als KL soldiers to the war in Korea. This KNIL man was also chosen by the Dutch. He was shot but survived and came back to the Netherlands. A couple of month later the Dutch government took his Dutch Nationality and passport and told him and 10 others that they do not belong in the Netherlands, and will be send back to Indonesia. These ex-Knil men fought for the Dutch and at the end they lost their Dutch Nationality. The 11 men fought in court for 2 years and at the end the got re-instated. This Dutch Indo is a good friend of mine, lives in Arnhem at the age of 90 years. He was for many years a guide at Bronbeek. His name is William (Bo) Keller.

  7. Hi,

    My brother was born in the Netherlands in 1958 to dutch parents – who immigrated to South Africa in 1967 – when he was 9. After completing his studies at age 22 he was forced to go into military service in South Africa – and was threatened that he would not receive his teacher’s salary if he did not obtain SA citizenship, which he then reluctantly had to do. His sons born in Soth Africa in 1983 and 1986 now wish to apply for Dutch passports. Are they eligible?

  8. You state your brother was born an NL national in 1958.
    You further state your brother and his parents immigrated to South Africa when he was 9 years old.
    You also state that at age 22 your brother acquired South African citizenship.
    That would have been in 1980 (born 1958 + 22 years = 1980). That was the year in which your brother would automatically have lost his NL nationality, whether or not he was aware or did not wish to by virtue of the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (WNI (1892), which entered into effect on 1 July 1893 and was the law until 31 December 1984.
    On 1 January 1985, the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN) entered into effect, thereby replacing the WNI (1892).
    The general legal principle under Netherlands nationality law has always been that dual nationality must be restricted as much as possible, both in the interests of the State as in the individual.
    Pursuant to WNI Artikel 7, sub-clause 4, your brother, by having served in the armed forces of a foreign country, would automatically lose NL nationality. The text reads in Dutch: “Nederlanderschap wordt verloren door zonder Ons verlof zich te begeven in vreemde krijgs- of staatsdienst” (“Netherlands nationality shall be lost by serving in a foreign army or in the civil service of another country without Our permission.”).
    Moreover, WNI Artikel 7, sub-clause 1 also reiterates that naturalizing to a foreign nationality will automatically result (by operation of law) in the loss of NL nationality (“Nederlanderschap wordt verloren door naturalisatie in een ander land of, voor zoveel een minderjarige betreft, door het deelachtig worden van een andere nationaliteit door de naturalisatie in een ander land hetzij van de vader, hetzij van de moeder, naar de in artikel 1, eerste lid, onder a en c, of artikel 1bis gemaakte onderscheidingen.”).
    While your brother’s sons’ roots are clearly Dutch on their father’s side, they were unable to acquire a nationality which your brother no longer held under law, i.e. Netherlands nationality.
    Hence, his two sons born in 1983 and 1986 did not acquire Netherlands nationality at birth as their father no longer held it on their dates of birth, having acquired a foreign nationality in 1980/at age 22.

  9. Hi
    My father’s NL parents immigrated to South-Africa in 1937.
    *He was born 16/03/1938 in South Africa.
    He did compulsory military service in South Africa(+/- 1960) before he married my NL mother in 1964.
    1) When did my father loose his NL nationality?
    at age 31? Or
    when he did compulsory military service -without asking Dutch authority ?

    *I was born 25/11/1968 in South Africa
    My children were born *30/06/1992
    *02/02/1994
    * 02/01/1997
    Non of us ever applied for NL passports.

    I assume I was born a dual national

    I would like to know
    2) The exact date I lost my NL nationality?

    3) if I live in NL for a year can I get NL again?

    3) were my children born with dual nationality?
    If not- why specifically not?
    If yes-when will expire?28?

    #My mother was born in NL *19/01/1944
    They immigrated to South Africa in 1951. My mother has dual nationality and has her NL passport.
    4) Can any of my children claim NL nationality through my mother?

    #my son is going to work in NL from 2020.
    5) Will he be able to use my NL ancestry to gain NL nationality faster?

    Thank you for you very informative and thorough explanations. Indeed it is complicated.

    **************

    • Hello.

      1) When did my father loose his NL nationality? at age 31? Or when he did compulsory military service -without asking Dutch authority?
      The day he performed military service in South Africa and did not have official permission to do so as far as the Netherlands was concerned.
      2) The exact date I lost my NL nationality?
      You never have had NL nationality nor are in possession of it through today.
      3) Were my children born with dual nationality?
      No as you do not have it and have never had it based on the facts you have shared.

      Firstly, there is no such thing as “ancestry” acquisition of Dutch nationality via a Dutch citizen grandparent at all under Dutch nationality law. Under UK law, for example, such a possibility does exist in certain circumstances but never under Dutch nationality law.

      Dutch nationality is acquired via the direct ascending parent and only depending on whether the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 or on or subsequent to 1 January 1985.

      Therefore, as you have done, it is always very important that when individuals state my father or mother is Dutch, that necessarily specifically must mean the father or the mother held Dutch nationality on the child’s date of birth (and not just in a cultural sense).

      Your facts have been very specific. Thank you.

      I presume your father also had South African nationality when he did his compulsory military service there, or he had to acquire it in order to do it. It is my understanding that your father would have had to have South African nationality in order to do his South African military service, in which case he lost his Dutch nationality automatically: WNI (1892) Artikel 7(4).

      As stated, if your father acquired South African nationality voluntarily, he would have automatically lost his Dutch nationality at the time pursuant to the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap WNI Artikel 7, sub-clause 4: “Nederlanderschap wordt verloren door zonder Ons verlof zich te begeven in vreemde krijgs- of staatsdienst” (“Netherlands nationality shall be lost by serving in a foreign army or in the civil service of another country without Our permission.”).

      You thus did not acquire Dutch nationality through your father in 1968. He no longer held it under Dutch law on your date of birth in 1968, having lost it much earlier when he did his military service in 1960 approximately.

      Your father was unable to transmit a nationality to you which he himself no longer held and despite his Dutch citizen parents.

      You state your mother has dual South African nationality and Dutch nationality and that she has “dual nationality and has her NL passport.”

      But you have not specifically stated when that Dutch passport was issued. You would need to clarify that with a specific date.

      If that Dutch passport was issued prior to 9 March 2014 to your mother, it would only have been valid for 5 years from date of issue. Starting 9 March 2014, all Dutch passports and national identification cards are valid for 10 years from date of issue.

      You did not acquire Dutch nationality through your mother at birth. As specifically stated in the summary article, it was only starting on 1 January 1985 when the WNI (1892) was replaced entirely by the Rijkwet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) that Dutch nationality is henceforth acquired either via the Dutch citizen father or Dutch citizen mother. RWN (1985) Artikel 3.

      Only in a few exceptional circumstances could the Dutch citizen mother transmit her Dutch nationality to the child prior to 1 January 1985 when the WNI (1892) was in effect. Those circumstances do not apply to you from the facts you have stated.

      Place of birth in the acquisition of Dutch nationality is irrelevant both under the former WNI (1892) and the present RWN (1985).

      Hence, you were not born with Dutch nationality at all through your mother even if she was in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth and on account of the reason stated hereabove.

      Thus, in turn, neither were your children Dutch nationals either on their date of birth and through today. Neither your mother, nor you were able to transmit Dutch nationality in succession. You did not have it on your children’s dates of birth:
      1) you were born prior to 1 January 1985; and
      2) your father was known and had the same nationality you had: South African.

      The Dutch nationality of your mother was irrelevant in 1968 in your case.

      Another question: at what age did your mother acquire South African nationality?

      In order to correct this disparity between men and women in the transmittal of Dutch nationality to the child and to allow the children only whose Dutch mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth AND the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 is it henceforth possible for this “Latent Dutch” parent to obtain Dutch nationality via option.

      This option possibility has only been in effect commencing on 1 October 2010.

      There is no expiry in which for you (only) to apply for the Latent Dutch option. You may do so at any time provided you obtain every required document (depending on country of nationality).

      More information may be obtained at the official link from the Rijksoverheid below:
      https://www.netherlandsworldwide.nl/living-working/becoming-a-dutch-citizen/option-procedure

      As your children are all above age, all having reached the age of majority which is 18 under Dutch law since 1 January 1988, they could not opt to have Dutch nationality until you would acquire Dutch nationality first.

      What is important to remember is that you were not born a Dutch national for the legal reasons above. If your Latent Dutch application is approved provided all official documents, issued no earlier than one (1) year prior to submittal, are accepted; you will only ever be considered Dutch from the date your option is approved and only after you have attended the mandatory ceremony during which you take the “Verklaring van Verbondenheid” (Oath of Allegiance).

      You may retain your South African nationality under the option. You do not have to speak, read and write Dutch in order to receive Dutch nationality via option.

      1) You state your mother has dual South African nationality and Dutch nationality and that she has “dual nationality and has her NL passport.” But you have not specifically stated when that Dutch passport was issued. You would need to clarify that with a specific date.
      2) Has your mother always had a valid Dutch passport her entire life or always been able to obtain one?
      3) At what age did your mother naturalize South African? You state she was born in the Netherlands. But having been born in the Netherlands is per se irrelevant for her to have acquired Dutch nationality. She solely acquired her Dutch nationality through her own Dutch national father in 1944 and not because she was born in the Netherlands. WNI (1892) Artikel 1.

      You may wish to join my Facebook Group:Netherlands/Dutch Nationality Law Changes 2010 & Latent Dutch.

      I have compiled a common list of questions and answers below.

      You do not need to enlist the services of a Dutch immigration attorney in order to submit the option request. But you do need all the required documents and those documents may not be older than one (1) year from date of issue and they must all have an apostille (as you are a South African national).

      Any official documents issued by the Netherlands authorities which you will need for your option application do not require apostilles.

      Best regards.
      ==========================================
      I have written the following general Questions and Answers with regard to the Latent Dutch option for you. I hope this helps people. Best regards.
      ====================================
      LATENT DUTCH (LATENTE NEDERLANDER) OPTION (date of implementation: 1 October 2010)

      Who are Latent Dutch (“Latente Nederlanders”)? What does this term mean?
      Latent Dutch are children of:
      1. mothers who were in possession of Dutch nationality on their dates of birth; and
      2. whose fathers were not in possession of Dutch nationality on their dates of birth; and
      3. who were born prior to 1 January 1985.
      Prior to 1 January 1985, it was not possible for the Dutch mother to transmit her Dutch nationality to the child (i.e. via the maternal line). At the time, Dutch nationality was acquired solely through the Dutch father (i.e. via the patrilineal line), barring a few exceptional circumstances which existed at the time where the child would have acquired Dutch nationality through the Dutch mother.

      A child did not acquire Dutch nationality automatically at birth merely by having been born in the Netherlands. Dutch nationality was acquired via the Dutch father only prior to 1 January 1985 (barring a few exceptional circumstances as stated) or via the Dutch father or Dutch mother on or subsequent to 1 January 1985. Place of birth is irrelevant.

      Place of birth in the Netherlands did not guarantee Dutch nationality was/is acquired automatically. The Netherlands follows the acquisition of Dutch nationality via the direct ascending bloodline of the Dutch parent (by the father prior to 1 January 1985 or via either Dutch parent on or subsequent to 1 January 1985 and through the present). This is called via “jus sanguinis” (Latin: law of the blood).

      Has the Latent Dutch option always existed?
      No. The Latent Dutch option has only been in effect since 1 October 2010.

      What are the requirements in order to apply for the acquisition of Dutch nationality under the Latent Dutch option?
      All statutory conditions MUST be met; no exceptions:
      1. You were born prior to 1 January 1985; AND
      2. Your mother was in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth (Please note: merely stating your mother was Dutch may not mean she had Dutch nationality on your date of birth (you must be able to prove this)). Your mother must have formally held Dutch nationality on your date of birth. If she lost her Dutch nationality after your date of birth, this fact is irrelevant.

      On the contrary, if your mother once had Dutch nationality in the past but she was no longer in possession of it under Dutch nationality law on your date of birth, you were technically not born of a Dutch mother and you do not qualify.
      Why not? Because it is not possible under Dutch nationality law for you to acquire the Dutch nationality your mother no longer had on your date of birth); AND
      3. Your father was not in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth (you must be able to prove this); AND
      4. You have never been in possession of Dutch nationality because you acquired Dutch nationality in the past via any other past option procedure and subsequently lost Dutch nationality (such as during the temporary option period which existed between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 December 1987 because 1. You had not yet reached the age of 21 and 2. Your mother was still in possession of Dutch nationality on the date you submitted this option application); AND
      5. You do not currently have any pending legal proceedings against you and in which you must pay a fine of approximately EUR 810.00. This includes:
      – In the 5 years prior to option application up to the moment that the decision has been made, you have not been convicted or sentenced to a conditional discharge in the Netherlands or abroad for a crime. This includes:
      – Every custodial sentence (incl. prison sentence), regardless of the duration of the sentence.
      – An alternative sanction (incl. training or community service), regardless of the duration of the sentence.
      – Every financial penalty (incl. fines, transactions or confiscation orders) of €810 or more.
      The 5 year-term starts counting from the moment that you:
      – Have concluded any custodial sentence.
      – Have paid any financial penalty completely.
      – Have not committed further offences within the term set by court in the context of a conditional discharge. (Source: Rijksoverheid)
      If you do not fulfill all of these requirements, then you are not Latent Dutch or are not eligible to apply for Dutch nationality under the Latent Dutch option. No exceptions.

      Is my place of birth relevant?
      No. It does not matter in which country you were born in order to apply for the Latent Dutch option.

      Is there a cost involved?
      Yes. You must pay for the option procedure. The amount is set by the Dutch government annually.
      The gemeente/township or Royal Netherlands embassy or consulate or Cabinet of the Governor where you submit your application will have this cost clearly posted. The fee is non-refundable.
      Most Royal Netherlands embassies or consulates abroad accept payment by cash, VISA/Mastercard and Chipkaart (depending).

      Does this Latent Dutch option period expire?
      No. This Latent Dutch option has no expiry date in which to apply. You may do so at any time either 1. in the Netherlands (if you currently reside there legally) or 2. in the country of which you are a national and where you currently reside or 3. in the country of your present residence or 4. at the Cabinet of the Governor in Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten.

      Where do I apply?
      If you reside in the Netherlands, at the gemeente/township in which you legally are registered and reside; or
      – at either the Royal Netherlands embassy or consulate in your home country where you permanently reside; or
      – in the foreign country in which you permanently reside; or
      – at the Cabinet of the Governor of Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten if you live there.

      Must I submit my application in person?
      Yes and by prior appointment. Contact the location where you will submit the application.
      You may not submit the application by mail.
      Will all official documentation in support of my Latent Dutch option application be returned to me?
      Yes. However, all copies will be retained by the gemeente/township or Royal Netherlands embassy or consulate or Cabinet of the Governor where you submit your application.
      Your official documentation will either be returned to you at the time you submit your Latent Dutch application in person or during the mandatory ceremony.

      Must my official documentation be certified?
      There are certain nuances to what “certified” and “apostille” mean.
      – If your current country of nationality is a signatory to the Hague Convention/Convention de La Haye), an apostille is not necessary but certification is.
      -If your current country of nationality is not a signatory to the Hague Convention/Convention de La Haye), an apostille will be required.
      – All official documents issued by the Netherlands authorities (such as, e.g., birth certificates, parents’ wedding certificates which took place in the Netherlands), copies of a persoonskaart, certificate of deregistration from the Netherlands) do not require any certification or apostille: they are documents issued by the Netherlands authorities!).
      All official documents must have been issued by the relevant authorities less than one (1) from the date your Latent Dutch option application is submitted.

      When and where will I be able to apply for a Netherlands passport or national identification card?
      You will have the opportunity to apply for the Netherlands passport or national identification card (or both) at the conclusion of the mandatory ceremony or at a future date of your choosing. You must apply in person so that biometric can be taken (European Union directive which applies to all EU member states barring the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland).
      The processing time for either document will depend on the location where you attend the mandatory ceremony.

      Must I renounce my current nationality if the country of which I am a national provides for renouncement of citizenship when acquiring a foreign nationality or the country of which I hold the nationality does not provide for renouncement of my current nationalilty(ies) in the event my Latent Dutch option is approved?
      No. Dutch nationality law allows you to retain your current nationality when you acquire Dutch nationality via the Latent Dutch option (or any other option, barring one (1) specific case).
      You do not have to “choose” either to have Dutch nationality or the foreign nationality under Dutch law.
      In this case, it is the country of your current nationality which is relevant and whether or not it will allow you under its nationality law to hold a second nationality or nationalities (in this case: to acquire Dutch nationality and retain your current nationality).

      May I apply for the Latent Dutch option if my parents are deceased?
      Yes. You may apply for the Latent Dutch option if 1. the Latent Dutch parent himself/herself is deceased or 2. you have a father who was not Latent Dutch is deceased and your Dutch mother is still alive or 3. both parents (I.e. the Latent Dutch parent and the non-Latent parent) are deceased.
      However, you must be able to provide copies of their respective birth certificates and prove their nationalities on your date of birth and how the Latent Dutch mother herself was a Dutch national by descent in order for you to be eligible for the Latent Dutch option for example.
      If your parents were married on your date of birth, you must submit an official copy of their wedding certificate.
      In certain circumstances you may be required to prove the Dutch nationality of your paternal and maternal grandparents. The gemeente/township or Royal Netherlands embassy or consulate or the Cabinet of the Governor of Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten can provide this information.

      May my minor age children (children under 18 years of age) receive Dutch nationality if I opt for Dutch nationality under the Latent Dutch option?
      Yes.
      Minor-aged children may share in the option application of the Latent Dutch parent provided their names are specifically mentioned in your Latent Dutch application AND they legally reside in the Netherlands. RWN Artikel 6(1)i-j.
      If your minor aged children are not specifically mentioned in your Latent Dutch application at the time of submittal, it is because you reside abroad (i.e. outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands).
      (However, cases are known in which minor-aged children were allowed to be included on the Latent Dutch parent’s option request. There seems to be some inconsistency in this provision.)
      In this case, you may apply for them to receive Dutch nationality after you have acquired Dutch nationality via this Latent Dutch option. RWN Artikel 6(1)k.

      May adult children (children age 18 or above) acquire Dutch nationality under the Latent Dutch option?
      Yes as the optee is the legal child of the Latent Dutch parent (i.e. this individual is the Latent Dutch optee’s child by descent) provided 1) the Latent Dutch parent of this (now) adult child has first already acquired Dutch nationality himself/herself via the Latent Dutch option; or 2) the Latent Dutch parent has passed away before being able to acquire Dutch nationality via this Latent Dutch option. RWN Artikel 6(1)k.
      This means the Latent Dutch parent acquired or could have acquired Dutch nationality under the Latent Dutch options under RWN Artikel 6(1)i-j. The child (minor age or adult 18 or over) may opt for Dutch nationality via option when: 1) the Latent Dutch parent has already acquired Dutch nationality as a Latent Dutch optee; or 2) the Latent Dutch parent could have acquired Dutch nationality in the past via this Latent Dutch option but passed away before he/she was able to do so.

      May adopted children apply by means of the Latent Dutch option?
      Yes. There are some specific Latent Dutch option possibilities with regard to an adopted child and the possibility for him/her to apply for Dutch nationality via the Latent Dutch option. However, they have not been explained in detail on this post.

      At what point will I be in possession of Dutch nationality?
      You will be in possession of Dutch nationality on the date your option request has been formally approved and you have attended the mandatory ceremony (perhaps this ceremony is held at a later date) and organized either by the gemeente/township in the Netherlands in which you legally reside or at the Royal Netherlands embassy or consulate in the country in which you reside or at the Cabinet of the Governor and where your Latent Dutch application was submitted.
      The formal receipt of Dutch nationality will officially revert to the date in which the option is approved (hence only after you have attended the mandatory ceremony).
      This means that even if your Latent Dutch application is approved, you are only in possession of Dutch nationality on the date the option is approved because you have attended the mandatory ceremony after said approval and taken the oath of allegiance (Verklaring van Verbondenheid).

      When is a mandatory ceremony held?
      This depends on the location where the Latent Dutch option was submitted. On 15 December at least a mandatory ceremony must be held.
      Throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands (the European portion of the Netherlands and the Western Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) and in Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten or at the gemeente/township in the Netherlands where you legally reside or at the respective Royal Netherlands Embassy or consulate where you submitted the option request or at the Cabinet of the Governor in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten must, by law, hold at least one ceremony per year: on Koningsdag (15 December).
      You will have up to one year from the date your Latent Dutch option application has been approved to attend the mandatory ceremony.
      If you do not attend the mandatory ceremony within one (1) year following approval of the Latent Dutch option application, you will have to recommence the entire process.

      Does the Latent Dutch option have retroactive effect to the day I was born?
      No, because current Dutch nationality law cannot undue the situation in effect on your date of birth (namely that your mother was unable to transmit her Dutch nationality to your prior to 1 January 1985, barring a few exceptional circumstances which existed at the time under Dutch nationality law).
      Under the current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap, the law has NO retroactive effect (“GEEN terugwerkende kracht”). [Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap Artikel 2.]
      You will only formally be in possession of Dutch nationality on the date your option is approved and going forward in time only.
      This also means that any children either of age or still minors did not acquire Dutch nationality on your date of birth (because you yourself were not in possession of Dutch nationality on their dates of birth. If you were, there would be no need for this Latent Dutch option!).

      More information and regarding the official documentation I will need to submit?
      Please see the official Dutch government websites below (Rijksoverheid). The documentation varies depending on the country in which you submit your Latent Dutch option application:
      1. Nederlands: https://www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/…/nederlander-worden-met…
      2. English: https://www.netherlandsworldwide.nl/…/beco…/option-procedure
      3. Deutsch: https://www.niederlandeweltweit.nl/…/erwerb-der-niederlandi…
      4. Français: https://www.paysbasmondial.nl/…/optieverklaring—acquerir-…
      5. Español (Castellano): https://www.paisesbajosmundial.nl/…/optieverklaring—decla…
      6 Português: https://www.holandanomundo.nl/…/requisicao-para-se-tornar-c…
      What are the acceptable languages for all documentation?
      All official documentation with regard to the Latent Dutch option request may be submitted without official translations in:
      Nederlands;
      English;
      Deutsch; or
      Français.
      For official documents in Papiamento or Papiamentu, contact the Dutch authorities where you will submit your Latent Dutch application.
      For any other official documentation you must submit the original document in the respective language and an official translation completed and signed by a certified translator. There are cases where documents in Afrikaans were accepted without an official translation into Dutch.
      The translation may not be an informal translation.

      How long will the option process take?
      Pursuant to Dutch law, the option process may take up to 13 weeks by which a decision must be made. An additional 13 weeks may be added in the event more documentation is required for a total one-half year (26 weeks).
      You may appeal the decision in the event your Latent Dutch option application is not approved. All information regarding the appeal process will be duly stated on the decision. You will have a time limit in which to lodge a formal appeal of the negative decision.

      What is the difference between option and naturalization? Don’t they mean the same thing?
      No.
      Think of applying for Dutch nationality via option as the fact that, already under Dutch nationality law, you have the right to acquire Dutch nationality because legal provisions have changed which did not exist at the time you were born and which precluded you from acquiring Dutch nationality automatically.
      Acquisition of Dutch nationality by option is called “Verkrijging van het Nederlanderschap door optie.” Options are dealt with in a separate section of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap under RWN Artikel 6 mostly.
      Barring one specific circumstances, when you receive Dutch nationality via option, you are never obligated to renounce you current nationality. Why not? Because you have the right, under Dutch law, to Dutch nationality.
      Acquisition of Dutch nationality automatically is also called “Verkrijging van het Nederlanderschap van rechtswege” under RWN Artikel 3.
      For the option, all you need to do is submit the required documents. If you have submitted all the documentation and they are in order with the law, then your option will not be refused.
      On the contrary, naturalization differs in that the applicant does not have a specific right to acquire Dutch nationality. Sure the applicant, after fulfilling all the legal requirements for naturalization and submitting all the requisite documents, can apply to be naturalized, but this decision can, in a certain way, be refused.

      Naturalization in Dutch is called “Verlening” and not just “naturalisatie” under RWN Artikel 8. It is the sovereign who, in theory, confers Dutch nationality to the applicant via the respective minister. Naturalization is confirmed by a Royal Decision (Koninklijk Besluit/KB). The sovereign could refuse to confer/bestow Dutch nationality on you (but, of course, this is purely theoretical; nevertheless, there must be a distinction in the wording between “verlening” and “Verkrijging”).
      With naturalization, however, the general rule is that the applicant/naturalisandus must renounce his/her former nationality in order to acquire Dutch nationality provided his/her country of former nationality allows this. There are other instances when one is not required to renounce his/her former nationality when acquiring Dutch nationality via naturalization because, for example, he/she is married to a Dutch national or in a registered civil partnership with one and which complies with Dutch legal requirements with regard to registered civil partnerships (geregistreerd partnerschap).
      Other cases are that certain countries’ nationality laws do not permit renouncing that country’s nationality. Several of these countries include: Turkey, Morocco, Greece, Argentina. Nevertheless, that should not preclude the individual from acquiring Dutch nationality via naturalization. After all, the applicant cannot help that his/her country will not allow him/her to renounce that nationality.

      Must I speak, read and write Dutch in order to apply for Dutch nationality via the Latent Dutch option possibility?
      No. Not via the Latent Dutch option application.

      However, you must in order to acquire Dutch nationality via naturalization, and the applicant/naturalisandus who wishes to acquire Dutch nationality via naturalization must also pass the mandatory Dutch civic integration examination, unless he/she is exempt (if he/she fulfills one of the conditions under which he/she would be exempt from taking and passing this examination (not listed here)).

      Neither the Dutch language requirement, nor the civic integration examination is required from Latent Dutch optees.

  10. Hi Paul,

    Born in U.S. in ’88 to Dutch citizen father married at time of birth to non-dutch mother. Parents nor I (wasnt aware i could) ever obtained or applied for dutch passport/citizenship certification. I still reside in U.S (birth country) and presently hold U.S citizenship. Father passed in ’09 (having never held U.S citizenship ever) and I became very curious about my dutch roots and pursuing dutch nationality (obtaing dual nationality ideally) as I now have small child and husband here in U.S. Now at the age of 31 am I elgible to apply for dutch citizinship via “by birth-dutch by law” since i’ve never held a dutch passport of certification?Or did I unknowingly obtian NL citizenship from birth to 28 yrs of age and then unknowingly lost it on my 28th birthday and can only go about regaining it by way of ‘option’ which requires that I reside in NL for a one year period and then apply for naturalisation. And 1) do you happen to have insight as to relative cost for pursuing this ‘option’ route if that is what I must resort to.
    2) How would get authorization to live in NL for 1 year period while holding a US passport?
    Would my child (and husband, potentially) be allowed to reside in NL with me during that 1year period as well? (They both are U.S. citizens as well. )
    Any guidance is greatly appreciated!

    • You state you were born in 1988. Your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth. Your mother was not a Dutch national.
      You were born a Dutch national automatically as your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth. Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 3.
      Place of birth is irrelevant.
      Never having had a Dutch passport of Dutch nationality certificate would not have changed that fact.
      You have lost your Dutch nationality over the course of time.
      Since 1 April 2003, RWN Artikel 15(1)c stipulates that any dual Dutch national not residing in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten or any other member state of the European Union will automatically lose Dutch nationality if, upon 10 years after reaching the age of majority (age of majority is 18 in the Netherlands + 10 years = age 28) for a first time request, the individual does not apply for and receive:
      1) a Dutch passport; or
      2) a Dutch national identification card; or
      3) a Dutch nationality certificate/Verklaring Nederlandse nationaliteit by age 28.

      Once a new document is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run for as long as the individual resides permanently outside of those geographic areas. RWN Artikel 15(4).

      You therefore lost your Dutch nationality by operation of law on your 28th birthday in 2016 if your Dutch father never acquired another nationality whilst you were under 18.

      It is incorrect to state you opt for Dutch nationality by naturalization. Option and naturalization are not the same thing.

      As it seems you are a former Dutch national who was not born (‘geboren’) and raised in the Netherlands (‘getogen’ means you were raised in the Netherlands up to the point of having received at least one-half of your primary education in the Netherlands), you are ineligible for the Wedertoelating visa if you live in your country of other nationality.

      You would need to apply for and receive this visa in another country or in the Netherlands. After one year of continuous legal residence in the Netherlands, you would be able to have your lost Dutch nationality reinstated by option and retain your other nationality.

      For this visa, you would also have to demonstrate effective ties to the Netherlands, such as having worked as a civil servant on behalf of the Netherlands overseas, having gone to school in the Netherlands for a period of time determined by the IND or other objective criteria determined by the IND. Merely having had Dutch nationality in the past is not sufficient.

      The Wedertoelating visa is automatically issued to former Dutch nationals who were born and raised in the Netherlands regardless of residency in the current country of nationality. The requirements for the visa to be issued to former Dutch nationals who only acquired Dutch nationality by having been born abroad and had a Dutch parent (“afstamming”) is more difficult.

      You could also try to obtain a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose to reside in the Netherlands, such as paid employment. For that, you may wish to contact the IND via its website. As stated, after one year of continuous legal residence in the Netherlands with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose, you could opt to have Dutch nationality restored via option. During the entire process, your long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose must always be valid.

      Naturalization may not be done if one is residing in one’s country of nationality. That is longstanding Dutch public policy. Naturalization is a longer process.

      You may only naturalize in the Netherlands or in a third country. In a third country, you would still have to fulfill all the criteria equating to residing in the Netherlands, i.e. you would need to prove you would have been able to secure a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose in order to reside in the Netherlands. You would also have to renounce your current nationality, unless you fall under one of the exceptions (not listed here). You would also be required to take the Dutch civic integration examination and Dutch language examination with naturalization (unless you fall under the exemptions; not listed here). The tests are not a requirement when opting.

  11. Good day,

    Thank you for a very insightful piece.

    I fall under the “Option 2” category as I was born outside the Netherlands, assumed that nationality and lived in said country uninterrupted (and still do) for at least 10 years. But I have never been issued with any Passport / ID / Certificate.

    You make mention that:
    This Stage 2 option window began on 1 April 2003 (implementation date of Stage 2) and ended on 31 March 2005.

    Does this mean that if I missed the expiration of March 2005, I forever forfeit to reinstate my Dutch Nationality?

    • You would need to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose in order to take up residency in the Netherlands (such as paid employment or family reunification; the term family reunification is defined by the Netherlands Immigratie- en Naturalisatie Dienst/IND. After one year of uninterrupted legal residence in the Netherlands you could request your lost Dutch nationality to be reinstated via option.
      Or you could naturalize in the Netherlands after fulfilling all the statutory requirements for naturalization. That information you can find online on the official Rijksoverheid websites.
      It is not possible to naturalize Dutch if one is residing in one’s current country of nationality.
      In your specific case, there is currently no possibility for you to opt to have your lost Dutch nationality reinstated under the specific conditions/circumstances which described the Stage 2 option procedure. The temporary Stage 2 option window expired on 31 March 2005.

  12. Good day

    Would you be able to provide some guidance or recommend who my mother and myself can speak to help with obtaining Dutch nationality. Both my oupa and ouma were Dutch citizens that moved to SA before 1960. My mother was however born in SA in 1960 and her parents failed to ever register her foreign birth or apply for a passport. Unfortunately the same applies to myself and my brother as my mother never knew the Dutch laws. I was born in 1988 and my brother in 1986. My mother obtained all the necessary documentation and we applied for nationality. The Dutch Kingdom informed us that we obtained Dutch Nationality but lost it as a result of the 2005 law. I think it’s unfair because of my mothers lack of knowledge of the laws that I have never been able to obtain Dutch as nationality since birth.

    Apparently there was a recent court case effecting loss of Dutch nationality and can now be reinstated.

    Any advice or whether our case would be worth taking to an immigration lawyer, if so, who?

    Regards

    Ash

    • Hello Ash.
      May I ask you to provide more specific information please?
      1) What is the nationality of your father?

      Point 1) your mother obtained Dutch nationality automatically through her Dutch citizen father at the time as she was born prior to 1 January 1985. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap WNI (1892) Artikel 1. Her father was in possession Dutch nationality on her date of birth.

      Prior to 1 January 1985, it was not possible for the Dutch citizen mother to transmit her Dutch nationality to the child barring a few exceptional circumstances which I have not listed her and do not apply to your mother’s situation from the facts you have shared. This is explained in the summary article.

      -Your mother’s Dutch citizen’s mother’s (your maternal Oma) nationality would in this case be irrelevant.
      -Your mother’s place of birth in South Africa would also be irrelevant.
      -The fact your mother’s Dutch citizen father never registered her or that your mother never acquired a Dutch passport in the past are irrelevant with regard to how she lost her Dutch nationality: she was born with Dutch nationality automatically as cited through her Dutch citizen father at the time as her parents were married and her father (your maternal Opa) was in possession of Dutch nationality on her date of birth in 1960. Registration or non-registration to the Dutch authorities in South Africa would not have changed this fact.

      Since your mother was born in South Africa in 1960, it is my understanding she automatically acquired South African nationality at birth under the laws of South Africa.

      Your mother hence acquired both South African and Dutch nationality on her date of birth (through her Dutch citizen father) in 1960.

      Could you share the exact reason why you (born 1988) and your brother (born 1986) were denied Dutch nationality in 2005? Please do not share your addresses and other personal information such as the name of your mother, etc. if they are quoted in the reason in order to maintain you and your brother’s anonymity/privacy.

      However, from the facts you have stated, I can also already confirm you and your brother have lost your Dutch nationality.

      The unfortunate fact your mother was unaware of the Dutch nationality law may not be invoked as an affirmative defense under law. That would be the opinion of the Dutch authorities. I’m merely repeating it here.

      It is not specifically correct that you and your brother lost your Dutch nationality “as a result of the 2005 law.” There was no 2005 law.

      The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap provisions for loss of Dutch nationality (“verliesbepaling”) which existed since 1 January 1985 under Artikel 15 (for adults over 18 years of age) were revised in February 2001. It is not the year 2005 specifically or some 2005 law.

      It is the exact date of 31 March 2005 which is necessary to clarify to you as you will see below.

      This was the end date of a temporary option period (1 April 2003 – 31 March 2005) to have lost Dutch nationality restored via option for those former Dutch nationals who lost Dutch nationality whether or not they were aware they ever had Dutch nationality to begin with or whether or not they had a valid Dutch passport under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c (on the date they automatically lost Dutch nationality) because:
      1) they were born in their current country of nationality: and
      2) upon reaching the age of 28, they were residing in that country and not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands itself.

      This was pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c which was in force starting on 1 January 1985 and which I explain in detail in the summary article. Artikel 15c was subsequently revised in February 2001 and it instituted three (3) temporary option periods for the restoration of Dutch nationality to former Dutch nationals, with specific option periods existing depending on the exact specific circumstance on how Dutch nationality was lost as an adult.

      The Stage 2 temporary option period would have applied to your mother and the possibility for her to have her lost Dutch nationality restored which she specifically lost as a result of RWN (1985) Artikel 15c by reason of, again, 1) she had been born in the country whose nationality she also automatically acquired at birth and 2) she had reached the age of 28, valid Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate or not, and she was living in that country at age 28.

      The dates for this Stage 2 temporary option period would have been 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005.

      Any minor aged children could have had their lost Dutch nationality restored along with the former Dutch national parent.

      Which leads me to more questions even if that would not now change the situation as of today for your brother or for you:
      -What is the exact date of birth of your mother (1960) including day/month;
      -What is your brother’s (1986) including day/month;
      -yours(1988); and

      -had your mother been issued with a Dutch passport at any time after 1 January 1985?

      Lastly, is there a reason why you did not contest the decision in 2005? The appeal process would have been indicated in that decision by law, and the statute of limitations would already have run by now (2019) (it would have been a short period of time). Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely an appeal to the decision would have been successful: the temporary option procedure cited was quite clear and limited in time as explained, and there would have been no way to deviate from the conditions.

      Best regards.

  13. Hello,

    I have been given vary information from my local consulate regarding this and wonder if you know more?

    My mother was a Dutch citizen by law at the time of my birth in 1988 (she was 26 born to a Dutch mother and father).

    This according to what I have read would make me a Dutch citizen by law as well until I reached the age of 28. I am not 31 and only just investigating dual citizenship. Now one person has told me I can apply as I meet the criteria by law where another representative has told me I am too old and cannot apply for citizenship under any option.

    I don’t know where to go from here as every time I call I get a different story and for me to apply is a trip interstate and money I could be throwing away.

    • Aaron,
      Before your question can be answered specifically with regard to the nationalities in the explanations regarding one case scenario, you must provide more specific information.
      1) Was your mother born with any other nationality?
      2) Did she acquire any other nationality while she was a minor?
      3) What additional nationalities may she have had on your date of birth?
      4) What is the nationality of your father on your date of birth?
      5) What is your current nationality?

      Firstly I’ll write the following under the case scenario that your mother was born with Dutch nationality only.

      I shall write two (2) case scenarios, both of which have resulted in your loss of Dutch nationality and your current ineligibility to opt for Dutch national as long as you are living in your present country of nationality.

      In either event, the Dutch consulate has given you the correct information.
      The other person you mentioned is incorrect. The person has not cited the law.

      The official website of the Dutch Rijksoverheid is only describing the situation as per 1 April 2003. The website does not give a history of how Dutch nationality could be lost by a dual Dutch national residing overseas. This was the purpose of my writing the summary article on behalf of the INDO PROJECT.

      Case 1: If your mother only ever held Dutch nationality on your date of birth through and including your 18th birthday, you would have retained your Dutch nationality through your 28th birthday in 2016 and lost it on your 28th birthday (see reasons below). It appears from the facts you have stated you currently do not have a Dutch passport, for example, which is valid.

      Why only until at age 28 did you lose your Dutch nationality?
      Because under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap Artikel 15(1)c currently in effect since 1 April 2003 which applies to loss of Dutch nationality by adults “meerderjarigen”), a dual Dutch national who:
      1) does NOT reside in the Netherlands (including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten or any other member state of the European Union; and
      2) said dual Dutch national does not apply for and receive in hand within 10 years after reaching the age of majority: 28 years old) either 1) a Netherlands passport; or 2) a Netherlands national identification card; or 3) a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap (also called a Verklaring Nederlandse Nationaliteit) within 10 years after reaching the age of majority (the age of majority in the Netherlands has been 18 commencing on 1 January 1988: 1988 (born) + 18 (age of majority)= 2006 + 10 years (after reaching age of majority: 2016 (age 28)), will automatically lose Dutch nationality whether or not he/she was aware he/she ever had Dutch nationality in the first place or he/she did not want to.
      [Between approximately 1905 and 31 December 1987, the age of majority in the Netherlands was 21, which explains why you are discussing age 31. Age 31 does not apply to you/the WNI (1892) is no longer in effect.].

      N.B.: If one only has Dutch nationality and no other nationality, then it is not permitted to lose it as this would lead to statelessness, valid Dutch passport or not and residing in the Netherlands or overseas.

      Assuming your mother only held Dutch nationality on your date of birth and you never applied for and received one of the aforementioned documents by age 28 (in 2016 on your 28th birthday) and you resided outside one of the aforementioned geographic areas, then you have automatically lost your Dutch nationality.

      Case 2. For the case scenario in which your mother held a second nationality in addition to her Dutch nationality on your date of birth, and she was born in that other country and received that nationality at birth, then the time you lost your Dutch nationality the day she did is different.

      In both cases, you have lost your Dutch nationality. Here’s why.

      1) if your mother held Dutch nationality on your date of birth in 1988 from the facts you have stated; and
      2) she was born with a second nationality; and
      3) she was living in the country of her other nationality on 1 January 1995,

      then she automatically lost her Dutch nationality on that date under the former RWN Artikel 15c which I have described in detail in the summary article (1 January 1995 – 10 years = 1 January 1985/implementation date of the RWN (1985)) and even if she did not wish it or was unaware.

      This means that on the day your mother lost her Dutch nationality, as her minor aged child (you would have been 7 years old in 1995), you lost your Dutch nationality the day that she did pursuant to RWN Artikel 16 (which governs the loss of Dutch nationality by minors (“minderjarigen”)). This in order to fulfill the Dutch public policy position to the greatest extent possible that dual nationality within families should be restricted as much as possible so that there is uniformity between adult parents and their minor aged children within families.

      The individual who informed you that you may now apply Dutch nationality is misinformed. Here’s why.

      I am assuming the individual in question is referring to the Latent Dutch option which has only been in effect since 1 October 2010. That option does not apply to you.

      This new Latent Dutch option possibility gives a child whose:
      (1) mother was in possession of Dutch nationality on his/her date of birth; and
      (2) whose father was not in possession of Dutch nationality on his/her date of birth; and
      (3) the child was born prior to 1 January 1985; and
      (4) the child had never acquired Dutch nationality via any other option procedure in the past (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality),

      henceforth to apply for Dutch nationality via option. There is no expiration date in which to apply for Dutch nationality under this Latent Dutch option.

      And yet, this Latent Dutch option does not apply to you.

      Why not? Because from the facts you have stated you were born in 1988, which means you were born a Dutch national automatically through your mother. RWN Artikel 3.

      Had you been born prior to 1 January 1985 when the WNI (1892) was in effect, you would have not acquired Dutch nationality at birth via your mother, who herself was indeed in possession of Dutch nationality because she had acquired it through her Dutch national father automatically at birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1.

      Only in that case would you be considered Latent Dutch, and provided you fulfill all the conditions I have set forth specifically hereabove; you could in that case apply for Dutch nationality via the Latent Dutch option.

      When the RWN (1985) entered into force on 1 January 1985 as I have specifically explained in the article, Dutch nationality was henceforth acquired via EITHER the Dutch national father or Dutch national mother, regardless of place of birth or having any other nationality. RWN Artikel 3.

      You are thus not Latent Dutch because you were not born prior to 1 January 1985 when, at that time, going all the way back to 1892, the Dutch national mother was unable by law to transmit her Dutch nationality to the child if the father was known.

      The result is that you lost your Dutch nationality automatically (“van rechtswege”) the day your mother did if she had a second nationality along with her Dutch nationality and she was residing in her other country of nationality which she acquired at birth and she had at least reached the age of 28.

      In this case, 1) you would still have been a minor (you would have been 7 years old in 1995) and 2) your mother automatically would have lost her Dutch nationality as she was living in her country of nationality under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      I’ll then repeat: If your mother only ever had Dutch nationality through your 18th birthday in 2006, then you still would have been in possession of Dutch nationality on the very date of your 28th birthday. Conversely, in this case, you would have had until your 28th birthday (i.e. 10 years after reaching the age of majority/”tien jaren na het bereiken van de meerderjarigheid”) in which to apply for any of the three (3) aforementioned documents by age 28 as I shall assume:
      1) you were residing OUTSIDE any of the geographic areas hereabove mentioned; and
      2) you had NOT applied for any of these documents by then and always kept the document current (i.e. you were issued with a new document within 10 years from the date of issue of the previously issued document). RWN Artikel 15(1)c in effect since 1 April 2003.

      Once a new document is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run. RWN Artikel 15(4).

      Currently, no option exists for you to obtain Dutch nationality via option request unless you obtain a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose such as family reunification or paid employment to cite several examples in order to reside in the Netherlands. After one year of legal residence in the Netherlands, you may opt to have your lost Dutch nationality restored via option and retain your other nationality.

      As you were not born (geboren) and raised (getogen) in the Netherlands, you are ineligible to be issued with the Wedertoelating (Readmission visa) which is only issued to former Dutch nationals who were both born and raised in the Netherlands and as long as you reside in your country of current nationality.

      In addition, you would need to provide evidence of “effectieve banden” with the Netherlands which are reviewed by the Immigratie- en Naturalisatie Dienst (“IND”) in order to be eligible for this visa. Merely having had a Dutch mother is insufficient. You would have to provide evidence you received at least one-half of your primary education or other education in the Netherlands or you worked for a Dutch representation overseas, to cite only a few examples. For these former Dutch nationals who were born and raised outside the Netherlands and who only acquired Dutch nationality via descent (“door afstamming”) through the parent, the requirements are much more stringent.

      For further information, you would need to consult the IND official website.

      Therefore, there are 2 possibilities with regard to your situation and how you lost your Dutch nationality:
      1) if your mother was born with Dutch and second nationality and she was residing in that country on her 28th birthday or on 1 January 1995, then your mother automatically lost her Dutch nationality. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      You, as a minor, would have as well. Artikel 16 as your mother was no longer in possession of Dutch nationality.

      2)if your mother was only born with Dutch nationality, then you were born with Dutch nationality automatically in 1988 (RWN (1985) Artikel 3) but have lost it over the course of time (“verjaring”) due to the fact:
      1) you have reached 28 years old; and
      2) you reside outside the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union; and
      3) you have not been issued with one of the aforementioned documents by your 28th birthday and always renewed the document within 10 years of the previously-issued document.

      Best regards

  14. Hello dear sir/madam

    I was born in Morocco in 1999 and since my father was a Dutch resident at the time. He had Dutch and Moroccan citizenship at the same time. He decided to take us to the Netherlands. He applied for Dutch citizenship for his children. I was born Dutch. I also lived in the Netherlands for a period not exceeding three months. When I was a minor, I decided to return to Morocco and complete my studies in Morocco. Now that I have completed my studies, I decided to return to the Netherlands, but I was surprised that my father had submitted a request to return to Morocco and to give up my Dutch nationality. He also gave up my Dutch citizenship without any knowledge of me. His application was accepted because he was the legal guardian because I was a minor when you were divorced. Now I am requesting the return of my Dutch nationality. I want to know the steps. If I did not have the right to return my Dutch nationality, I would be willing to apply for my Dutch nationality if necessary. Or raise a court case if necessary to restore my Dutch nationality and thank you for your efforts.
    Kind regards

    • Hello.
      Some of the facts in your posting are unclear.
      You state 1) your father applied for Dutch citizenship for his children, but then you state 2) you were born Dutch. You do not specify whether you were born Dutch because your father already was a Dutch national on your date of birth.

      If your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth, then you were already born a Dutch national, irrespective of having been born in Morocco. RWN Artikel 3.

      It is common knowledge that Morocco is a country under whose laws it is not possible to renounce Moroccan nationality.

      Hence, you were a dual Dutch-Moroccan national when you held Dutch nationality as a minor.

      You state your father submitted a request “to give up my Dutch nationality. He also gave up my Dutch citizenship without any knowledge of me.” This is also unclear. Do you mean your father renounced his Dutch nationality, thereby only retaining his Moroccan nationality?

      If your father renounced his Dutch nationality by making a declaration (“verklaring van afstand”), which seems to be the case from how you worded your statement, then you lost your Dutch nationality automatically as well on the day your father lost his Dutch nationality. The law is very clear: RWN Artikel 16(1)b.

      You would need to clarify a bit what the facts are above and what you mean that your father “had submitted a request to return to Morocco and to give up my Dutch nationality” and how your father acquired Dutch nationality for himself in the first place (i.e. whether he was born a Dutch national or naturalized Dutch and was a Dutch national on your date of birth).

      Best regards.

  15. Hello Paul

    Thank you for taking the time to kindly answer our questions.

    I am not sure is you have answered this previously, and my apologies if you have.

    We are a same-sex couple based in Australia. I am Australian whilst my partner has a Dutch and Australian passport. 2 years ago we had a daughter, both our names are on our daughters birth certificate as legal parents. In Dutch documents and when speaking to the Netherlands consulate-general based in Sydney the staff talk about biological mother and biological father in terms of obtaining a Dutch passport for our daughter. Once the staff were able to understand our family they stated that “yes” our daughter could get a passport. In terms of evidence that my partner is a Dutch citizen, she needs to provide her passport (tick) and Dutch Citizenship Certificate. I have spoken to my partners parents and they cannot locate the document. I am finding the information on the Netherlands consulate-general Australia website confusing. How would we obtain a copy of my partners citizenship certificate? Also, from your research, would infact our daughter be able to get a Dutch passport?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Melisssa.

    • Hello Melissa.
      Do you mean that your partner is a naturalized Dutch citizen? This is unclear from your post.
      The Netherlands Consulate General in Sydney must mean that they would need a copy of your partner’s Koninklijk Besluit tot verlening van het Nederlanderschap (if your partner acquired Dutch nationality by naturalization).
      You may contact the IND for instructions on how your partner can obtain a replacement copy of her Dutch naturalization certificate. That will ascertain she was a Dutch national on your daughter’s date of birth.
      You might also eventually wish to have the foreign birth certificate of your daughter (if she was born a Dutch national abroad) converted into a Dutch birth certificate. More information on that you can obtain from the Gemeente Den Haag’s website portal. It is a fairly easy process.
      In future, be sure to keep all formal documents in a safe place to prevent loss.
      Also be sure that your partner always keep her Dutch passport up-to-date if she continues to live outside the Netherlands or the European Union. If your partner loses her Dutch nationality because she did not renew her Dutch passport or request a Dutch nationality certificate within 10 years since the previous Dutch document was issue, she will automatically lose her Dutch nationality (no exceptions). This rule has been in effect since 1 April 2003.
      In turn, so will your daughter if she has not yet reached the age of 18.
      Best regards.

  16. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for this insightful article.

    I’m Canadian and gained Dutch citizenship through my father, who was born in the Netherlands. Sadly, I did not renew my passport, ten years went by, and I lost my citizenship.

    Can I reapply with the original documents to get my citizenship back?

    I see that the normal “option procedure” that would seem to apply to me requires that I show I’ve lived in the Netherlands for a year, which I haven’t done.

    If I am “automatically” Dutch by birth, why can’t I just reapply as if from scratch? What law prevents this?

    Thanks so much in case you have time to reply.

    • Hello.

      Since 1 April 2003, the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap, Artikel 15(1)c stipulates that any dual Dutch national residing outside of the Netherlands (including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten or any other member state of the European Union will automatically lose Dutch nationality if he/she does not request and receive in hand either: 1) a Dutch passport; or 2) a Dutch national identification card; or 3) a Dutch nationality certificate (called a “Bewijs van Nederlanderschap”/Verklaring Nederlandse nationaliteit) within 10 years of the previously issued document.

      RWN Artikel 15(1)c: “”Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren indien hij tevens een vreemde nationaliteit bezit en tijdens zijn meerderjarigheid gedurende een ononderbroken periode van tien jaar in het bezit van beide nationaliteiten zijn hoofdverblijf heeft buiten Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao en Sint Maarten, en buiten de gebieden waarop het Verdrag betreffende de Europese Unie van toepassing is, anders dan in een dienstverband met Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao of Sint Maarten dan wel met een internationaal orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van of als ongehuwde in een duurzame relatie samenlevend met een persoon in een zodanig dienstverband.”

      Once a new document is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run. RWN Artikel 15(4).

      RWN Artikel 15(4): “De periode, bedoeld in het eerste lid, onder c, wordt gestuit door de verstrekking van een verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap dan wel van een reisdocument, Nederlandse identiteitskaart of vervangende Nederlandse identiteitskaart in de zin van de Paspoortwet. Vanaf de dag der verstrekking begint een nieuwe periode van tien jaren te lopen.”

      From the facts you have stated, you have Canadian nationality and you were residing outside the geographic areas hereabove mentioned, and within 10-years of your last Dutch passport’s issuance date, you did not renew that passport or request and receive in hand a Dutch national identification card or Dutch nationality certificate in order to “reset” this 10-year clock and, unfortunately, whether or not you were aware or did not wish to lose your Dutch nationality.

      To regain your Dutch nationality you would have to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose such as family reunification or paid employment in order to reside in the Netherlands. After one (1) year of uninterrupted legal residence in the Netherlands, you could opt to have your lost Dutch nationality restored via option request and retain your Canadian nationality.

      Or you could naturalize Dutch either in the Netherlands or in a third country. No option procedure is available to you in Canada. Further, it is not permissible to
      naturalize Dutch whilst living in your current country of nationality.

      It is not possible for you to reapply with your original documents and get Dutch nationality simply reinstated as you asked. The request will be refused based on RWN Artikel 15(1)c.

      Dutch nationality law has always had possibilities for losing Dutch nationality if certain affirmative acts are not undertaken in order to retain it and one has another nationality in addition to Dutch nationality and one resides outside the Netherlands. I detailed some of those points in the article.

      Since 9 March 2014, all Dutch passports and national identification cards have a validity of 10 years from the date of issue for adults aged 18 and over (“meerderjarig”).
      For children under 18 years of age (“minderjarig”), these documents are valid for 5 years only by law.
      A Dutch nationality certificate is valid for 10 years from date of issue.

      Best regards.

  17. Does anyone know how I can find my family old passports when we came to US from Holland in 1960<

    • Copies of old passports are not retained by the Dutch authorities, and they cannot be provided.
      Best regards.

  18. Good afternoon

    I would like to know if I can obtain a Dutch passport/naturalisation due to my heritage, or through my heritage, would I be able to obtain naturalisation sooner than usual if I moved to Holland and worked there. I was born on 26 November 1996 in South Africa.

    My grandparents were both born in Holland, my grandfather on 30 April 1931 and my grandmother on 14 March 1935. They moved to South Africa after their marriage in 1959. They have retained their Dutch citizenship although my grandfather has since passed away in 2009.

    My father was born in July 1963 in South Africa and was added to my grandmothers Dutch passport for a trip when he was 10 months old.
    My father has not had a Dutch passport since and has never applied for naturalisation.
    My father will be applying for a Dutch passport or naturalisation in the next few months depending on what the requirements are.

    Would any of the above points work in my favour for applying for a Dutch passport/naturalisation?

    I would much appreciate your response.

    Regards

    • Hello Matthew.

      Firstly, any type of acquisition of Dutch nationality because of “ancestry” as is the case in some circumstances in other countries does not exist in the Netherlands.

      Dutch nationality, as explained in the article, is via the direct ascending line of the immediate parent and whether the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 under the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892), or on or subsequent to the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985), which replaced the WNI and is still in force today.

      You state your father was a born in South Africa in 1963. He would have automatically acquired South African nationality as he was born in South Africa.
      Your father also held Dutch nationality whether or not he was aware as his father was a Dutch national on his date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1. Place of birth is irrelevant.

      Under the former WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5), the dual Dutch national residing overseas would have 10 years after reaching the age of majority to declare to the Dutch authorities he/she wished to retain his/her Dutch nationality. Otherwise Dutch nationality would be lost by operation of law (“van rechtswege”).

      The age of majority in the Netherlands was 21 until 1 January 1988.

      This means under the WNI (1892), your father would have had to make such declaration to the Dutch authorities in South Africa by his 31st birthday:
      1963 (born) + 21 = 1984 + 10 years = 1994.

      The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap RWN (1985) replaced the WNI (1892) and entered into effect on 1 January 1985 and it is still in effect today, although there have been some revisions.

      Under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c the law clearly stated that Dutch nationality would be lost by a dual Dutch national residing in his/her country of birth and nationality by operation of law upon:
      1) the individual reaching age 28; and
      2) the individual was born in the country whose nationality he/she acquired at birth; and
      3) the individual was living in that country and not the Netherlands on or subsequent to age 28.

      This provision would not go into effect earlier than 1 January 1995: exactly 10 years after the RWN (1985) entered into force.

      Hence, your father lost his Dutch nationality by operation of law on 1 January 1995 pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      You state you were born in 1996. This, in turn, means your father was not in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth.

      Therefore, he was unable to pass on a nationality to a child that he no longer held by operation of law.

      RWN Artikel 15c was subsequently revised in February 2001.

      There were provisions for the restoration of Dutch nationality for former Dutch nationals who had lost their Dutch nationality under RWN Artikel 15c, which is your father’s case.

      This temporary “Stage II” option period was in effect between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive to your father.

      Your father would have been able to have his lost Dutch nationality restored by this option procedure with retroactive effect to the day it was lost (1 January 1995) because, as already stated:
      1) he was born in his country of present nationality; and
      2) he had reached the age of 28 or older on 1 January 1995; and
      3) he was residing in his country of birth on said date; and
      4) he had not been with a Dutch passport or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate on 1 January 1990 or later.

      A passport is merely a travel document. It does not signify per se one holds that country’s nationality even if the passport may still be valid. Certain life events may result in the loss of nationality if such provisions exist under that country’s nationality laws. This is the case of the Netherlands. Dutch nationality does not continue with no provisions that it may be lost in the event one is a dual Dutch national. Such has always been the case: Dutch nationality law has always recognized there are occasions when a dual Dutch national could lose his/her Dutch nationality.

      People often use the terms passport and nationality interchangeably.

      It is actually the nationality which, in turn, gives the right to the passport.

      Even if your father had been in possession of a valid Dutch passport or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate on 1 January 1995, he still would have automatically lost his Dutch nationality for the reasons described above: RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      The only way for you to acquire Dutch nationality is to naturalize Dutch, which you cannot do if you reside in your country of current nationality.

      The same would hold true for your father.

      It is long standing Dutch public policy one may not naturalize Dutch when residing in one’s current country of nationality.

      No option possibilities exist for either your father to acquire Dutch nationality if he is residing in South Africa.

      As you have never been in possession of Dutch nationality despite your Dutch origins, an eventual option is not possible for you.

      To acquire Dutch nationality in time, you would need to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (“machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf voor een niet tijdelijk doel”) such as paid employment. After 5 years of uninterrupted legal residence in the Netherlands, you could naturalize Dutch, but you would be required to renounce your South African nationality (unless you fall under an exception, which I shall not enumerate here).

      Your father would not be eligible for a Wedertoelating visa whilst living in South Africa as he was not born (geboren) and raised (getogen) in the Netherlands.

      Your father acquired Dutch nationality by descent (“afstamming”) abroad because his father was a Dutch national on his date of birth and your father was born prior to 1 January 1985. Therefore, he is a different category of former Dutch national under the law than a Dutch national who was born and raised in the Netherlands.

      Your father would have to try and apply for a Wedertoelating visa whilst already residing legally in the Netherlands or try and apply for it in a third country. He would also have to demonstrate effective ties/”effektieve banden” with the Netherlands (merely having been a former Dutch national in this case is not a de facto reason the IND would issue this visa, nor is having had parents who themselves were Dutch nationls).

      Effective ties in the eyes of the IND would be, for example, having received education in Dutch abroad, having worked for the Dutch civil service abroad or other such criteria, but not just given the fact one was a former Dutch national who was born and raised abroad.

      Your father would need to contact the IND and inquire what the requirements are as they are stringent.

      After your father resides under a long-term visa for one (1) uninterrupted year in the Netherlands, he could opt for Dutch nationality and retain his South African nationality.

      Unfortunately, if this were to happen, it would have no effect on you. You did not acquire Dutch nationality at birth despite the fact your father once was a Dutch national and that his father was a Dutch national on your father’s date of birth. Your father was no longer in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth.

      Given the present circumstances, a request by your father for a Dutch passport would be denied for the reasons set forth above. He further could not naturalize Dutch. As stated, he is living in his country of present nationality. Further, he has not fulfilled all of the requirements for which he would be eligible to naturalize from the facts you have shared. It is the IND that rules on naturalizations, not an embassy or consulate. From the facts you have shared, your father has not fulfilled all of the legal requirements to naturalize at present, plus he lives in his current country of nationality (South Africa).

      Best regards.

  19. Hi
    I was born dutch in the netherlands from dutch parents in 1968.
    We moved to South Africa in 1973 and I naturalised and served in the Army as prescribed. My wife and I are looking at moving back to the netherlands for safety, homely, family and personal reasons. What can we do?

  20. Hi there,

    My questions follow after the situation description:

    My father, born in Holland in 1947 emmigrated through a sponsored program to South Africa when he was 21. At 23-24 he married my mother (1971), a South African citizen. They had 3 children, of which, for each, my father applied for Dutch Nationality upon birth (1972-1979 is their range of birth).

    In 1981 they emmigrated to the US and lived with green cards until 1991 & 1995. My mother obtained her Naturalization in 1991 & my father in December of 1995.

    All children maintained current passports valid through 1998 from birth until that time.

    In 1997, I applied for US nationality so that I could be eligible for student financing to pay for college. I was informed at that time, that because both of my parents had naturalized before I was 18, I was already a US citizen.

    My Dutch passport expired in 1998 and in 2003, when I was studying abroad in South Africa, I renewed my passport in South Africa. It was approved and after my studies completed, I moved to the Netherlands.

    In 2003 I completed an inburgerings program in Holland, and then applied for and received acceptance into a study program. I withdrew from the program in 2005 when my parents became I’ll and moved back to the US to help them.

    In 2008, I applied to renew my Dutch passport and was declined based on article 16 of the oude wet when I became a US citizen after my father applied for US nationality in 1995. They told me my 2003 renewal should not have been granted and that I was not a Dutch citizen after 1995.

    My father applied for and received renewal of his citizenship in 2014 & again now, in 2019. In 2014, he had to a5end a ceremony at the embassy. This process took him 3 years to accomplish. I’m not sure under which stage he was allowed to renew, but I am trying to see if I can request a renewal of my nationality at present. I have received a response that I am not eligible based on article 16, again. Is it not possible, that should they have told me sooner, I would have been eligible to apply under stage 1 or that my father could have included me in his 2014 renewal because I was a minor in 1995 when our citizenships were revoked?

    • Any feedback on this available? I’ve got until the 15th to send a bezwaarschrift that can give some type of support for my request to renew my passport and citizenship.

      • Hi there,

        Any feedback on this situation available? I’ve submitted my bezwaarschrift and argued that my nationality should have been renewed with my father’s in 2014 (2013 application) because I was a minor when in 1995 my father acquired US nationality. And as you’ve written in this article, the renewal is considered back to the date of loss, in particular for those Dutch citizens that received new passports after 1990, which both of us had.

        Thanks,

        JP

        • Hello.

          The fact you had been issued with a Dutch passport in 1990 or thereafter did not make you eligible to have your Dutch nationality restored in and of itself.

          Having been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate in 1990 or later applied to former Dutch nationals who were eligible to opt for restoration of Dutch nationality under “Stage I.” The “Stage I” option requirements do not even apply to your father or to you from the facts you have shared. Further, “Stage I” applied to former Dutch nationals who lost Dutch nationality under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c as explained in the article.

          Your father lost his Dutch nationality under RWN (1985) Artikel 15a: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren door het vrijwillig verkrijgen van een andere nationaliteit.”

          You lost your Dutch nationality automatically in December 1995 when your father voluntarily naturalized U.S. (RWN (1985), Artikel 16(1)b: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een minderjarige verloren indien zijn vader of moeder vrijwillig een andere nationaliteit verkrijgt en hij in die verkrijging deelt of deze nationaliteit reeds bezit.”)

          The Dutch authorities in South Africa may not have known that under U.S. law, a minor-age child always acquires U.S. citizenship automatically when the parent does. This may be perhaps why your Dutch passport was re-issued in South Africa in 2003. The Dutch authorities in South Africa perhaps did not know your father had naturalized to a foreign nationality in 1995 and/or the Dutch law and regulation were not applied properly.

          From the facts you have stated, your father, naturalizing to a foreign nationality, automatically lost his Dutch nationality (RWN (1985) Artikel 15a). Any minor-age children would also follow in the parent’s loss of Dutch nationality (RWN (1985) Artikel 16(a-d)).

          The Dutch passport you had through your father’s U.S. naturalization would have been invalid automatically in December 1995 even if it was valid through 1998. Neither your father, nor you were Dutch citizens on your father’s U.S. naturalization date in December 1995.

          Your statement is unclear when you write: “My father applied for and received renewal of his citizenship in 2014 & again now, in 2019.”

          Do you mean your father had already received reinstatement of his Dutch nationality via option because between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 he fell under the “Stage III” option to have his lost Dutch nationality restored given that he was married to a U.S. citizen on the day he lost Dutch nationality in December 1995?

          Your father was married to a U.S. citizen when he became as U.S. citizen: your mother had already naturalized U.S. in 1991 and your father subsequently in December 1995.

          Because of these facts, your father would have been eligible to have his Dutch nationality restored under “Stage III.” [Neither “Stage I” nor “Stage II” apply to him from the facts you have stated.]. Your father’s situation was thus one of the three (3) situations to which “Stage III” applied.

          All three (3) of these “Stage III” categories applied to former Dutch nationals who had lost Dutch nationality as adults (not as minors). You were a minor in 1995.

          Your father’s Dutch nationality was not restored under “Stage III” with retroactive effect to the day he lost it: December 1995. Your father’s Dutch nationality in this case was reinstated from the date his “Stage III” option for the restoration of Dutch nationality was approved. Any children who were still of minor-age (i.e. under age 18) on the Stage III option approval date could acquire Dutch nationality after the parent had Dutch nationality restored.

          As this “Stage III” option has no retroactive effect for the restoration of Dutch nationality to the day it was lost, you were correctly informed in 2008 you are currently ineligible for the renewal of the Dutch passport owing to your father’s U.S. naturalization in December 1995 when you were still a minor.

          In addition, one of the “Stage III” exclusion categories preventing restoration of Dutch nationality applies to your situation: former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality as minors by acquiring the nationality of a parent (oud-Nederlanders die de Nederlandse nationaliteit zijn kwijtgeraakt als minderjarige door bijvoorbeeld te delen in de naturalisatie van een ouder).

          Concerning the “Stage I” or “Stage II” options: they do not apply to your father or your situation: they apply to former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality under the former RWN (1985) Artikel 15c as stated at the beginning.

          As has been shown, your father lost his Dutch nationality as an adult under RWN (1985) Artikel 15a.

          Depending on if that former Dutch national had been issued with a Dutch passport or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990, that would determine whether he/she could have Dutch nationality restored under either “Stage I” or “Stage II.” Neither “Stage I” nor “Stage II” applied to your or your father’s situation.
          However, your father qualified for restoration of Dutch nationality under “Stage III”: when the foreign nationality was acquired, the Dutch national was married to a national of that country (your mother was a U.S. national since 1991) and this naturalization occurred prior to 1 April 2003.

          As a summary:
          Under “Stage I”: Dutch nationality would have been deemed never to have been lost. This includes any minor age children.
          Under “Stage II”: restoration of Dutch nationality to the day it was lost. Any children must still be under age 18 on the option approval date.
          Under “Stage III”: restoration of Dutch nationality from the day the option was approved (no retroactive effect). Any minor-age children could acquire Dutch nationality after the parent re-acquired Dutch nationality.

          Best regards.

    • Hello.

      1. Your father was able to have his Dutch nationality restored via option request between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 inclusive because he lost his Dutch nationality in 1995 by voluntarily acquiring a foreign nationality, but he was married to a U.S. national when he acquired that nationality, and this occurred prior to 1 April 2003.

      2. You state your father re-acquired (it couldn’t have been “renewed” in 2014 as he did not have Dutch nationality) his Dutch nationality in 2014. This seems peculiar as the option period for former Dutch nationals to have their lost Dutch nationality restored via option request on account of naturalizing to the foreign nationality of the spouse was only in effect between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 inclusive. This was Stage III.
      Nevertheless, if it was in 2014, this seems peculiar.

      3. This naturalization to US citizenship and automatic loss of Dutch nationality occurred in December 1995 for your father. Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap Artikel 15(a).

      Any minor-aged children would share in this loss of Dutch nationality. RWN Artikel 16(1)b.

      As a minor-aged child automatically acquires US citizenship upon the naturalization of the parent, you lost your Dutch nationality in December 1995 the day your father did.

      This is why there was no need for you to apply for US citizenship in 1997. The US authorities certainly informed you then that you were already a US citizen by virtue of your father’s US naturalization.

      4. You state your Dutch passport was valid through 1998. It was thus issued in 1993 as at that time Dutch passport were only valid for 5 years. Your father did not naturalize US until December 1995.

      Even if your Dutch passport was still valid until 1998, it was no longer valid technically as of December 1995, when you were still a minor and lost your Dutch nationality the day your father did as explained.

      5. It is indeed in error that your Dutch passport was renewed in 2003. You were correctly informed in 2008 that you were no longer a Dutch national as of 1995.

      6. It would not have been possible for your father to include you in his option statement. You were already well over age 18 when he applied for the option. You would have been ineligible to be included for that reason in his option statement for restoration of his Dutch nationality because you were a minor in 1995.

      Hence, you were correctly informed as well that under RWN Artikel 16, you lost your Dutch nationality when your father naturalized US in December 1995.

      My supposition is that the Dutch authorities in South Africa were either not totally familiar with the RWN in 2003 (which resulted in the issuance of your Dutch passport in 2003) or that they were not aware that your father had acquired US citizenship voluntarily in December 1995 and that, as a result, you were automatically included in his US naturalization per US law.

      It is highly probable the Dutch authorities in South Africa were not familiar that minor-aged child automatically share in a parent’s naturalization to US citizenship.

      7. Under a legal premise under any legal system, “ignorantia juris non excusat” (ignorance (meaning unfamiliarity) of the law is no excuse). It cannot be invoked necessarily as an affirmative defense.

      The laws regarding the automatic loss of Dutch nationality by the voluntary acquisition of a foreign nationality have basically been in effect in codified form since 1892 under the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap and under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap which replaced it on 1 January 1985.

      8. It is incorrect to state you would have been able to reapply for Dutch nationality under Stage I.

      Stage I stated that if a former Dutch national had been issued with a Dutch passport on or subsequent to 1 January 1990, that as of February 2001, Dutch nationality would have been considered never to have been lost.

      Dutch nationality would have been restored automatically and would have been deemed never to have been lost.

      Further, Stage 1 did not include those individuals who had lost Dutch nationality by voluntarily acquiring a foreign nationality (which is your father’s and your case). RWN Artikel 15(a).

      Stage I was very specific: as stated in the article, it only concerned former Dutch nationals who had lost Dutch nationality under Artikel 15c (1. Having reached the age of 28, 2. Were born in their current country of nationality and which they automatically acquired at birth and 3. Were living in that country and not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands by the time they reached age 28, but no earlier than 1 January 1995).

      There were several categories to which Stage I did not apply at all.

      Remember: Your father did not lose his Dutch nationality because of the 3 points just enumerated above which comprise RWN Artikel 15(c).

      Your father lost his Dutch nationality by operation of law/“van rechtswege” because he voluntarily acquired a foreign nationality under RWN Artikel 15(a) “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren door het vrijwillig verkrijgen van een andere nationaliteit” as cited previously.

      Stage I restoration of Dutch nationality was therefore inapplicable to him and to you.

      Please refer to the article again. I clearly explained to what category of former Dutch nationals the three (3) Stages applied.

      I hope this information has been helpful to you.

      Best regards.

  21. Hi
    I am trying to figure out if i can get my passport back and return to live in the netherlands.

    I am now 43
    I was born in australia and hold an australian passport.
    My mother and father are both born in the netherlands my father is now Australian.
    my mother is still dutch and holds a dutch passport.

    In 1992 when i was 16 i went to live in the netherlands and aquired a dutch passport.
    It was valid for 5 years and ran out in 1997.

    I have never applied for another passport.

    What would be my prospects of returning to live in the netherlands with my family now as an adult?
    what are my options if i have any?

    Regards
    Darron Wagenaar

    • Hello Darren,

      You do not give enough specific information with regard to the year in which you left the Netherlands after having gone to live there in 1992 at age 16 (if you are currently 43 in 2019, I presume you were born in 1976).

      You also do not give the year in which your father naturalized Australian.

      Further, where were you residing in 1997 and also when you reached age 28?

      Without more specific information from you, an explanation regarding how you lost your Dutch nationality cannot be given.

      In any event, the one-time option periods for foreign Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality as adults (i.e. age 18 or over) — depending on their factual situation — and which were open between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 and 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 have expired.

      As you were not born and raised in the Netherlands from the facts you have presented (born and raised in Australia) but having acquired Dutch nationality abroad by descent (“afstamming” because 1. your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth and 2. you were born prior to 1 January 1985), you would be required to obtain a long-term residence visa for a non-temporary purpose such as paid employment or immediate family reunification (such as having a Dutch citizen spouse already residing in the Netherlands).

      After one-year of legal, uninterrupted main residence in the Netherlands, you could opt to have Dutch nationality restored. By reinstatement of Dutch nationality via option you could retain your Australian nationality.

      You may wish to contact the Immigratie- en Naturalisatie Dienst/IND via its official website. http://www.ind.nl

      Lastly, your mother’s Dutch nationality status at the time of your birth which occurred prior to 1 January 1985 and up to your 18th birthday is irrelevant in your case.

      The birth of your parents in the Netherlands is also irrelevant.

      Each of your parents acquired Dutch nationality at birth due to the fact both of their fathers were Dutch nationals on their dates of birth — not by having been born in the Netherlands.

      The Netherlands does not recognize automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality by virtue of having been born in the Kingdom. Dutch nationality is acquired via the direct ascending bloodline of the immediate Dutch parent, what that parent’s Dutch nationality status was/is on the child’s date of birth and whether the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 (WNI) or on or subsequent to 1 January 1985 (RWN).

      Best regards.

      • Thank you so much for the reply Paul.

        I believe you have answered my question.

        I can reply to some of yours but i do not think it will make a difference.

        1) I left the Netherlands in December of 1992.
        2) My father was naturalized Australian at around 16 years old around 1960 i believe. He was an Australian citizen when I was born.

        3) i was living in Australia in 1997 and also when i turned 28 years old.

        • Your facts are unclear now.

          You stated you had a Dutch passport in 1992. And now you state your father was an Australian National when you were born as he had naturalized Australian when he was 16.

          How did you obtain a Dutch passport in 1992 when you were living in the Netherlands?

          And where were you living in 1997?

          Why did you not renew that Dutch passport in 1997?

          All the facts, dates and background are necessary. Not all detailed information was given at the outset.

          Regards.

  22. Hello

    I was born in 1988 in New Zealand.
    My grandfather and grandmother were born in Holland and were Dutch citizens.
    My grandparents naturalised in New Zealand in 1960.
    My mother was born in New Zealand in 1957. She never had a Dutch passport.
    I am now 32 – is too late to apply for Dutch citizenship?

    Thanks
    Ryan

    • Hello Ryan.

      Your mother acquired Dutch nationality automatically in 1957 at birth by virtue of the fact her father was married and he was a Dutch national on her date of birth. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a. Place of birth is irrelevant.

      The fact her parents both naturalized New Zealand in 1960 did not result in your mother’s losing her Dutch nationality. Nor is the fact your mother, from the facts you have stated, never had a Dutch passport. This did not change the fact she acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth.

      As explained in the article, on 1 January 1985 the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) entered into effect, replacing the WNI (1892).

      As you were born on or subsequent to 1 January 1985, you acquired Dutch nationality automatically by operation of law (“van rechtswege”) because your mother was still a Dutch national on your date of birth. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1). Place of birth is irrelevant.

      RWN (1985) Artikel 15c specified Dutch nationality would automatically be lost by a dual Dutch national who:
      1) acquired a foreign nationality automatically at birth; and
      2) was living in that country of nationality (and not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands); and
      3) upon reaching age 28 he/she was living in that country: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren wanneer de betrokken na zijn meerderjarigheid gedurende een ononderbroken periode van 10 jaren woonplaats buiten Nederland, onderscheidenlijk de Nederlandse Antillen, heeft in het land waarin hij is geboren en waarvan hij eveneens de nationaliteit bezit, anders dan in een dienstverband met Nederland, de Nederlandse Antillen dan wel een international orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van een person met een zodanig dienstverband.”

      This provision would enter into effect no earlier than 1 January 1995 (exactly 10 years after the RWN (1985) entered into force on 1 January 1985.

      Further, any minor age children would also lose their Dutch nationality as a result of the parent losing his/her Dutch nationality. RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)c: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een minderjarige verloren indien zijn vader of moeder het Nederlanderschap verliest ingevolge artikel 15, onder b, c of d.”

      In 1995 when your mother lost her Dutch nationality, you were still a minor (i.e. under age 18): age 7.

      On 1 January 1995, your mother and you lost Dutch nationality: your mother under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c and you, in turn, under RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)c.

      Your situation is not so much that you are not “too late to apply for Dutch nationality” as you asked. Your situation is one that you lost your Dutch nationality by operation of law on the day your mother lost hers.

      Best regards.

      • Hi, thanks for your response. Another follow up question – would my mum not have lost her Dutch nationality when her parents acquired NZ nationality (and thus lost their Dutch nationality) in 1960 when she was 3 years old? And therefore my mum would not have been a Dutch citizen when I was born? In the article you say minor children will lose Dutch citizenship when their parents acquire foreign citizenship under the 1892 legislation? But then it also says minor children who were born overseas will not have their 10 year time period run until they turn 18. I’m just finding it hard to reconcile the two. Thank you so much for your help.

        • Hi Ryan.

          1. Under the former WNI (1892) in effect on your mother’s date of birth and through 31 December 1984 inclusive, your grandparents naturalized to a nationality (New Zealand) your mother already had.

          2. Their naturalization whilst your mother was still a minor (age 3) had no effect on your mother’s Dutch nationality. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1). That Artikel 7(1) specifically states a minor age child loses Dutch nationality by operation of law when both the Dutch citizen parents and the Dutch citizen child(ren) naturalized to a foreign nationality (and not when the child already had that foreign nationality to which the Dutch citizens parents naturalized).

          3. Your mother did not naturalize New Zealand. She already had New Zealand nationality acquired automatically at birth by having been born in New Zealand.

          There is no naturalization to a foreign nationality with regard to your mother. Hence, said Artikel 7(1) did not apply to her. Your mother retained her Dutch nationality at that time even if her parents did NOT retain Dutch nationality owing to their naturalization to a nationality your mother already had.

          4. As set forth in my previous answer, your mother lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law on 1 January 1995 under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

          5. As you were a minor (age 7) on the date your mother lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law under Artikel 15c, you did as well under RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)c.

          6. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1) was no longer in effect on 1 January 1985. The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap entered into effect on that date as explained in the article. The RWN (1985) replaced the WNI (1892).

          7. Commencing on 1 January 1985, a minor-aged child — born on or subsequent to 1 January 1985 — would henceforth automatically lose Dutch nationality on the date the Dutch citizen parent did, and the parent(s) and the child had the same “other” nationality.

          8. As you can see, this was a radical departure from what the legal situation was of the minor aged child, born with a second nationality in addition to Dutch nationality, and to which the Dutch citizen parents naturalized under the former WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1).

          9. The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) changed this. Henceforth, commencing on 1 January 1985, if a Dutch citizen parent lost Dutch nationality, the Dutch citizen child would follow in this loss of Dutch nationality, provided the child would not become stateless (as cited under RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)c).

          10. Therefore, neither your mother, nor you have been in possession of Dutch nationality since 1 January 1995.

          11. As your mother did not avail herself of the temporary option period to have Dutch nationality restored via option statement between 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2005 inclusive and your name was not stated in this option statement for your mother, you are currently ineligible to have Dutch nationality restored as long as you are not issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose which would give you the right to reside in the Netherlands and eventually have Dutch nationality restored via option.

          12. No possibilities for you to regain Dutch nationality either by option or naturalization exist for you as long as you reside in New Zealand, your present country of nationality.

          13. As explained, you were born with Dutch nationality as your mother — perhaps unbeknownst to her — was still in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth. Place of birth is irrelevant. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1).

          14. However, as your mother lost Dutch nationality under said Artikel 15c, on 1 January 1995, you did as well by operation of law (“van rechtswege”) under, as cited, RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)c in force at that time.

          Best regards.

          • Hi Paul

            Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

            I am planning to move to the Netherlands for a year (I am going to see if my work who are also in the Netherlands can sponsor me) so I can then apply for citizenship under the option process as a former Dutch citizen, so this is very exciting news that I was former Dutch. Am I correct I will be eligible to do this?

            Before I do this, is there any way I can first apply to the IND to get a decision/proof that I was a former Dutch citizen? I would like to know this before I make the decision to move there if possible. If they are not going to accept I was former Dutch, I don’t really want to be moving all the way there!

            Since my mother does not have a Dutch passport, what documents will I need to prove that I am former Dutch? I will obviously ask my parents if they have my grandparents’ birth certificates and marriage certificate, but if not, do you know where/how I can obtain them in the Netherlands? Do the documents need to be certified by a lawyer or anything like that?

            Thank you again for your time. I appreciate it so much.

            Kind regards
            Ryan

  23. Hello Paul,

    Thank you very much for putting together such a valuable resource! It is great to be able to see other situations and how they apply.
    I would appreciate if I could add to the resource with my own situation seeking your guidance.

    I believe I could be in the latent Dutch category but have a few aspects that I would like clarification but I will start with a timeline
    1961 – My Dutch nana and opa emigrated from the Netherlands to Australia
    1963 – My mother was born in Australia to Dutch parents – I believe this means she has dual citizenship based on jus soli in Australia before 1986
    1975 – Nana and opa became naturalized in Australia, Mum was 12. *
    1982 – My mother married my Australian father – as a dual citizen I believe she does not voluntarily take on another nationality as she was born in Australia, marrying a Australian national in Australia.
    1984 – I was born to what I believe to be a Dutch mother and Australia Father, prior to 1985 and have never acquired Dutch nationality.**

    Q. (*) Did my Mum lose her Dutch citizenship during her parents naturalization? I found the following https://ind.nl/en/dutch-citizenship/Pages/Loss-and-the-revoking-of-Dutch-nationality.aspx which suggests the minor does not lose Dutch Nationality if: “The minor is born and lives in the country of which he receives the nationality.” and also “The minor lives or has lived for at least five years continuously in the country of which het receives the nationality.”
    Q. (**) In your previous comments you mentioned that you have to ‘prove’ your mother was Dutch, could you please expand on how I might prove this if she has no documents saying such?
    Q. Do you think I am latent Dutch or do you have any other concerns regarding my timeline or any further comments that might help me?

    Thank you very much for all your hard work,
    Danny

  24. Good day
    My farther emigrated to South Africa. I was born when he still was a Netherlands Citizen. He had to naturalize to be able to buy land. He also received Dutch pension as he had TB during the war in Indonesia. How do I apply for a Dutch passport?
    Thanks
    V

    • You do not give enough specific information with regard to any dates such as birthdays, year of naturalization, etc., with regard to your father or to yourslef. So, no accurate answer can be given.
      Further, receiving a Dutch pension has nothing to do with automatic retention of Dutch nationality. Those are two separate issues.

  25. Hello Danny.
    1. You are reading the website you quoted incorrectly. The specific article of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap you are quoting only is valid for situations which occurred commencing on 1 April 2003.
    Therefore, its information does not apply to you. This confuses almost everyone as there is not a disclaimer stating such.
    2. Your mother was born a Dutch national automatically for the reasons explained in the summary article: 1) father was a Dutch national on her date of birth. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892), Artikel 1a. Your Dutch Oma’s Dutch nationality is irrelevant in this case.
    3. The fact your Dutch Opa and Oma naturalized Australian whilst your mother was a minor had no effect on your mother’s Dutch nationality under the WNI (1892) which was in effect through 31 December 1984 inclusive.
    4. I do not know what Australian law stipulates. If your mother acquired Australian nationality automatically at birth by virtue of having been born in that country, it does not change the fact she was also born a Dutch national, whether or not she ever had a Dutch document or was not aware.
    5. If a. your mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth and b. your father was not a Dutch national on your date of birth and 3. as you were born prior to 1 January 1985 and 4. you have never held Dutch nationality in the past by any other option possibility (and subsequently lost it), then you are Latent Dutch and may apply for the option.
    6. Remember: you were not born Dutch. You will only be Dutch on the date your option for acquiring Dutch nationality is approved and you have attended the mandatory ceremony. The law only goes forward in it. It cannot undue a situation which existed in 1984, namely, that your mother was unable to transmit her Dutch nationality to you at that time.
    7. You will have to prove your mother’s Dutch nationality on her date of birth and on your date of birth. This can be done by acquiring a copy of her Australian birth certificate on which the nationalities of her parents should appear and what her citizenship status in Australia was on your date of birth.
    Your mother may have to obtain official copies of documents issued in the Netherlands with regards to your Dutch grandfather especially. You can contact the Dutch authorities for that information.
    8. Please remember: what you are reading on the official Dutch government website only pertains to what is valid since 1 April 2003 only through today. The text you have cited is inapplicable to you. This text refers to the voluntarily acquisition of a foreign nationality without losing Dutch nationality. RWN Artikel 15(2)a-c.
    9. It does not matter your mother has quite clearly lost her Dutch nationality over the course of time. What counts is that she was a Dutch national on your date of birth in 1984.
    Best regards.

    • Hi Paul,

      That is great news! I am very excited and have started collecting the documents I require for the application.

      I will post my results once the application has been processed. Hopefully I will be able to return in a few months and share some good news..

      Thank you very much for your in-depth knowledge and detailed response
      Kind regards,
      Danny

  26. Hello Paul

    Thank you for your article. I am hoping i have come to the right person now. For many years now i have tired and failed to get Dutch Nationality. I have paid lawyers in the Netherlands vast sums of money only to be told the same thing each time “you expired in 1985”. My Father and mother are both Dutch Nationals they have never renounced their Dutch nationality and have never had the nationality of South Africa where we were born and raised. My father was transferred here in 1953 by then Van Leer for work. They were only supposed to stay in South Africa for 2 years but decided to stay and were given residency in South Africa. Both parents are Dutch nationals. My father sadly passed away in 1993 but my mother is still alive and has a Sophie number. 6 Children were born out of this marriage, 4 of which have immigrated to the UK, my mother lived in South Africa until last year and has now joined my sisters in the UK. My two sons became dutch nationals because they were both born before 1985 but my daughter who was born in 1987 was disqualified along with myself. My question is if my father is Dutch and mother is Dutch, why am I unable to become dutch? My birth certificate states that my father and mother are both Dutch nationals. My eldest son sadly passed away in 2017 but my younger son now lives and works in the Netherlands. All our family, Aunties, Uncles, cousins still live in the Netherlands,, we are the only family in South Africa. Is it possible for me to get Dutch Nationality under the new laws, or must i resign myself to the fact that i will never be Dutch enough?

  27. Hello Martha.

    You do not give enough specific information. You have omitted the following:
    1. your year of birth.
    2. your sons’ years of birth.
    3. your sons’ father’s nationality on their dates of birth.
    4. where were you residing on 1 January 1985?
    5. where were you residing on 1 January 1995?
    6. Did you ever acquire an additional nationality at any time, either as a minor or as an adult? (excluding Dutch or South African nationality)?
    7. Were you ever issued in the past with a Dutch passport or Bewijs van Nederlanderschap (i.e. a Verklaring bezit Nederlandse nationaliteit/Dutch nationality certificate)?
    8. If so, when was that last document issued?
    9. When did that last document expire?

    Every single answer to these questions must be given please.

    As carefully explained in the article, Dutch nationality does not necessarily continue on automatically through subsequent generations if one was born with a second nationality. I have carefully explained this in the article.

    The fact your parents always remained Dutch nationals is different to your situation: you were born with Dutch nationality along with a second nationality, and you were residing outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands for a certain amount of time after you become of age from the facts you have shared.

    Incidentally, the fact your mother has a former SOFINUMMER (SOFINUMMERS are no longer in use in the Netherlands. The Burger Service Nummer/BSN has replaced them) is not indicative of Dutch nationality, either for your mother or father, or for you. Everyone who works in the Netherlands was in possession of a SOFINUMMER in the past, and those numbers have been converted into the current BSN, whether or not these individuals are Dutch nationals. When residing in the Netherlands, the administration generates a BSN for the individual.

    Yours is not a question of “being Dutch enough.” Yours is a question that depending on your year of birth, where you were born and where you were residing on the specific dates asked above, these facts would have played a part in the loss of Dutch nationality in accordance with Dutch law.

    Regards.

  28. Hello Paul

    Thank you for your response. Below are the answers to your questions
    Date of birth 22/02/1960
    Eldest son 29/01/1977
    Second son 20/10/1982
    Daughter 30/07/1987
    Their father is a South African Citizen
    I have lived in South Africa my whole life.
    No never acquired any other nationality
    I have never had a Dutch passport or Dutch Nationality Certificate

  29. Hello Martha.

    From the facts/dates you have shared:
    1) you acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth in 1960 because:
    1) your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth; and
    2) your parents were married; and
    3) you were born before 1 January 1985 when the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) was still in effect.

    In this case, your place of birth is irrelevant.
    The Dutch nationality of your mother is also irrelevant in your case as prior to 1 January 1985, Dutch nationality was solely acquired through the Dutch father (barring a few exceptional circumstances which do not apply to you from the facts you have presented). This is called “jus sanguinis a patre” (law of the blood via the patrilineal line).

    2. Your were incorrectly informed when you were told you lost your Dutch nationality in 1985. You would have lost Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995, which is exactly 10 years after the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) went into effect on 1 January 1985, thereby replacing the WNI (1892) and as explained in detail in the article.

    3. You lost Dutch nationality automatically as under the (former) RWN (1985) Artikel 15c, a dual Dutch nationality who:
    a. was born outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands; and
    b. was born in the country of which he/she was also a national (i.e. the individual had the nationality of that country); and
    c. was living in that country upon reaching the age of 28 (on 1 January 1995 you would have been 35).
    would automatically lose Dutch nationality, whether or not he/she wanted to or whether or not he/she was aware or whether or not he/she had a valid Dutch passport or a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap (also known as a “Verklaring bezit Nederlandse nationaliteit/Dutch nationality certificate).

    From the facts you have shared, you were born and raised in South Africa and have never lived in any other country.

    RWN (1985) Artikel 15c: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren wanneer de betrokkene na zijn meerderjarigheid gedurende een ononderbroken periode van 10 jaren woonplaats buiten Nederland, onderscheidenlijk de Nederlandse Antillen, heeft in het land waarin hij is geboren en waarvan hij eveneens de nationaliteit bezit, anders dan in een dienstverband met Nederland, de Nederlandse Antillen dan wel een international orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd.”

    This Artikel 15c would not enter into effect earlier than 1 January 1995.

    4. Your daughter was born in 1987. She was born a Dutch national automatically (RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1)] because you were still a Dutch national on her date of birth and she was born on or subsequent to 1 January 1985 when the RWN (1985) went into effect.

    When the RWN (1985) went into effect, Dutch nationality is henceforth acquired EITHER through the Dutch citizen father OR the Dutch citizen mother. Place of birth is irrelevant.

    5. Your daughter would have been 8 years old on 1 January 1995. This means that she lost her Dutch nationality automatically because you, the parent, lost your Dutch nationality based on RWN (1985) Artikel 15c as explained above. The relevant provision for your daughter at the time was: RWN Artikel 16(1)c: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een minderjarige verloren indien zijn vader of moeder het Nederlanderschap verliest ingevolge artikel 15, onder b, c of d.”

    6. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c was revised in February 2001. Between 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2005, the Dutch legislator instituted a one-time option possibility and period for former Dutch nationals to have their lost Dutch nationality restored via option request. This applied to former Dutch nationals in your situation, because 1. you had lost your Dutch nationality under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c as I have explained and 2. you had never been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

    Any minor-aged children who lost Dutch nationality along with the parent could also have their lost Dutch nationality restored under the parent’s option, provided the child had not yet turned 18 (i.e. had not yet reached the age of majority under Dutch law which has been 18 since 1 January 1988).

    Your daughter would not yet have reached age 18 by 31 March 2005, unless she was born between 1 January and 31 March 1987. She would have thus been able to be included in your option request between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005.

    7. As both your sons were born prior to 1 January 1985 and you were a Dutch national on their dates of birth and their father was not a Dutch national on their dates of birth, your sons did not acquire Dutch nationality at birth. It was not possible prior to 1 January 1985 in most situations (See Point 1).

    This tells me that either:
    1) your sons acquired Dutch nationality during a temporary option period open to them between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 1987; or
    2) they acquired Dutch nationality through the “Latent Dutch/Latente Nederlander” option which has been in effect since 1 October 2010 pursuant to RWN Artikel 6(1)i; or
    3) they have naturalized to the Dutch nationality.

    Therefore, it is not quite correct to state your sons acquired Dutch nationality because they were born prior to 1985. That is not the case at all: you would have been unable to transmit Dutch nationality to them at that time. The law did not change under 1 January 1985 when Dutch nationality is acquired either through the Dutch citizen father or the Dutch citizen mother as I have carefully explained.

    I am quite sure you actually mean they have acquired Dutch nationality through the Latent Dutch option which, as stated, has only been in effect since 1 October 2010. Your sons were not born Dutch citizens. The law cannot undue what the situation was prior to 1 January 1985. Your sons, if they went through this option, have only been Dutch citizens on the day their options were approved and went into effect on the date they attended the mandatory ceremony and took the Verklaring van Verbondenheid. The law only goes forward in time.

    I hope this information helps you.

    Best regards.

  30. Hi Paul,
    Thank you for your above information. I am still not 100% clear if I am able to retain my Dutch nationality.
    I’ll give you a brief history on myself and hope you can help.
    My entire family on both father and mothers side reside in the Netherlands and are Dutch.
    I was born on June 30th 1968 in Zaandam, NL
    Parents moved to Curacao, NA in 1969. Back to NL from 1975-1977. Back to Curacao, NA from 1977 to 1980.
    Moved to Canada in 1980, Then back to NL from 1981-1982. Back to Canada again from 1983 and still here.
    In 1985 my parents decided to become Canadians and because I was 17 years old, they made me a Canadian as well.
    I had no idea what had happened until 1991 and immediately contacted the Dutch Embassy in Vancouver. I send them all my personal info as well as my 4 previous Dutch passport (expired then) information. I talked to a gentleman in Ottawa who told me that unfortunately I was not eligible to get my Dutch Nationality back. I was devastated.
    Then I tried again in 2003 but again was given the same answer. In March of 2013, I made another appointment at the Dutch Embassy in Vancouver and my appointment was for April 06th. When I arrived at the Embassy I was informed that I was 6 days late because the applications to retain Dutch Nationality had been closed on March 31th 2013. Again, I was devastated. The agent told me to try under the “Grootmoeder Article”, but that door was closed as well.
    Is there any way that I can get my Dutch Nationality back?? I would love to purchase a home in Bussum, NL and spend many months close to my family.
    I hope to hear back from you when you have time.
    Thank you so much for your time and effort.
    Yvonne

    • Hello Yvonne.

      1. You state you were 17 years old when your parents naturalized Canadian in 1985.

      Under the version of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985), Artikel 15(a) applicable at that time, your parents lost their Dutch nationality by operation of law on the day they voluntarily acquired Canadian nationality: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren door het vrijwillig verkrijgen van een andere nationaliteit.”

      Under the same RWN (1985), Artikel 16(1)b, as a minor you lost your Dutch nationality on the day your parents acquired Canadian nationality: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een minderjarige verloren indien zijn vader of moeder vrijwillig een andere nationaliteit verkrijgt en hij in die verkrijging deelt of deze nationaliteit reeds bezit.”

      2. The age of majority in the Netherlands was 21 until 1988, when it was reduced to age 18.

      3. You were correctly informed in 1991 that you were ineligible to have your lost Dutch nationality restored. See points 1 and 2 hereabove.

      4. You were also correctly informed in 2003 that you were unable to have your Dutch nationality restored.

      Certain provisions of the RWN (1985) were revised in February 2001. These revisions provided for the restoration of Dutch nationality to certain categories of Dutch nationals who had lost their Dutch nationality as explained in the article. However, none of those “Stage I,” (1 April 2003-31 March 2005), “Stage 2” (once again: 1 April 2003-31 March 2005) or “Stage 3” (1 April 2003-31 March 2013) temporary option periods would have applied to your situation.

      For a review of the “Stage 1” and “Stage 2” option descriptions, please see the article. They do not apply to your situation.

      For the “Stage III” option period, there were several exclusion categories, one of which was former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality as minors because they shared in the naturalization of the Dutch parents to the foreign nationality (“Oud Nederlanders die de Nederlandse nationaliteit zijn kwijtgeraakt als minderjarige door bijvoorbeeld te delen in de naturalisatie van een ouder”).

      Therefore, it is my supposition you were incorrectly informed by the individual at the Dutch consulate in Vancouver that you had just missed the deadline, which expired on 31 March 2013. You would have been precluded given the fact you had shared in the Canadian naturalization of your parents at age 17.

      The consular worker with whom you spoke seems to have spoken in general terms. You state you were told you were 6 days late and informed “because the applications to retain Dutch nationality had been closed on March 31th 2013.”

      However, you do not state whether you had explained your entire situation to that individual. Your statement may not have been specific enough, nor is the statement you received from that individual correct on its face. If the individual had known all of the specific facts and the specifics of the “Stage III” option possibility, you would not have been told you had just missed the 31 March 2013 deadline. Your specific circumstances could not be applied to the option.

      The “Stage III” (1 April 2003-31 March 2013) option period for restoration of Dutch nationality applied to 3 very specific circumstances, all of which applied to former Dutch nationals who had lost their Dutch nationality as “adults,” not as minors:

      – a former Dutch national who was born in the country whose nationality the individual possesses, and he/she was living in that country when he/she acquired the nationality of that country as an adult [exclusion: you were born in the Netherlands]; or
      – a former Dutch national who, before turning 18, lived in the country whose nationality he/she possesses for an uninterrupted period of at least five years, and he/she acquired that nationality as an adult [exclusion: you acquired Canadian nationality as a minor upon your parents’ Canadian naturalization]; or
      – a former Dutch national who acquired the nationality of another country through naturalization during the marriage to a spouse who had that nationality (upon marriage, one is automatically considered of age) [exclusion: you were not married to a Canadian national at that time in 1985, and you did not acquire Canadian nationality during marriage].

      5. Further, the “Stage III” option window did not allow one to “retain” Dutch nationality. It was instituted on a temporary basis for certain former Dutch nationals to have their lost Dutch nationality “restored.” As demonstrated above, you were no longer in possession of Dutch nationality since age 17 when you and your family naturalized Canadian. See points 1 and 2 above. Hence, all of the temporary options were not open to you.

      6. The “Grootmoeder Artikel” you referenced does not apply to you. That very specific possibility was taken up the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) which was still in force in 1968 (your birth year). However, your descent was established at your birth: 1) your parents were married on your date of birth in 1968 and 2) your father and his nationality were known: your father was in possession of Dutch nationality (WNI (1892) Artikel 1a) on your date of birth.

      It is through your father only that you acquired Dutch nationality at birth. You did not acquire Dutch nationality because you were born in the Netherlands, nor did you acquire Dutch nationality through your Dutch citizen mother.

      7. There is a special “Wedertoelating” visa issued to former Dutch nationals to reside in the Netherlands for a non-temporary purpose. This special visa is issued to a former Dutch national (“Oud Nederlander”) who 1) was born (‘geboren’) and 2) was raised (‘getogen’) in the Netherlands. “Getogen” equates to having received at least one-half of basic education in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. You may wish to contact the IND for further information of whether you meet the criteria to be issued with this special visa.

      After one (1) year of uninterrupted residence under this visa, you may opt to have your lost Dutch nationality restored and retain your Canadian nationality.

      Let us know how things turn out!

      Best regards.

      • Hartstikke bedankt voor je help! Ga volgende maand terug naar het Nederlandse Consulaat in Vancouver. 🙂

  31. Hello Paul,
    Advise needed for a Kenyan born in 1983 by Kenyan mother while father is a Dutch till today. The father relocated back to NL.
    The father had converted to Islam and had 2 wives at the time of this person’s birth both legally married under Islam. He later divorced both wives. The other lady managed to go to NL before the divorce with her children . While this person’s Im enquiring for never applied for the NL citizenship.
    Kindly guide on the options this friend has as he would like to relocate there and be with his aging father.
    The friend had never applied for
    The NL passport and has Kenyan Nationality.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Paul
      I wish to try and regain my dual Dutch nationality
      My scenario is as follows
      My father born in NL and moved to South Africa in 1959
      He currently lives in South Africa and is still a Dutch citizen
      I was born in South Africa 1967
      I acquired a Dutch passport in 1983 and held dual South African and Dutch nationality.
      My Dutch passport expired on 24 February 1988
      I never renewed my Dutch passport after this date.
      I have lived only in South Africa since the Dutch passport expired.
      Looks like i fall under stage 2?
      Can you give me advice on how to proceed to regain my Dutch passport?

      • Hello Patric.

        You did not lose your Dutch nationality because you did not renew your Dutch passport after 1988. In 1988 you would have been 21.

        You lost your Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 under the former RWN (1985) Artikel 15c as from the facts you have stated:

        1) you were born in your current country of nationality: South Africa; and
        2) you were residing in South Africa at age 28; and
        3) the provisions for loss of Dutch nationality by dual Dutch nationals residing in their country of birth and of which they held the nationality would not enter into effect prior 1 January 1995 under this Artikel 15c. [1967 (born) + 28 (10 years after reaching the age of majority, which has been 18 in the Netherlands since 1988) = 1995/age 28)].

        Therefore, even if you had renewed your Dutch passport in 1988, you still would have lost your Dutch nationality on your 28th birthday in 1995, valid passport or not, because you were not living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands on that date.

        You are correct: the temporary option period for you to have your Dutch nationality restored via option would have been between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive under the “Stage II” option period window. The restoration of Dutch nationality at that time would have had retroactive effect to the day it was lost: your 28th birthday in 1995.

        You state you would like advice on how to regain your Dutch passport. This wording is technically incorrect: a passport is merely a travel document. It is not evidence of nationality. The passport only evidences that one held the nationality of the issuing country on the date the passport was issued. As Dutch nationality law does provide for provisions for loss of Dutch nationality by way of certain life events which could trigger the automatic loss of Dutch nationality subsequent to the passport issuing date for dual Dutch nationals residing outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union for an uninterrupted period of ten (10) years (unless a Dutch passport; Dutch national identification card; or Dutch nationality certificate has been applied for and issued before this 10-year period expires), the Dutch passport would automatically be void (even if the Dutch passport was still valid up to the date Dutch nationality was lost).

        You do not have Dutch nationality at present which is why the passport (a travel document) cannot be issued at this time. It is the nationality that gives a right to the passport. It is not the passport which gives the nationality: the passport is merely the expression thereof. Obtaining the nationality must occur first.

        As stated in prior postings, currently, no option exists as a former Dutch national to obtain Dutch nationality via option or naturalization unless you obtain a residence permit for a non-temporary or temporary purpose (“verblijfsvergunning voor onbepaalde tijd of voor bepaalde tijd met een niet-tijdelijk doel”) such as immediate family reunification or paid employment to reside in the Netherlands. After one year of legal residence in the Netherlands, you may opt to have your lost Dutch nationality restored via option and retain your current nationality.

        As you were not born (geboren) and raised (getogen) in the Netherlands, you are ineligible to be issued with the Wedertoelating (Readmission) visa which is only issued to former Dutch nationals who were both born and raised in the Netherlands.

        You would need to try and apply for this visa whilst residing in a “third country” other than South Africa, for example.

        In addition, you would need to provide evidence of “effectieve banden” with the Netherlands which are reviewed by the Immigratie- en Naturalisatie Dienst (“IND”) in order to be eligible for this visa. Merely having had a Dutch parent is insufficient. You would have to provide evidence you received at least one-half of your primary education “basisonderwijs”) or other education in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or you had worked for a Dutch representation overseas, to cite only a few examples.

        For former Dutch nationals who were both born and raised outside the Netherlands and who only acquired Dutch nationality via descent (“door afstamming”) through the parent, the requirements are much more stringent in the eyes of the IND.

        Or, you could eventually naturalize Dutch. Naturalization can eventually occur in the Netherlands if you are residing there legally and permanently or whilst living in a “third country” because perhaps you have been married to or in a registered civil partnership with a Dutch national for at least 3 uninterrupted years.

        In both cases, you would need to fulfill all the requirements for naturalization and also demonstrate that you would have been able to secure a mandatory long-term visa which in any event would have permitted you to reside in the Netherlands in the first place. It is against Dutch public policy that naturalization may occur if one resides in one’s current country of nationality.

        Naturalization may only occur after at least five (5) years of uninterrupted permanent residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands if one, for example, is unmarried, over the course of which a visa must have been valid during the entire period up through the naturalization date with no gaps whatsoever in terms of validity.

        Additionally, you would be required to renounce your current nationality with naturalization, unless you fall under one of the exceptions for its retention. An example of that would be marriage or valid registered civil partnership with a Dutch national at the time naturalization is granted.

        You can consult the IND’s official website for more information.

        Best regards.

        • Hi Paul

          Thanks for your comprehensive reply.
          It seems the easiest route to go would be as you mentioned below:

          As stated in prior postings, currently, no option exists as a former Dutch national to obtain Dutch nationality via option or naturalization unless you obtain a residence permit for a non-temporary or temporary purpose (“verblijfsvergunning voor onbepaalde tijd of voor bepaalde tijd met een niet-tijdelijk doel”) such as immediate family reunification or paid employment to reside in the Netherlands. After one year of legal residence in the Netherlands, you may opt to have your lost Dutch nationality restored via option and retain your current nationality.

          Does the fact that I lived in Namibia for 3 years from age 1 years old to 3 years old make any difference to this scenario? In other words lived outside of South Africa for 3 years.

          Thanks very much.

  32. Hi Paul,

    Many thanks for an excellent and clear article.

    My own circumstances are that I was born in the 70s to a Dutch father, live in the EU at present (UK) but the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 Jan 2020.

    My father was still a Dutch citizen when I turned 18 but he died when I was 19 – and I received a small Dutch pension until I was 21. I had to set-up a Dutch bank account to do that but I cannot recall requiring or acquiring any formal Dutch identity papers.

    At first I thought I would be okay under the exception criteria as:

    * I was born in the other country of my other nationality
    * I lived there for all my life (including >5 years before reaching adult age)
    * Am married to someone of the same nationality

    + I have never lived outside “the Kingdom of the Netherlands or the European Union”…

    I applied for a Dutch passport but now I understand that due to my age (which I understand from your article means I am subject to the 1892 legislation instead of the more recent update) the exceptions that I meet do not apply purely because of my age.

    Apparently I lost citizenship back in the 90’s UNLESS some court case due to be held in the Netherlands rules that the loss of EU citizenship means the loss of Dutch citizenship should be waived.

    So my 3 questions are:

    1) Is the above assessment correct?
    2) Would I not have lost my Dutch citizenship if I was born to the same circumstances after 1985?
    3) If (1) and (2) are correct – would the loss of citizenship not be a clear case of age discrimination?

    Best regards

    • Hello RM.
      I’m glad the article was informative.
      Several points.
      1) you are reading the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap incorrectly. The three points you have listed have only been in effect since 1 April 2003 under RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)a-c.
      2) as you have not stated your year of birth, an analysis cannot be made.
      3) the 3 exceptions for the retention of Dutch nationality you have cited do not apply to your situation. They apply to Dutch nationals only who acquire a second nationality as an adult (i.e. age 18 or older; meerderjarig) and when acquiring a second nationality voluntarily; in those 3 circumstances they may naturalize to the foreign nationality AND retain Dutch nationality.
      The Rijksoverheid website is only speaking in general terms. What it does not state is that the exceptions listed only took effect on 1 April 2003 and are still in force today. There are many people who read this unclear language incorrect through no fault of their own as the language on the website does not discuss the situation under law that existed prior to 1 April 2003.
      4) You are in the situation where you already were born with 2 nationalities: 1) Dutch nationality, by virtue you were born prior to 1 January 1985, your parents were married (assuming) and your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth [WNI (1892) Artikel 1a]; and 2) you were born with another nationality.
      5) You need to provide more specific information with regard to your year of birth.
      6) The fact you received a Dutch pension is irrelevant to Dutch nationality.
      7) It is not age discrimination. The EU and the EU Court of Justice give great deference to the nationality laws of the member states. They are under the purview of of the member states.
      8) Why did you never apply for a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate in the past?
      9) Your personal acquisition of Dutch nationality based on your year of birth and the Dutch nationality status of your Dutch citizen father is governed by the WNI (1892). But your retention of Dutch nationality is governed by the RRWN (2003). The law only goes forward in time.
      10) You have not been specific when you state you applied for a Dutch passport. Does that mean you applied for a Dutch passport in the past and it was refused? Or is the application pending after you submitted it?
      Best regards.

  33. Hi Paul

    Here is my situation:

    My maternal grandfather was born in the NL (1923).
    He immigrated to the US in 1949.
    He went back to the NL for 3 months in 1956.
    He married my grandmother (an American by birth) in 1957.
    My mother was born in 1966, she only ever claimed American citizenship.
    I was born in 1996 (my mother was 29 years old).

    I believe my grandfather naturalized at some point because of his marriage to my grandmother. Is there any chance that I would have any rights to dual citizenship through my mother?

    Thank you.

    • Hi William.

      There is some specific information that has not been provided.

      1. Namely it is necessary to know exactly whether your maternal grandfather ever became a U.S. citizen and in what year so that it can be established whether your mother was ever born with Dutch nationality through him or not.

      2. If your maternal grandfather was still in possession of Dutch nationality on your mother’s date of birth in 1966 (i.e. he had not naturalized), then your mother was born with Dutch nationality automatically as explained in the article (WNI (1892) Artikel 1a.). Her automatic acquisition of U.S. nationality at birth and her place of birth are irrelevant.

      3. There was no Dutch nationality for her to “claim.” In this case, she would have acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth, whether or not her father/your maternal grandfather or she were ever aware of this fact.

      4. From the facts you have stated, your mother was 29 years old when you were born in 1996.

      5. As explained in the article, based on the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 15c, your mother would have lost her Dutch nationality automatically on her 28th birthday:
      1) she was born with U.S. nationality (confirmed); and
      2) she was born with Dutch nationality as well (we can only assume here as I am explaining the situation under the assumption she was born with Dutch nationality because her father/your maternal grandfather was still a Dutch national on her date of birth; we don’t know whether her father/your maternal grandfather naturalized either before your mother’s birth or thereafter); and
      3) your mother was living in the country in which she was born (the USA) and not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (assuming); and
      4) she was 28 or older on 1 January 1995 (confirmed); and
      5) RWN (1985) Artikel 15c would enter into effect no earlier than 1 January 1995 (confirmed). [Your mother turned 28 in 1994.]

      6. Your mother turned 28 in 1994. She turned 29 in 1995. She turned 30 in 1996.

      7. You were born in 1996.

      8. Given these circumstances, your mother would not have been in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth in either scenario. In turn, this means you were unable at birth to acquire a nationality she no longer had (Dutch nationality): your mother was age 28 or older on or subsequent to 1 January 1995.

      9. Based on:
      1) the fact your mother lost her Dutch nationality pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c; and
      2) she had not been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990 valid up to the date she lost her Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995,

      your mother would have been able to avail herself of the “Stage II” temporary option period which existed between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive in order to have her lost Dutch nationality restored with retroactive effect to the date it was lost (1 January 1995).

      10. As you were still under 18 years of age (a minor) through and including 31 March 2005, you could have been included in your mother’s option for her to have her lost Dutch nationality restored.

      11. This is all under the assumption that your mother’s father/your maternal grandfather did not naturalize to any other nationality prior to your mother’s birth in 1966.

      12. If your mother’s father/your maternal grandfather was no longer a Dutch national on your mother’s date of birth in 1966, then the point is naturally mute.

      I hope this information clarifies your situation. However, based on the facts you have provided, you would not have acquired Dutch nationality at birth given either situation.

      Best regards.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thank you for the quick response. One last question.

        Would travel to the NL by my mother or grandfather effect loss of citizenship in any way or is it only a place of permanent residence in the NL that would have any effect?

        Thanks again.

        • I am not sure I understand the wording of your question.

          Your mother’s father/your maternal grandfather’s Dutch nationality is only relevant to the extent it merely determines whether your mother acquired Dutch nationality on her date of birth. It is irrelevant to you.

          Dutch nationality is acquired via the immediate preceding parent and depending on whether the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 (via the Dutch citizen father only) or on or subsequent to 1 January 1985 (via either the Dutch citizen father or Dutch citizen mother).

          You have not stated whether he was still a Dutch national on your mother’s date of birth.

          As already explained, if your mother had her permanent residence in the USA AND assuming she had Dutch nationality in addition to her US nationality AND she had reached the age of 28 by 1 January 1995 or thereafter AND she was living in the country whose nationality she acquired automatically at birth (USA) AND she was NOT residing in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, then she automatically lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law (“van rechtswege”). RWN (1985) Artikel 15c. The law is very clear.

          Occasional travel to the Netherlands at that time would have had no effect: your mother’s permanent place of residence was in the USA, not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands at that time and she was born in the USA and was residing there on 1 January 1995 and she was 28 years of age or older on 1 January 1995. She was not registered as residing in the Kingdom of the Netherlands from the facts you have stated.

          Had your mother at the time been residing with her main place of residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, she would not have lost her Dutch nationality at that time. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c specifically applied to a
          – dual Dutch national born abroad; and
          – who acquired Dutch nationality solely through descent abroad (“door afstamming”) because the child had a Dutch citizen father on the child’s date of birth; and
          – who acquired the other nationality automatically at birth as well; and
          – this birth occurred prior to 1 January 1985; and
          – this dual Dutch national was residing in his/her country of birth when he/she turned 28. This provision would not enter into effect earlier than 1 January 1995 as explained on several occasions.

          This Artikel 15c is no longer in effect. It was revised and the revisions to it entered into force on 1 April 2003. But that does not change your mother or your situation. That is why the temporary option period was introduced so that former Dutch nationals born abroad and who lost Dutch nationality on account of RWN (1985) Artikel 15c and who had not been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990 would have the opportunity to have Dutch nationality restored to the day it was lost. The temporary option period was for two years: 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005.

          On account of the former RWN (1985) Artikel 15c, thousands of dual Dutch nationals born abroad by virtue of having had a Dutch citizen father on their dates of birth automatically lost Dutch nationality on or subsequent to 1 January 1995 as explained in the article.

  34. Hi Paul.
    Both parents were Dutch citizens when they came out to South Africa in 1953. Both of them received South African citizenship in 1980. I was born in South Africa in 1963. I tried to apply for Dutch citizenship in 2007 but was rejected. Any new laws that have changed that will make it possible for me to claim Dutch citizenship now?

    • Hello Fred.

      As I shall assume 1) you were residing in South Africa, the country whose nationality you also acquired at birth, and that 2) you were residing in South Africa on 1 January 1995, and 3) had been residing in South Africa uninterruptedly between 1 January 1985 and 1 January 1995 (therefore, you were not residing in the Kingdom of the Netherlands), then you automatically lost Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 under Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 15c.

      You would have acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth because: 1) your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth; and 2) your parents were married. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a.

      Place of birth is irrelevant in this acquisition. If you never were in possession of a Dutch passport or a Dutch nationality certificate, this would not have changed this fact.

      Your parents’ voluntarily naturalization to South African nationality (a nationality you were born with) whilst you were a minor would have resulted in your parents’ automatically losing their Dutch nationality by operation of law. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1).

      However, even if you were still considered a minor in 1980 under Dutch law (the age of majority in the Netherlands was 21 until 1 January 1988 when it became 18), you would have retained Dutch nationality even if your parents did not upon their naturalization.

      If you had not been in possession of a valid Dutch passport on 1 January 1995 (you would have been 32), you would have been able to have your Dutch nationality restored via option statement between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive under the temporary option period that existed for former Dutch nationals who had lost Dutch nationality under the aforementioned Artikel 15c (which was revised).

      This is the reason why you were unable to apply for Dutch citizenship in 2007 as the temporary option period had already expired in 2005.

      The only current legislation pending for review before the Eerste Kamer is a revision to the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap with regard to Dutch nationals residing in the United Kingdom. Now that BREXIT has occurred, if the UK and the EU agree a deal, it is unlikely the Eerste Kamer will approve the current legislative bill for Dutch nationals residing in the United Kingdom to acquire British nationality and retain their Dutch nationality without having to fulfill one of the exceptions which currently exist under the RWN in order for them to retain Dutch nationality when naturalizing British.

      Discussions may open with regard to expanding the exceptions to naturalize to a foreign nationality and retain Dutch nationality, but for the moment, there is nothing pending in the Tweede Kamer with regard to a future temporary option period being made available to former Dutch nationals residing in their current country of nationality to have Dutch nationality restored.

      Best regards.

  35. Hi Paul,

    I’m hoping to get Dutch citizenship but don’t know if it will be possible.

    My mother was born in Canada (Canadian citizen by birth), but acquired Dutch citizenship through her parents who are both Dutch. She lived briefly in the Netherlands as a child but spent most of her childhood in Canada.

    Her most recent Dutch passport was issued in 1984 and expired on 3/12/89. She did not realize that she would lose her Dutch citizenship by failing to renew her passport, and was never notified of the 1995 law change.

    My mother now resides in the US but never applied for US citizenship as she did not want to lose her Dutch citizenship. Her father lives in Canada but is not a Canadian citizen (only Dutch) and her mother also lived in Canada but only had Dutch citizenship until her death.

    I was born in 1997 in the US (US citizen by birth) but am wondering if there is any way I can possibly become a Dutch citizen.

    Thanks.

    • Hello Isabel,

      1. You do not give enough specific information with regard to your mother’s date of birth.

      2. There was no law change in 1995. That is a misstatement. On 1 January 1985, the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) entered into effect.

      3. Your mother did not acquire Dutch nationality through both her parents. Your mother acquired Dutch nationality because: 1) she was born prior to 1 January 1985; and 2) her father was a Dutch citizen on her date of birth (her place of birth in Canada is irrelevant in this acquisition of Dutch nationality); and 3) her parents were married. [Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (WNI (1892)) Artikel 1a]

      4. If your mother:
      – was born in Canada; and
      – acquired Canadian nationality automatically at birth; and
      – was residing in Canada (therefore NOT in the Kingdom of the Netherlands) on 1 January 1995 (i.e. exactly 10 years after the RWN (1985) entered into effect on 1 January 1985); and
      – had reached the age of 28 by 1 January 1995 or thereafter,

      then your mother lost her Dutch nationality automatically (“van rechtswege”).

      It would not have mattered if her Dutch passport was valid or not on her 28th birthday or on 1 January 1995.

      5. As your mother had not been issued with a Dutch passport or a Dutch nationality certificate (“Bewijs van Nederlanderschap”) on or subsequent to 1 January 1990 from the facts you have presented, your mother would have been able to avail herself of the temporary “Stage II” option window period that was open between 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2005 inclusive to former Dutch nationals who had lost Dutch nationality pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      6. Under “Stage II,” your mother’s Dutch nationality would have been reinstated to the day it was lost upon approval of her option.

      7. Any children who were still under age 18 on the date the option was approved and whose names were included in that option would have also acquired Dutch nationality.

      8. If your mother had reached the age of 28 by your birthday in 1997 AND she was residing in Canada (and not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands), then she lost her Dutch nationality and you were not born with Dutch nationality.

      However, if your mother turned age 28 after you were born in 1997, you were born with Dutch nationality but would have lost your Dutch nationality on your mother’s 28th birthday (RWN (1985) Artikel 16c)) because your mother lost her Dutch nationality pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      9. Lastly, remember that it is not possible to invoke one was unaware of the law or its revisions as an affirmative defense. Laws are published in order to notify the public of their implementation or revision.
      – The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) had been in effect since 1 January 1985. – The WNI (1892) was in effect between 1 July 1893 through 31 December 1984 inclusive.

      Both the RWN and the WNI have/had provisions that Dutch nationality could automatically be lost if one had another nationality in addition to Dutch nationality, and the individual was residing outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These concepts and provisions for loss of Dutch nationality had thus been part of Dutch nationality law for decades even if they varied slightly under either law.

      I hope this information clarifies things for you.

      Best regards.

  36. Hi Paul
    Both my parents emigrated from Holland in 1953 to South Africa. They both became South African citizens in 1980. I was born in 1963 in South Africa and am a South African citizen. Would i be eligible for Dutch citizenship now that some laws were changed?

    • From the facts you have stated, you would have been born with Dutch nationality automatically because:
      1. your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth; and
      2. your parents were married.

      Place of birth is irrelevant in the acquisition of Dutch nationality in your case. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a. In your case, your mother’s Dutch nationality on your date of birth is irrelevant.

      You were born in 1963. The fact your parents naturalized when you were still a minor (you were age 17 in 1980; the age of majority under Dutch law was 21 at that time; the age of majority in the Netherlands is 18 since 1988) to a nationality (South African) you had already acquired automatically at birth in South Africa, their naturalization would have had no effect on your Dutch nationality at the time.

      You retained Dutch nationality even if your parents lost their Dutch nationality by their voluntary naturalization. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1).

      As stated in the article, under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) that replaced the WNI (1892) and that entered into effect on 1 January 1985, its Artikel 15c stated that a dual Dutch national:
      1. who had reached the age of majority;
      2, who was residing in his/her country of present nationality that he/she acquired automatically at birth; and
      3. who was not residing in the Kingdom of the Netherlands,

      then upon his or her reaching the age of 28 (i.e. ten (10) years after reaching the age of majority), he/she would automatically lose Dutch nationality.

      This provision would not enter into effect prior to 1 January 1995 as explained in the article.

      From the facts you have shared:
      1) you were born in South Africa; and
      2) you were born with South African nationality automatically; and
      3) you were also born with Dutch nationality automatically; and
      4) you were living in South Africa on 1 January 1995 (you would have been 32 years of age) and not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

      Given the foregoing, you lost Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 (even if you had already turned 28 in 1991, Artikel 15c would not enter into effect earlier than 1 January 1995).

      Between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005, there was a temporary “Stage II” option window open for former Dutch nationals:
      1. who had lost their Dutch nationality under this very Artikel 15c; and
      2. who had NOT been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate (a “Bewijs van Nederlanderschap”) on or subsequent to 1 January 1990 to have Dutch nationality reinstated by option statement.

      As it appears you had not been issued with a Dutch passport or a Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990, if you had gone through the “Stage II” option process during this temporary time window (1 April 2003 through 31 March 2005 inclusive), your Dutch nationality would have been restored to the day it was lost: 1 January 1995.

      Any children who were still under 18 could have been included in your option.

      As also stated in the article, this former Artikel 15c is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the current Artikel 15 in the the current version of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap that entered into effect on 1 April 2003 and that is still in effect today (the RRWN (2003)).

      There is no possibility for you presently to reacquire Dutch nationality either by option or by naturalization as long as you live in South Africa, your present country of nationality.

      It is not permitted under Dutch public policy to naturalize to the Dutch nationality when residing in one’s own country of nationality.

      You would need to naturalize whilst living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or in a country other than South Africa. Additionally, you would need to fulfill all the statutory requirements for naturalization (not explained here).

      Additionally, if you resided for a period of at least one (1) uninterrupted year in the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose, you could opt to reacquire Dutch nationality by option statement and retain your South African nationality as a former Dutch national.

      Nevertheless, you would need first to be issued with a long-term visa (machtiging voor voorlopig verblijf or m-v-v) for a non-temporary purpose (such as family reunification/”gezinshereniging” or readmission/”Wedertoelating”) to take up legal residence in the Netherlands.

      For more information on the, you may wish to consult the Immigratie- en Naturalisatie- Dienst/IND’s website at http://www.ind.nl

    • Hi Fred.

      1. You were born a Dutch national because (cumulatively): a) your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth; and b) your parents were married. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a (the “WNI (1892)”). Your mother’s Dutch nationality is thus irrelevant.

      2. You have lost your Dutch nationality over time. Here is why and how.

      3. On 1 January 1985 when the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap entered into force and replaced the WNI (1892) it instituted the automatic loss of Dutch nationality in the following situation as explained in the article.
      – the individual was born abroad with Dutch nationality and a second nationality through birth in that country; and
      – the individual was living in that country on his/her 28th birthday (and not in the Kingdom of the Netherlands). RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      N.B.: This automatic provision for loss under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c would enter into effect no earlier than 1 January 1995.

      4. As I shall assume you were living in South Africa on 1 January 1995, you lost Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 (even if you had already reached age 28 in 1991).

      5. When Artikel 15c was revised in February 2001, the Dutch legislator instituted a 2-year option period for former Dutch nationals to have their lost Dutch nationality restored via option statement if:
      – the individual had not been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

      This 2-year temporary option period ran from 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2005 inclusive.

      6. I shall assume you had not been issued with either a Dutch passport or a Dutch nationality certificate at any time on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

      The option period as stated ended on 31 March 2005.

      7. The only way for you to regain Dutch nationality would be to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose to reside in the Netherlands. After one (1) uninterrupted year of main residence in the Netherlands under that visa, you could opt to have your Dutch nationality reinstated.

      You would be allowed under Dutch law to retain your South African nationality in this case.

      8. Or you could naturalize Dutch while legally residing in the Netherlands after the minimum statutory period to be eligible for naturalization. Or you could naturalize whilst living in a country other than South Africa, your current country of nationality. Additionally, you would have to fulfill all the statutory requirements for naturalization if you reside in another country just as you would be required to fulfill them if you were living in the Netherlands.

      N.B.: It is not permitted to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in one’s current country of nationality.

      9. With naturalization, you would be required to renounce your South African nationality, unless you fall under one of the exceptions under the current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap permitting you to retain it (such as you are married to a Dutch national or in a registered civil partnership with one. There are other exceptions).

      10. As you were not both born and raised in the Netherlands, you are ineligible for the Wedertoelating (Readmission) visa as long as you reside in South Africa. This visa is only issued to former Dutch nationals who were both born (geboren) and raised (getogen) in the Netherlands, irrespective of current country of residence or nationality.

      11. You would be required to be issued with this visa whilst you have legal permission to reside in the Netherlands or be issued with it whilst residing in a country other than South Africa.

      12. In addition, given you were born and raised in South Africa, you would be required to demonstrate you have effective ties (“effectieve banden”) to the Netherlands, such as you worked for the Dutch authorities abroad or you received education which mirrored the Dutch education system and which was primarily in the Dutch language, for example.

      13. Merely having had Dutch nationality in the past or having had Dutch parents are not considered effective ties to the Netherlands.

      14. A former Dutch national who was both born and raised in the Netherlands does not need to demonstrate effective ties to the Netherlands as you can see or fulfill the requirements he/she must live elsewhere other than his/her current country of nationality. The reason for this distinction is that the Dutch position is that an individual both born and raised in the Netherlands never really loses the effective tie to the Netherlands by virtue of being born and raised there. The effective tie is considered to have remained.

      15. With respect to former Dutch nationals not born and raised in the Netherlands, the effective ties are evaluated by the IND in accordance with its criteria (but not for former Dutch nationals both born and raised in the Netherlands).

      I hope this information helps you in your understanding of your situation.

      Best regards.

      • Hi Paul.
        Thanks very much for getting back to me. Yes fully understand the situation.

        Rgds
        Fred

  37. I have my Dutch nationality approved, I will attend the naturalisation ceremony soon. I’ve got it because I have lived with my Dutch partner for 3 consecutive years (now it has been 4) in the Netherlands. Now things are not going well with my partner. If I decide to break up, having the Dutch nationality means that I am independent? Can keep my citizenship if I break up with my partner? If so, can this happen few months after the naturalisation ceremony?

    Thank you

    • Hello.
      What happens in your relationship after you have formally acquired Dutch nationality is irrelevant.

      However, an individual who acquires Dutch nationality by having willingly submitted false information or withheld relevant information could have his/her Dutch nationality withdrawn (“ingetrokken”) up to a period of 12 years after Dutch nationality is acquired.
      Best regards.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thank you for answering. I understand the reason of possible withdrawn. Now my questions is if this means that we all get a deeply investigation on our cases?
        What is the criteria of thinking that a person has withheld relevant information?

  38. Hi Paul,

    Firstly thank you for providing the in-depth breakdown of the intricacies of the Dutch nationality laws, I’ve had a good read and was curious, if possible, could you please see if my understanding of your article is correct in regards to my own family situation.

    My Oma and Opa were both born in The Netherlands in 1928 and 1932 respectively to Dutch parents, therefore as they were born to Dutch parents in The Netherlands they were deemed to be Dutch nationals by birth right.

    They then immigrated to New Zealand in 1953 and retained their Dutch nationality through until 1985. My mother was born in New Zealand on 13 July 1965, therefore as her parents were still Dutch nationals at the time of her birth she was deemed to hold Dutch nationality on the date of her birth under WNI (1892) Artikel 1, as well as New Zealand nationality being that was her country of birth.

    I would then look to determine when my mother was deemed to have lost her Dutch nationality based on your article, with my logic being as follows:

    Under the former WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5), the dual Dutch national residing overseas would have 10 years after reaching the age of majority to declare to the Dutch authorities that she wished to retain her Dutch nationality. Otherwise Dutch nationality would be lost by operation of law (“van rechtswege”).

    The age of majority in the Netherlands was 21 until 1 January 1988.
    This means under the WNI (1892), my mother would have had to have made this declaration to the Dutch authorities in New Zealand by her 31st birthday – being July 1965 + 21 years = 1986 + 10 years = 13 July 1996.

    I was born in New Zealand on 15 May 1994, therefore based on the above logic my mother was still deemed to be a Dutch national at the time of my birth (1994). This is where my logic begins to become hazy – would this suggest that my mother was still deemed to be a Dutch national in 1994 at the time of my birth, and would this also suggest that I had inherited both Dutch nationality and New Zealand nationality at the time of my birth?

    Following on from this under the newer laws I would need to make a declaration to Dutch authorities before my 28th birthday (10 years from the updated age of 18 for age of majority), which will be in 2022 for me to retain my Dutch nationality.

    I am currently planning to move to Europe later this year (potentially to The Netherlands depending on my position) and am curious as to whether I would be capable of acquiring citizenship in The Netherlands based on my above suggested situation, and if so do you know whether there would be any additional requirements that I would need to complete for to become eligible to acquire a Dutch passport/confirmed dual nationality based on the above?

    Once again thank you very much for this article.

    Kind regards,
    Cam

    • Hi Cam.

      I’m glad the article was informative.

      Let me expand, however, on the exact date your mother lost her Dutch nationality as your calculation is erroneous.

      1. Your mother acquired her Dutch nationality at birth NOT because both her parents were Dutch nationals on her date of birth. Your mother acquired her Dutch nationality at birth because: 1) her father was a Dutch national on her date of birth; 2) her parents were married; and 3) your mother was born prior to 1 January 1985. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a in force between 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984.

      Your maternal grandmother’s Dutch nationality is thus legally irrelevant at this time. It was not possible only for the Dutch citizen mother to pass on her Dutch nationality to the child at the time if 1) the father’s nationality was known; 2) the parents were married; and 3) the child was born prior to 1 January 1985.

      As explained in the article, it was only commencing on 1 January 1985 when the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) entered into force and replaced the former WNI (1892) does a child — irrespective of place of birth — acquire Dutch nationality automatically at birth from EITHER the Dutch citizen father OR the Dutch citizen mother. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1).

      2. While it is true that under the WNI (1892) a dual Dutch national such as your mother, born abroad with both Dutch nationality and a foreign nationality, was required to make a statement known to the Dutch authorities abroad that he/she wished to retain Dutch nationality, and that this statement had to be made within 10 years after attaining the age of majority (i.e., by age 31) under the former WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5), the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) fundamentally changed this provision.

      WNI (1892) was no longer in effect commencing on 1 January 1985 as the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) entered into effect, thereby replacing the WNI (1892), whose provisions were no longer in effect.

      3. The RWN (1985) instituted a provision that Dutch nationality would automatically be lost when:
      i) a dual Dutch national, born abroad with a second nationality acquired at birth by having been born abroad in that country; and
      ii) who was residing in that country on his/her 28th birthday; and
      iii) NOT specifically in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (i.e., 10 years after reaching the age of majority)

      would automatically lose Dutch nationality regardless. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      4. As stated in the article, this provision for automatic loss of Dutch nationality would enter into effect no earlier than 1 January 1995 (precisely 10 years after the 1 January 1985 implementation date of the RWN (1985)).

      5. As the WNI (1892) was no longer in effect, the requirement that your mother declare to the Dutch authorities in New Zealand (prior to her turning 31 in 1996) that she wished to retain her Dutch nationality no longer existed.

      6. Therefore, your mother was still a Dutch national on your date of birth on 15 May 1994. You were born with Dutch nationality under RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1) even if by that time your mother had turned age 28.

      7. However, as stated above under Point 3 and in the article, the automatic loss of Dutch nationality under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c would occur no earlier than 1 January 1995 for any adult dual Dutch national who:
      — was residing in his/her country of birth and NOT in the Kingdom of the Netherlands; and
      — also acquired the other nationality (here: New Zealand) automatically at birth; and
      — who had reached the age of 28 by or subsequent to 1 January 1995.

      8. That means, the RWN (1985) instituted a 10-year time period beginning on 1 January 1985 after which date the dual Dutch national would automatically lose Dutch nationality. [1 January 1985 + 10 years before RWN (1985) Artikel 15c would enter into effect = 1 January 1995].

      9. From the facts you have shared, your mother was born on 13 July 1965. [13 July 1965 + 28 years = 13 July 1993. Even if your mother was already 28 on 13 July 1993, remember that Artikel 15c would enter into effect no earlier than 1 January 1995.]

      10. Your mother would have been 29 1/2 years old on 1 January 1995.
      — She acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth; and
      — She was born in New Zealand, the country whose nationality she also acquired automatically at birth; and
      — She was living in New Zealand on 1 January 1995.

      Once again, remember Artikel 15c would enter into effect no earlier than 1 January 1995. Hence, it did not matter your mother had already turned 28 on 13 July 1993.

      Your mother lost Dutch nationality by operation of law (“van rechtswege”) on 1 January 1995 under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      11. RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)c provided that a dual Dutch national child under the age of 18, would share in the parent’s loss of Dutch nationality if the parent lost Dutch nationality under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      Artikel 16(1)c states: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een minderjarige verloren indien zijn vader of moeder het Nederlanderschap verliest ingevolge artikel 15, onder b, c of d.”

      12. As your mother lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law on 1 January 1995 under Artikel 15c, you, as a minor under age 18, shared in this loss since both you and your mother had the same “other” nationality: New Zealand.

      13. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c was amended in February 2001. The revised Artikel 15c is now RRWN (2003) Artikel 15. Its provisions entered into effect on 1 April 2003.

      14. The Dutch legislator instituted a 2-year time period for a former Dutch national such as your mother i) who lost Dutch nationality under the former Artikel 15c and ii) who had NOT been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990 to have Dutch nationality restored by option statement.

      15. I shall assume your mother had not been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990 and which would have been valid until the day she lost Dutch nationality: 1 January 1995.

      16. This temporary option period ran from 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005.

      17. Any children who were still under age 18 could be included in the parent’s option for restoration of Dutch nationality, provided the minor-aged child was named/included in the parent’s option.

      18. Your mother’s Dutch nationality would have been restored to the date she lost her Dutch nationality: in this case, 1 January 1995.

      19. You would have been able to be included in her option.

      20. This is how your mother lost her Dutch nationality and how you, as a minor who acquired your Dutch nationality at birth via her, lost yours as well.

      21. Unfortunately, as the 1 April 2003-31 March 2005 time period has elapsed, you currently no longer have Dutch nationality as your mother, I shall presume, did not submit an option statement during that time period that she wished to have her Dutch nationality restored and in which you could have been named/included (you would have been 10 years old on 31 March 2005). Any restoration of Dutch nationality for you would have been predicated on your mother having hers restored between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive.

      As explained above, she and you both lost Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 [for your mother, pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c; for you, pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)c.]

      22. The official Dutch government website does not provide a background of this temporary 1 April 2003-31 March 2005 option period. It merely references the law as of 1 April 2003 as it stands now. This is confusing for many people.

      I hope this detailed explanation assists you in the correct calculation of the timeline. The WNI (1892) and its provisions were no longer in effect commencing on 1 January 1985.

      Therefore, the requirement under WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5) to notify the Dutch authorities by age 31 no longer existed for your mother. The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap had force of law commencing on 1 January 1985. It completely replaced the former WNI (1892).

      23. In answer to your question and to summarize: since your mother lost her Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995, and you lost your Dutch nationality because she did, and she did not submit an option statement between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 for her Dutch nationality to be restored and in which you could have been included, neither your mother, nor you have held Dutch nationality since 1 January 1995.

      24. Any restoration of Dutch nationality for you would absolutely be dependent on your mother’s having her Dutch nationality restored via option statement during the above-specified time period as you were still a minor between 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2005 inclusive. You would have had to be included in your mother’s option statement for restoration of Dutch nationality. [RWN (1985) Artikel 15c and Artikel 16(1)c both in force on that date.]

      Kind regards.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my situation – really appreciate your response.

        Although it’s disheartening to learn that I lost my Dutch nationality I’m glad that I now have solid knowledge of my situation, and can plan my travels accordingly!

        Once again thank you for all of the help.

        Kind regards,
        Cam

  39. Hi Paul

    Thank you for your very informative piece. I wonder if you could help me understand my situation: I am trying to ascertain whether I (and my children) are eligible for option as latent Dutch but am getting confused around the 1892/1985 laws.

    My mother was born in the U.K. in 1950. Her father was also born in U.K. (to a Dutch father) and lived in Holland as a child and until my mother’s birth when he was approx 30, and still had a valid Dutch passport at the time of her birth. He has since had a UK passport and lived in the U.K., also being a British National by birth. I was born in the U.K. in 1981, before my mother turned 31. My mother has never yet applied for a Dutch passport/ certificate of nationality and we have always lived in the U.K.. Thank you very much in advance for your guidance.

    • Ps I am also confused as to how having lived in the EU during the UK’s membership of it has affected whether my mother still has Dutch nationality. I assume my grandfather still has it since he had a Dutch passport after the age of majority and as I understand it that is sufficient for the the 1892 rules (please correct me or wrong), but not sure whether the 1985 rule change would then have affected him, given he was living in the EU (UK) at the time? The U.K. was in the EU by the time my mother reached the age of majority so presumably she also retained her Dutch nationality? Many thanks.

  40. Hello Liz.

    I’m pleased the article was informative for you.

    1. More specific clarification is needed from you.

    – You state your father lived in the Netherlands when he was a child. You then state he was back in the UK before your mother’s birth in 1950 and that he was approximately 30 years old when your mother was born in 1950 in the UK.

    – Can you please confirm at what age your grandfather left The Netherlands just to be sure?

    2. Keep in mind that a passport is merely a travel document. It only evidences one had the nationality of the respective country on the passport issuance date. Passport and nationality are not synonymous.

    That does not mean the respective nationality cannot be lost if the nationality laws of the country provide for the automatic loss of nationality by certain voluntary acts.

    3. This is the case under Dutch nationality law. The fact your grandfather had a valid passport does not mean he did not lose his Dutch nationality at a certain time afterward. The same would apply to your mother.

    4. Under the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a in effect on your mother’s date of birth, your mother was born a Dutch national automatically as her father was a Dutch national on her date of birth. Place of birth is irrelevant in this automatic acquisition.

    5. Under WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5), your mother would have been obligated to make declare to the Dutch authorities in the UK that she wished to retain her Dutch nationality.

    She would have needed to do this within 10 years after reaching the age of majority as 1) she was born abroad with Dutch nationality in addition to another nationality; and 2) the age of majority in The Netherlands until 1 January 1988 was 21.

    6. Therefore, your mother would have had until her 31st birthday in 1981 (1950 [born] + 21 years [age of majority under Dutch law] = 1971 + 10 additional years to make a statement to the Dutch authorities in the UK she wished to retain Dutch nationality = 1981/age 31/loss of Dutch nationality by operation of law under WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5)).

    7. As your mother lost her Dutch nationality under these circumstances, she would have been ineligible to have her Dutch nationality restored during any of the temporary option periods that existed between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive and 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 inclusive for certain categories of former Dutch nationals to have Dutch nationality restored via option statement.

    8. The reason is simple: your mother was both born and lost her Dutch nationality under the WNI (1892) which was in force between 1 July 1893 and 31 December 1984 due to long-term residence abroad without notification given for retention of Dutch nationality in this circumstance.

    9. The exclusion for your mother to have Dutch nationality restored via option is owing to the fact she lost Dutch nationality at age 31 AND that loss occurred before the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) went into effect on 1 January 1985 and replaced the WNI (1892).

    10. Any former Dutch national born prior to 1 January 1954 who lost Dutch nationality under the same conditions as your mother would also have been precluded.

    1 January 1954 + 31 years = 1 January 1985 (expiration of WNI (1892); implementation of RWN (1985)). This timeline was explained in the article.

    11. You were born in 1981 and before your mother turned 31.

    12. As i) your father was not a Dutch national (he is a UK national) on your date of birth, ii) your mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth, iii) you were born prior to 1 January 1985, and iv) you have never acquired Dutch nationality in the past by any other option procedure (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality), you are Latent Dutch.

    13. Since 1 October 2010 you may henceforth apply for Dutch nationality via option and retain your UK nationality. There is no expiry in which to apply for the option.

    14. The fact your mother lost her Dutch nationality after your date of birth is irrelevant. What matters is that she still was technically a Dutch national on your date of birth.

    15. As you were not born a Dutch national, the fact your mother lost hers after your birth has no effect on your applying for the Latent Dutch option now.

    16. Prior to 1 January 1985 when the WNI (1892) was in effect, the child acquired Dutch nationality automatically via the Dutch citizen father only (and not the Dutch citizen mother), barring a few exceptional circumstances.

    The Netherlands and many other European countries followed acquisition of nationality almost exclusively through the paternal line only.

    17. Since 1 January 1985 under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap as explained in the article, Dutch nationality is henceforth acquired via the Dutch citizen father OR the Dutch citizen mother on the child’s date of birth. Place of birth is irrelevant in this acquisition. The acquisition occurs automatically. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1).

    18. If your option is granted, you will formally have Dutch nationality on the option approval date. It will only take effect after you have attended the mandatory ceremony.

    19. The option will have no retroactive effect to your date of birth. The law cannot undue a legal situation which occurred prior to 1 January 1985, namely, that your Dutch citizen mother was unable under Dutch nationality law to transmit Dutch nationality to you.

    20. Any children you have may apply for the option after you have formally received Dutch nationality and by separate option statement filed subsequently after your acquisition.

    21. There is a prior posting with all of the very detailed information with regard to the Latent Dutch option.

    22. The fact the UK was a member state of the European Union in 1981 is irrelevant. It is only commencing on 1 April 2003 that the law changed and that Dutch nationality is retained notwithstanding by residence either in the Kingdom of The Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union.

    This provision was not in effect on the date your mother lost her Dutch nationality in 1981 at age 31.

    I hope this answers your questions.

    Could you let us know here at the Indo Project you have received this message?

    Best regards.

    • Hi Paul. This is very helpful, it is so great of you to give up your time to help people like me navigate the complicated laws. Thank you.

      To clarify. My grandfather (born 1918) left the Netherlands in 1949, not sure if exact date so he would have been aged 30/31. His last Dutch passport renewal (that we are aware of) was issued in 1949 for two years.

      Thank you for clarifying the law around the EU membership- I did not realise this only came into effect in 2003. On that basis, was it sufficient for my grandfather to have kept his citizenship renewed until he was over the age of majority or would he have had to renew it every ten years under the 1892 laws?

      If he would have needed to renew every 10 years and therefore lost it while my mother was a minor, would she have also lost hers before my birth?

      Assuming my concerns above are invalid and my mother was still a Dutch citizen until my birth, do you have any advice on what to provide to the consulate with my option application for the item required:

      Proof that she possessed Dutch nationality at the time of your birth. This can be a de-registration certificate from the Central Population Registers Office (Bureau Vestigingsregister) in The Hague (website in English). Your mother’s nationality and marital status at the time she left the Netherlands must appear on the certificate.

      Thank you once again, it is really helpful.

      • Hi Liz.

        1. Your maternal grandfather would have been required to notify the Netherlands authorities in the UK every 10 years subsequently that he wished to retain his Dutch nationality. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 7(5) last clause.

        From the date of this notification made to the Netherlands authorities, a new 10-year period would begin to run for him to maintain his Dutch nationality as a dual Netherlands-UK national residing in the UK.

        2. Your grandfather’s failure to do this (if such is the case) whilst your mother was still under age 21 would not have affected the Dutch nationality status of your UK national mother born with Dutch nationality automatically through her Dutch national grandfather/your Dutch national maternal grandfather.

        3. As your mother never resided in the Netherlands at all, there would naturally not be a de-registration certificate for her in the Netherlands.

        4. As your maternal grandfather did indeed reside for a number of years in the Netherlands before returning to the UK just before your mother’s birth, I advise you to obtain a copy of his Netherlands de-registration certificate for him.

        This document will provide his name and his Dutch nationality on the date he left the Netherlands and the recorded de-registration date.

        5. This will substantiate how your mother was born with Dutch nationality in the UK. In turn, this will establish that your mother was still theoretically a Dutch national on your date of birth despite the fact she has never been in possession of a Netherlands passport or a Dutch nationality certificate.

        6. You should obtain:
        – an official copy of your mother’s UK birth certificate and photocopy;
        – an official copy of your father’s UK birth certificate and photocopy;
        – an official copy of your UK birth certificate and photocopy;
        – an official copy of your parents’ UK wedding certificate/marriage license and photocopy;
        – any Netherlands passport documents and clear photocopies of your maternal grandfather’s documents;
        – an official copy of your maternal grandfather’s de-registration certificate from the Netherlands and photocopy;
        – the current UK passport and a photocopy of your mother’s present UK passport;
        – the current UK passport and a photocopy of your father’s present UK passport;
        – any former UK passports and photocopies of the information pages of your parents if those are available and photocopies;
        – your current UK passport and a photocopy of it;
        – a recently-issued official copy of your UK birth certificate and photocopy.

        All official copies must not be older than one-year from your option appointment date. Bring all official copies and their respective photocopies and any original documents you may have (such as past Netherlands passports of your maternal grandfather).

        7. There is no need to obtain apostilles on any official documents issued by the Netherlands authorities. An official copy issued no later than one (1) year are acceptable.

        8. It should not be necessary for you to have to obtain apostilles on your UK-issued documents. Contact the Netherlands embassy by e-mail, but I would be surprised if apostilles are needed for the UK.

        9. All of the aforementioned documents will substantiate that your maternal grandfather was a Dutch national on your mother’s date of birth, that your mother was born a Dutch national and that you are Latent Dutch as your mother was still theoretically a Dutch national on your date of birth.

        The fact your mother lost her Dutch nationality over the course of time after your birth is irrelevant with regard to your Latent Dutch status (because you were never born a Dutch national to begin with).

        10. The Netherlands authorities are very efficient and quick to respond. The official website regarding the de-registration certificate is comprehensive and clear.

        It should not be difficult to obtain the de-registration certificate of your maternal grandfather, but you may find it easier for your mother to make the request herself. She can provide a copy of her birth certificate on which your maternal grandfather’s name will appear plus a copy of her UK passport.

        In this manner there are no privacy concerns.

        11. Contact the Netherlands embassy website for any other UK documentation you may need to provide in support of your file.

        Nevertheless, with all of the documents I have cited above, your file will be solid.

        12. Always provide more documentation rather than not enough in these types of situations.

        13. Be sure to read the very detailed answer I have given on the Latent Dutch process under one of the answers above.

        Best regards.

        • Thank you for the very detailed response, this is so helpful and very much appreciated.

  41. Hi Paul,

    Many thanks for your article and the previous replies – the most helpful resource I’ve found on this subject! Could you help me double check my situation?

    My Opa emigrated to NZ in the 1940s and my mother was born there in 1957. From what I understand, she would have lost her Dutch nationality in 1995?

    She regained it around 2003 (Stage 2?), along with my brother who was a minor at the time (born 1986).

    The advice we were given at that point was that there was no path to nationality for me, as I was over 18 (born 1983).

    I suspect my mother has now lost her Dutch nationality again, as she has remained in NZ for over 10 years and her Dutch passport etc is expired.

    However, is there any hope for me as Latent Dutch under the 2010 law?

    Thanks again,
    Dominique

    • Hi Dominique.

      1. From the facts you have stated, your mother would have lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law on 1 January 1995 under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c (oud).

      2. Your brother born in 1996 was not born a Dutch national, your mother having lost her Dutch nationality one year prior in 1995.

      3. Your mother reacquired her Dutch nationality during the 1 April 2003-31 March 2005 (“Stage 2”) option period as I shall presume she had not been issued with a Netherlands passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

      4. Your brother acquired Dutch nationality because, while he was technically born without Dutch nationality, your mother’s Dutch nationality would have been restored to the date it was lost: 1 January 1995 under “Stage 2,” and 1) your brother was included in her option statement and 2) he was still under age 18 on that option approval date.

      5. Your mother still had Dutch nationality between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 1987, and you were under age 21 at the time. This was a temporary option period for children born prior to 1 January 1985 and the mother 1) had Dutch nationality during the 1 January 1985-31 December 1987 period and 2) the child was still under 21 on or prior to 31 December 1987.

      6. As it appears your mother did not avail herself of this opportunity for you to acquire Dutch nationality by option at that time, you never had Dutch nationality to begin with or the possibility to have lost it under a previous option period.

      7. You fulfill the requirements for the Latent Dutch option. Naturally between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive the Netherlands officials in New Zealand had no idea there ever would be a Latent Dutch option now.

      8. As explained in the article, there is no expiry in which you must apply for the Latent Dutch option. You can apply for the option at any time provided you have obtained every single required document.

      9. If approved, the option will not have retroactive effect to your date of birth. It will only take effect on its approval date and after you have attended the mandatory ceremony.

      10. If your mother has not been issued with a Netherlands passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate within the past 10 years from today’s date, then she has lost her Dutch nationality again by operation of law. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c.

      11. Your brother, who is now aged 24 in 2020, must ensure he has one (1) of the three (3) aforementioned documents still valid on his 28th birthday if he has lived for 10 uninterrupted years outside of the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union. If he does not, he will lose his Dutch nationality by operation of law. No exceptions.

      12. Once one of these documents is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run for as long as he lives for 10 uninterrupted years outside these geographic areas and he has another nationality. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4).

      13. Applying for a new document is not sufficient. The document must have been issued before the 10-year period elapses. You miss the mark by one day, and Dutch nationality is lost.

      14. For any other questions regarding the Latent Dutch option, please refer to a previous answer I posted. All the information and official Dutch government weblinks are there.

      14. Could you let The Indo Project know you have receive this post and whether it was helpful?

      Best regards.

  42. Hi,

    I am 32 (b 1987) and was born in the UK to a Dutch father (he kept his dutch passport up to date) and he was married at the time to my British mother. I was issued a British birth certificate and British passport. I have lived my whole life in the UK.

    Now that the UK is no longer part of the EU, can I apply for a Dutch passport to maintain my rights to return to live and work in the Netherlands once Brexit withdrawal period ends? I do not want to cut all ties with my Dutch heritage and family.

    Thanks. TvH

    • Hell TvH

      1. You acquired Dutch nationality through your Dutch national father. Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 3(1). Place of birth and any other nationalities acquired at birth are irrelevant. Your father maintained Dutch nationality through your 18th birthday, so you have not lost your Dutch nationality. The fact you have still not been in possession of a Dutch passport, national identification card or Dutch nationality certificate are irrelevant. The acquisition at birth was automatic.

      2. You turned 28 in 2015 whilst the UK was still a member state of the EU.

      3. As you are a dual NL-UK national, if you do not apply and are issued (the application is not sufficient; the document must indeed have been issued before 10 years elapse) with a Netherlands passport, national identity card or a Dutch nationality certificate (aka Verklaring bezit Nederlandse nationaliteit/Bewijs van Nederlanderschap) by 31 January 2030 (exactly 10 years after the BREXIT implementation date), you will lose Dutch nationality. No exceptions (unless the law changes by then). Revised Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (2003) Artikel 15(1)c.

      4. Once one of these three (3) documents is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run for as long as you continue to reside for 10 uninterrupted years outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4).

      5. As explained in the article, these provisions have only been in effect since 1 April 2003.

      6. Had the UK never left the European Union, RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c would not have applied to you as the UK was obviously still a member state of the EU in 2015 and through 31 January 2020.

      7. Unlike in the UK, all passports and national identity cards issued by EU member states must be applied for in person and by appointment. This is pursuant to EU regulations and not solely a Dutch regulation.

      8. However, a Dutch nationality certificate may be applied for by post, but it is not a travel document and, as such, contains no mandatory biometric information. It also will prevent the 10-year period from expiring and reset the 10-year clock from its issuance date just as a Netherlands passport or identity card does.

      9. It is your responsibility to keep your Dutch documents up-to-date. Do not expect the Netherlands authorities to contact you to remind you.

      10. Provisions that Dutch nationality can automatically be lost by operation of law if one has dual Dutch nationality and resides outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands have existed since at least 1 July 1893. It is nothing new under Dutch nationality law.

      11. If you lose your Dutch nationality because you have let one of the aforementioned documents expire since the last document was issued and you reside outside the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union for 10 uninterrupted years, it will not be possible to re-acquire it if you do not reside in the Netherlands or in a third country. The restoration process is not necessarily an easy one.

      12. Unlike UK nationality, Dutch nationality must be “renewed” in this manner in order to demonstrate to the Netherlands authorities you still wish to maintain the effective tie to the Netherlands as a dual Dutch national residing outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union.

      13. You will not be able to argue before a Dutch court that you “forgot” to renew in time and that you would like your Dutch nationality to be restored on account of failing to renew in a timely manner.

      Regards.

  43. Hi Paul
    Wondering with Brexit going in where people stand having 2 nationalities, mainly Dutch and British
    As a UK citizen, I know you always have the right to hold a passport of the United Kingdom, however, now that many British people have and are applying for Dutch nationality, do they have to give up, their UK Passport to claim Dutch citizenship? I know I haven’t, but please advise what the law is?
    Thanks
    Adrian

    • Hello Adrian.

      Under Dutch nationality law as explained in detail in the article, at present if an adult Dutch national voluntarily acquires a foreign nationality and he/she does not fall under one of three (3) exceptions in order to maintain Dutch nationality following naturalization, Dutch nationality will automatically be lost. There are no exceptions to this general rule.

      This general rule has been in effect under Dutch law since at least 1 July 1893 (therefore for over 100 years) through today.

      Only since 1 April 2003 may an adult Dutch national voluntarily acquire a foreign nationality only if he/she fulfills one of these following three (3) exceptions:

      1) the individual was born in the country whose nationality he/she did not acquire at birth and he/she voluntarily naturalizes to that nationality at age 18 or over. He/she must be residing in that country on the foreign naturalization date. Revised Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (2003) Artikel 15(2)a.

      2) the individual lived for at least five (5) uninterrupted years in the foreign country as a minor (under age 18), and he/she voluntarily acquires the foreign nationality at age 18 or over. In this case it is not required the individual must still be living in that country in order to acquire this foreign nationality and retain Dutch nationality. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)b.

      3) He/she is married to or is a registered civil partnership with a foreign national, and he/she acquires the spouse’s or registered civil partner’s nationality. It is mandatory the individual is still married (i.e. not divorced or widowed) or in a registered civil partnership with that foreign national on the foreign naturalization date.

      If there is a subsequent divorce, death or dissolution of the registered civil partnership after the foreign naturalization date, that is irrelevant. Dutch nationality may be retained.

      If the Dutch national does not fall under one of these three exceptions when acquiring any foreign nationality at age 18 or over, he/she will lose Dutch nationality by operation of law. There are no exceptions to this general rule.

      A British “common law” partnership does not comply with Dutch legal provisions regarding civil partnerships. The partnership must be registered and based on an executable formal document. If a Dutch national is in a “common law” partnership or just “living together” with a foreign national, this registered civil partnership does not comply with Dutch provisions.

      When naturalizing to Dutch nationality, a foreigner is required to renounce the foreign nationality unless he/she falls under one of the exceptions in order to retain the foreign nationality (such as the individual is married to or in a registered civil partnership with a Dutch national, or it is not possible to renounce the foreign nationality at all under that country’s law, or a significant amount of money must be paid in order to renounce, or the foreigner must fulfill military service first before being able to renounce that country’s nationality, amongst others).

      In all other cases, the foreign nationality must be renounced or Dutch nationality will be withdrawn (“ingetrokken”).

      You are not phrasing your sentence entirely correctly. You may know people who are applying for Dutch nationality by option statement. This is not the same as naturalization

      Option can be regarded as the individual already has a right to Dutch nationality based on certain criteria. All he/she need do is apply for the option. Therefore, it is not required to renounce the foreign nationality at all when acquiring Dutch nationality by option.

      There is only one (1) instance under Dutch law that a foreign national must renounce the foreign nationality if that is possible under the foreign country’s laws: a child who has lived since at least the age of 4 uninterrupted in the Netherlands and wishes to acquire Dutch nationality at age 18 or over. In this sole case must that foreign national renounce the foreign nationality.

      As explained above, naturalization is different. Naturalization is discretionary and conferred on the individual. The individual does not have a right to Dutch nationality (unlike with an option): he/she is petitioning for it. It is the gift of the Netherlands authorities to approve the naturalization which is then conferred onto the foreigner by the King.

      You therefore need to find out under what provision are these people opting for Dutch nationality. It is because they fall under one of the possibilities to acquire Dutch nationality under RRWN (2003) Artikel 6.

      If an individual was born on or subsequent to 1 January 1985 and his/her father is/was a Dutch national on his/her date of birth and irrespective of place of birth, that individual was born a Dutch national automatically. Option would be unnecessary. The individual already has Dutch nationality.

      If an individual was born prior to 1 January 1985 and the father was a Dutch national on the individual’s date of birth, the individual was born with Dutch nationality automatically. Option is not necessary. However, it could be that he/she has lost Dutch nationality over the course of time.

      If an individual was born prior to 1 January 1985 and only the mother (not the father) was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth, then the child was not born a Dutch national. It was not possible in most cases that a mother be able to transmit Dutch nationality to the child if the father’s nationality was known.

      Since 1 October 2010 this individual may apply for Dutch nationality by option and retain the foreign nationality (which makes sense).

      It is not possible that any individual living in the UK who is a UK national is acquiring Dutch nationality by naturalization in the UK. It is against Dutch public policy that an individual may naturalize to Dutch nationality if he/she is residing in his/her country of current citizenship.

      Therefore, any individuals whom you may know who are naturalizing Dutch are not UK citizens. It is not permitted to naturalize Dutch if one is naturalizing in his/her country of current citizenship.

      Therefore, a UK national may not naturalize Dutch if he/she is residing in the UK. Only non-UK nationals residing in the UK may naturalize Dutch: they are not UK nationals and are thus not precluded from naturalization under Dutch law. And if they fall under an exception in order to retain their foreign nationality under Dutch law, no renunciation of the foreign nationality when naturalizing Dutch is required.

      I am quite certain that if you know individuals who are trying to acquire Dutch nationality presently post-BREXIT, they are certainly opting and not naturalizing.

      Regards.

  44. Hi Paul,

    I am now 34 years old. I have never had a dutch passport or nationality certificate.

    I was adopted on 6 July 1998 by a dutch national. At the time i was 13 years old.

    The adoption happened in South Africa and was not recognized by a dutch court.

    I realize at that exact moment in time for it to be recognized in the Netherlands it would have to have been recognized by a dutch court for this to be so.

    I know the law changed in this regard on 1 October 1998 and all adoptions that occured within a specified list of countries would automatically have the adoption recognized in the Nerherlands.

    I attempted to apply for a Dutch Passport last month, basically trying my luck. I received a letter back from “Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken” where they basically told me exactly that, that the adoption needed to be recognized by a dutch court because it happened before 1 October 1998.

    They said I could appeal and that I might have to get in touch with a dutch lawyer to do so.

    My questions.

    1) Have I just been really unlucky in this regard? It seem’s that If i was adopted 3 months later, after 1 October 1998, in exactly the same way, I would have been a dutch national up until the age of 28?

    2) Do I have any grounds at all to appeal this? I mean I was still a minor after 1 October 1998?

    Thanks in advance for all the valuable information you have been giving.

    Kind Regards,
    Nicolas.

    • Hello Nicolas.

      Only an adoption that occurred in compliance with the Hague Convention or Book 10 of the Dutch Civil Code (BW) is recognized in the Netherlands.

      Recognition of adoptions that occurred prior to 1 January 2004:
      There is a difference between foreign adoptions with regard to those that occur under The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) that entered into force in the Netherlands on 1 October 1998 and those that do not.

      1. Adoptions under Hague Adoption Convention countries are recognized in the Netherlands commencing on 1 October 1998 only; or
      2. Adoptions that do not fall under the Convention.

      Regarding foreign adoptions pronounced abroad that do not fall under the Convention, further differences exist.
      a) Foreign adoptions where at least one parent is a Dutch national
      – as a rule if the adoption did not fall under adoption requirements in the Netherlands, the adoption was not recognized in the Netherlands before 1 October 1998.

      In this case, the minor-aged child also did not acquire Dutch nationality given the adoption was pronounced outside the Netherlands in a foreign country prior to 1 October 1998: the Dutch national adoptive parent would have to have the adoption pronounced subsequently by the court in the Netherlands, after which pronouncement by the Dutch court the child would acquire Dutch nationality.

      Therefore, up to 1 October 1998, only minor-aged children (i.e., children who were still under the age of majority under Dutch law) who were adopted in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba acquired Dutch nationality upon adoption by the Dutch national parent(s).

      If the adoption was pronounced abroad (as in your case), the adoption would have subsequently needed to be pronounced by the court in the Netherlands in order to be valid under Dutch law whereby the adopted child would acquire Dutch nationality.

      b) Foreign adoptions pronounced abroad that fall under the Hague Convention
      – an adoption that was pronounced on or subsequent to 1 October 1998 in a country that is a signatory to the Convention is recognized in the Netherlands if the Hague Convention procedure is followed. This only applies to “strong adoptions.” This is the case for foreign adoptions in the country where the Dutch national parent also resided.
      – If the foreign adoption was pronounced in a country that had signed the Hague Adoption Convention and the Netherlands was the country to which the adopted child would go to live with his/her adoptive parents, then the “Wet opneming buitenlandse kinderen” applied to the Dutch parents who had to be approved to adopt a foreign child by the Netherlands Minister of Justice.

      In your case, you did not acquire Dutch nationality through your adoption given:
      1. Your adoption pronounced in South Africa occurred on 6 July 1998 and was not pronounced subsequently by the court in the Netherlands; and
      2. South Africa did not adopt the Convention until 1 December 2003 (so there was no Hague Convention procedure for South Africa to follow for the adoption in July 1998 in your case).

      You thus did not acquire Dutch nationality by virtue of adoption by a Dutch national parent.

      [There are some differences with adoptions that occurred on or subsequent to 1 January 2004.]

      In answer to your questions:
      1) there is no possibility to deviate from what the law states, namely that any foreign adoption that occurred prior to 1 October 1998 was required to be recognized by the court in the Netherlands. Starting on 1 October 1998, the foreign adoption only was recognized in the Netherlands if the country of adoption was a Hague Convention country, and the Hague Convention adoption procedure was followed.

      This did not apply to your situation:
      – You were adopted in South Africa.
      – South Africa adopted the Hague Adoption Convention only on 1 December 2003.
      – If you were not yet age 18 on 1 December 2003, your foreign adoption would have had to be recognized subsequently by the court in the Netherlands and whilst you were still a minor on the day of the court’s pronouncement.
      Why solely if the child is a minor? The general principle in Dutch law regarding the adoption when the child is a minor is that the adoption must exclusively be in the interest of the minor-age child. Adoption is not meant for individuals to acquire offspring. In this sense, adult children do not have a need or interest to be adopted (Artikel 1:228, eerste lid aanhef en onder a BW).

      – The foreign adoption occurred in July 1998. The Hague Adoption Convention procedure was not in effect in the Netherlands only as of 1 October 1998 and not earlier (see above).

      2) As Dutch nationality was not acquired in the past by means of your adoption, it is not possible for a Netherlands passport to be issued to you at this time, which is what the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken/Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed.

      3) An administrative decision is appealable. That appeals procedure is indicated in the letter you received from the Ministry. If you decide to appeal the decision by following the procedures indicated and the imposed deadlines, and/or eventually you decide to appeal the decision in the relevant court in the Netherlands, you must be represented by Dutch counsel. That is a statutory requirement you must have a Dutch attorney.

      4) The fact you were still a minor on 1 October 1998 as you mention is actually irrelevant insofar as South Africa had not ratified the Hague Adoption Convention yet. It had force of law in South Africa only from 1 December 2003. The Hague Adoption Convention hence does not apply to your situation. The requirement the adoption be recognized and pronounced by the court in the Netherlands would have applied to your situation in July 1998.

      Therefore, you would not have been a Dutch national at all until age 28 as the adoption was never recognized and pronounced by the Dutch court by your 18th birthday. Dutch nationality was not acquired at all.

      Given the aforementioned, it is not possible under Dutch law to issue a Dutch passport.

      Kind regards.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thank you for the detailed reply, I appreciate the time you spent doing so.

        Keep up the good work.

        Kind Regards,
        Nicolas.

  45. Hello Paul,

    My father was born in Netherlands in 1948 and moved to Brazil with his parents in 1949. In 1973 he naturalized Brazilian in order to buy land and be able to work in Brazil. I understand that he has lost his nationality, but our question is; Is it able for him to regain his nationality? He has never wanted to lose his Dutch nationality, but at the time he needed to do it so he could work in Brazil. Today he wants his nationality back and he wants to know if it is possible. And in case he is able to regain his nationality, would I be able to get mine? I was born in 1991. Thank you.

    • Hello Dayane.

      I already answered this question on another forum for your family a few months ago.

      1. Your father naturalized Brazilian in 1973. It was a voluntary act. Therefore, the fact he did not wish to lose his Dutch nationality in naturalizing Brazilian is irrelevant. Your father thus lost Dutch nationality on his Brazilian naturalization date. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 7 in force at that time.

      2. This lost of Dutch nationality occurred automatically by operation of law (“van rechtswege”). No formal renouncement of Dutch nationality was required.

      3. You were born in 1991. As your father has no longer been in possession of Dutch nationality since 1973, you are unable to acquire a nationality that your father himself no longer had.

      4. While your heritage is Dutch, you have never held Dutch nationality given your father was not a Dutch national on your date of birth.

      5. The Netherlands does not have “ancestry” citizenship.

      6. The only way for your father to acquire his lost Dutch nationality is to obtain a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose to reside in the Netherlands. After one year of uninterrupted legal residence with the appropriate visa, he could opt to have his Dutch nationality restored via option and retain his Brazilian nationality.

      7. The only way for you to acquire Dutch nationality is via naturalization. It is not permitted under Dutch regulations to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in one’s own country of nationality. You would also be required to fulfill all the requirements for naturalization.

      8. Your father is ineligible for a Re-entry visa for the Netherlands as he was not both born AND raised in the Netherlands.

      9. Please read the detailed e-mail that your family received on this topic a few months ago when this same question was asked via another forum.

      10. The main point to remember is that under Dutch law, when acquiring a foreign nationality by naturalization, Dutch nationality is automatically lost. Whether one wished to lose Dutch nationality in naturalizing to a foreign nationality is irrelevant. This general principle has been in force under Dutch law since 1 July 1893 and through today.

      11. There are some exceptions at the present time where Dutch nationality is not automatically lost when naturalizing to a foreign nationality. Those specific exceptions have only been in effect since 1 April 2003 and through today. They were not in effect in 1973 when your father voluntarily naturalized Brazilian that resulted in the automatic loss of his Dutch nationality.

      12. The law only goes forward in time. It does not have retroactive effect under the current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap to undue your father’s situation in 1973.

      Best regards.

  46. Hello Paul,
    Thank you so much for answering all of our questions, what a fantastic resource.
    I was born Oct. 1983 in Canada to a Dutch father (born in Holland) who to this day retains his citizenship/passport, and to a Canadian mother. I understand that I had and now have lost my Dutch citizenship. My question is: Can I regain my Dutch citizenship by way of Option? Specifically 1 year non-temporary retirement visa in Curacao. From my reading I believe I can but have heard that I cannot due to my mother not being Dutch, I thought that didn’t matter as I was born before Jan. 1, 1985. Can you clarify?

    – I may have a follow up question in Dutch citizenship for my daughters, born in 2011 and 2012.

  47. Hi Paul

    I was born in New Zealand in 1955. Both my parents were Dutch (they emigrated to New Zealand in 1952 and 1953), held Dutch passports, and although they became permanent residents of New Zealand, never became New Zealand citizens or got New Zealand passports throughout their lives.

    My Dad passed away in 1986, and I believe he had a Dutch passport at the time. My Mum is still alive, but her Dutch passport expired many years ago.

    I obtained a New Zealand passport when I was about 20 (about 1975). At that time, I also obtained a ‘Bewijs van Nederlandschap’ (but I never renewed it once it expired).

    Over the years I have made enquiries at various times as to my eligibility for a Dutch passport (for sentimental reasons, as I feel very proud of my Dutch-ness). But I was always told that because I didn’t apply for a Dutch passport before I was 28 years old, I was no longer eligible.

    If I have read your article correctly, I might have missed an opportunity to become a Dutch citizen in 2003, as that option expired a couple of years later, and I am no longer eligible. Is that correct?

    I find it sad that I was born of two Dutch parents, and feel completely at home whenever I visit the Netherlands … yet I am obviously not considered ‘echt’ Dutch because I can’t get citizenship! The salt is rubbed in even further because my children have British passports, even though they have only *one* British-born parent (my wife)!

    Alle beste, Roly

    • Hi Roly.

      1. Dutch nationality law is different to UK law. For example, there are several sorts of “ancestral” citizenship rules under UK law or “ancestral” visas. The Netherlands does not have “ancestral” citizenship or “ancestral” visas.

      2. Dutch nationality is acquired via the Dutch national parent. As stated in the article, if a child was born prior to 1 January 1985 and the parents were married, the child automatically acquired Dutch nationality through his/her Dutch national father only. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a in effect since 1 July 1893. Place of birth is irrelevant in this acquisition.

      3. Therefore, your mother’s Dutch nationality is irrelevant to the manner in which you acquired Dutch nationality at birth (through your married Dutch national father).

      4. I shall presume as you were born in New Zealand you acquired New Zealand nationality by virtue of being born in New Zealand.

      5. You were thus born a dual Netherlands-New Zealand national. Your parents may not have known this, but that would not have changed the matter. Your acquisition of Dutch nationality would have been automatic. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a as referenced.

      6. As explained in the article, the WNI (1892) was replaced by the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) on 1 January 1985.

      7. Under the RWN (1985) Article 15c (oud), a dual Dutch national: 1) born abroad with the nationality of the country in which he/she was born (in your case NZ); and 2) born with Dutch nationality through the Dutch parent (your married Dutch national father); 3) would automatically lose Dutch nationality by operation of law if 4) he/she was residing in his/her country of birth (in your case: NZ) at age 28, therefore 5) he/she was not residing in The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

      8. This Artikel 15c would enter into effect no earlier than 1 January 1995, which is exactly 10 years after the RWN (1985) implementation date: 1 January 1985.

      9. Your situation was not explained correctly to you. It has nothing to do with age 28 in your case.

      10. You were born in 1955. Under the WNI (1892) in effect prior to 1 January 1985, a dual Dutch national born abroad would automatically lose Dutch nationality if, within 10 years after reaching the age of majority, he/she did not declare to The Netherlands authorities abroad that he/she wished to retain Dutch nationality. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5).

      11. Until 1 January 1988, the age of majority under Dutch law was 21.

      12. You would have turned 31 in 1986.

      13. However, the WNI (1892) was no longer in effect in 1986: the RWN (1985) was.

      14. You did not lose your Dutch nationality at age 31 (21 age of majority + 10 years to make a declaration to The Netherlands authorities = age 31) in 1986.

      15. As explained under point 7, automatic loss of Dutch nationality would occur at age 28 under the RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      16. As also explained under point 8, this provision of automatic loss would enter in effect on 1 January 1995 (and not before).

      17. Therefore, even if you were already 31 in 1986, the period between your 31st birthday in 1986 and 1 January 1995 was a sort of “grace period” for you. You retained your Dutch nationality. Artikel 15c had not yet gone into effect (and the WNI (1892) was no longer in effect).

      18. You lost your Dutch nationality by operation of law on 1 January 1995 at the age of 40. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      19. As explained in the article, the former Artikel 15c was revised in February 2000.

      20. Because of this revision, any dual Dutch national who had lost Dutch nationality by virtue of the former Artikel 15c could have Dutch nationality restored via option.

      21. As you had not been issued with a Netherlands passport or Dutch nationality certificate (Bewijs van Nederlanderschap) from 1 January 1990 or later, you had between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 to submit an option statement to The Netherlands authorities you wished to have Dutch nationality restored.

      22. Unfortunately, this temporary option period for individuals in your situation has closed.

      23. This is how you lost your Dutch nationality. The simplistic response you were given that you didn’t apply for a Netherlands passport by age 28 was incorrect.

      24. Even if you had had a valid Netherlands passport on 1 January 1995, you would have lost Dutch nationality regardless: 1) you were born in New Zealand; 2) you are a national of that country; 3) you were residing in New Zealand on 1 January 1995; and 4) on 1 January 1995 you were age 28 or older.

      25. Had you been residing in the Kingdom of The Netherlands or any other country but New Zealand on 1 January 1995, you would not have lost your Dutch nationality.

      26. Only commencing on 1 January 1985 under RWN (1985) does a child acquire Dutch nationality automatically by either married Dutch national parent (father or mother). Place of birth is irrelevant. Prior to 1 January 1985, Dutch nationality was almost exclusively acquired by the married Dutch national father only. The Netherlands, like many European countries, followed automatic acquisition of nationality via the patrilineal line and not the matrilineal line.

      27. There are currently no possibilities to re-acquire Dutch nationality whilst residing in New Zealand. It would be necessary to take up residence in The Netherlands under a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose first. After a period of one (1) year uninterrupted legal residence under a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose that would allow you to remain in the Netherlands, you could opt to have Dutch nationality restored via option and retain your New Zealand nationality.

      28. Or you could naturalize Dutch after fulfilling all the statutory requirements after residing in The Netherlands. You could also naturalize eventually whilst residing in a “third” country provided you fulfill all the statutory requirements for naturalization for an individual residing in The Netherlands. Unless you fall under an exception in which you may retain New Zealand nationality, if you naturalize Dutch you would be required to renounce your New Zealand nationality. That is a general legal requirement under Dutch nationality law.

      29. It is not permitted in any circumstance under Dutch nationality law to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in one’s current country citizenship (which makes total sense from an international law perspective).

      30. The main takeaway for you is: 1) you were born with Dutch nationality; 2) you lost Dutch nationality by operation of law on 1 January 1995 under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c (oud); and 3) there was a temporary option period open between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2005 inclusive to have Dutch nationality restored via option statement as you had lost it under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c (oud).

      31. Your situation of automatic loss of Dutch national under the former Artikel 15c (oud) is quite common: this automatic loss of Dutch nationality affected tens of thousands of dual Dutch nationals born abroad and who were residing in their country of birth and of which they were a national on 1 January 1995 and they had turned 28 on 1 January 1995 or after 1 January 1995.

      32. There are always ways for a former Dutch national to reacquire Dutch nationality. But no possibilities exist in this case when residing in the current country of nationality. Option possibilities for restoration of Dutch nationality exist whilst residing legally in The Netherlands only (and not abroad in one’s current country of nationality or even in a “third” country).

      I trust this explanation will help you. Could you be so kind to let us here at The Indo Project know you received this response?

      Best regards.
      Paul

  48. Hello Willem.

    1. As explained in the article for individuals in your situation, you were born a Dutch national as your father was a married (I’ll presume) Dutch national on your date of birth. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a.

    2. Place of birth or any other nationalities acquired at birth are irrelevant. If you had never been issued with a Netherlands passport or Dutch nationality certificate subsequently would not have changed this fact.

    3. As I shall presume you were 1) not issued with a Netherlands passport, Netherlands national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate at any time between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 inclusive; and 2) you had been living for an uninterrupted period of ten (10) years since 1 April 2003 outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union , you automatically lost your Dutch nationality on 1 April 2013 pursuant to the Rijkswet tot wijziging van de Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (2003) [RRWN (2003)] Artikel 15(1)c that entered into effect on 1 April 2003 as explained in the article.

    4. Your daughters both born prior to 1 April 2013 were born with Dutch nationality through you. Nevertheless, they automatically lost their Dutch nationality the day you did (1 April 2013) by operation of law.

    5. Under present Dutch nationality law, a minor-age child with a second or multiple nationalities will automatically lose Dutch nationality if the Dutch national parent loses Dutch nationality. This is so in order to maintain cohesiveness to the greatest extent possible of Dutch nationality (or the absence thereof) between parents and their minor-age children.

    6. The Dutch national minor-aged child who also has another nationality will not lose Dutch nationality so long one as at least one of the parents retains Dutch nationality through the child’s reaching the age of majority (which has been 18 since 1 January 1988 in the Netherlands) pursuant to RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2)a.

    7. As you were born prior to 1 January 1985 AND your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth, you were born a Dutch national automatically through your father as explained. Even if your mother had been a Dutch national as well on your date of birth, her Dutch nationality would have been irrelevant in your case.

    8. You are not Latent Dutch. Latent Dutch are children who: 1) were born prior to 1 January 1985; and 2) only whose mother was a Dutch national on their dates of birth (hence the father was NOT a Dutch national on their dates of birth. This is not your case); and 3) they had never acquired Dutch nationality by option at any time in the past (and subsequently lost it).

    9. There are no possibilities to re-acquire Dutch nationality via option as you are living in Canada. It is also prohibited under Dutch law for you to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in your country of nationality: Canada. Additionally, you would be required to fulfill all requirements for Dutch nationality. Unless you fall under an exception, you would be required to renounce your Canadian nationality upon naturalization.

    10. You are ineligible for the “Wedertoelating”/Re-Entry visa. This special visa is only issued to former Dutch nationals (irrespective of whether they are living in their current country of nationality) who were both: 1) born in the Netherlands (which is not your case); and 2) raised in the Netherlands (which is not your case either). Raised in the Netherlands (“getogen”) means that the individual had received at least one-half of his/her primary education (basisonderwijs) in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or equivalent education later on.

    11. As you acquired Dutch nationality only through a Dutch national parent because you were both born and raised abroad, this visa would only be issued to you if (cumulatively):
    – you are not residing in Canada, your present country of nationality; and
    – you are able to demonstrate effective ties to the Netherlands. Effective ties is equivalent to having worked for the Dutch civil service or authorities abroad, having completed education abroad mirrored on the Dutch school system and/or other criteria. These criteria are set by the Netherlands Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst/”IND.” The sole fact that one of your parents was a Dutch national or that you are a former Dutch national are not sufficient as to what constitutes effective ties to the Netherlands.

    12. This Re-Entry visa is only issued for the European portion of the Netherlands. Curaçao is not part of the European Netherlands.

    13. Netherlands legal provisions make the distinction between: i) former Dutch nationals (Oud Nederlanders) who were both born and raised in the Netherlands from ii) former Dutch nationals who were born and raised abroad (only through a Dutch national parent) or who were born in the Netherlands (but not raised there).

    14. This distinction is made because the Netherlands considers that the fact of having been both born and raised in the Netherlands is indicative of an effective tie to the Netherlands that cannot be severed or weakened over the course of time. Such would not be the case for the second category of former Dutch nationals not both born and raised in the Netherlands or born in the Netherlands but not raised there as indicated above.

    15. For this second category of former Dutch nationals, there is a higher bar of what constitutes an effective tie to the Netherlands, which explains why the visa will not be issued whilst these former Dutch nationals are residing in their current country of nationality.

    16. You could try and obtain a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (such as e.g., immediate family reunification or paid employment) in order to reside in the Netherlands. You can enquire with the IND as to other visas considered long-term for a non-temporary purpose (“machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf voor een niet-tijdelijk doel”). Merely residing in the Netherlands through an extended stay is not considered long-term residence for a non-temporary purpose.

    17. After one (1) year of legal residence in the Netherlands under a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose you may opt to have your Dutch nationality restored via option and retain your Canadian nationality.

    18. These are your current possibilities in order to re-acquire your Dutch nationality. As stated, there are no possibilities open to you at present (either via any option or naturalization) whilst residing in Canada.

    19. The individual who stated to you that you are ineligible to opt for Dutch nationality because your mother is not a Dutch national should have qualified the statement better. What he/she must have meant is that you are not Latent Dutch for the reasons I explained in detail above. The Latent Dutch option is available whilst residing in Canada because the Latent Dutch individual was never born with Dutch nationality to begin with. It simply was not possible under Dutch nationality that a child only whose mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth and the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 could acquire Dutch nationality (barring a few exceptional cases). Prior to 1 January 1985, in almost all cases, the child acquired Dutch nationality solely because the father (not the mother!) was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth. This is why a Latent Dutch individual is permitted to acquire Dutch nationality by option whilst residing in his/her country of citizenship: the individual was never born with Dutch nationality to begin with. The individual only acquires Dutch nationality on the option approval date.

    20. Option possibilities for you do exist. They are simply not open to you whilst you are residing in Canada. The statement made to you sounds as if the individual said there are no option possibilities at all for a former Dutch national in your situation.

    21. Lastly, just to be clear: neither you, nor your daughters are Latent Dutch.

    Best,

    Paul

  49. Hello Paul
    I have Dual Nationality, born and residing in New Zealand since birth. I hold a current EU Dutch passport which expires in 2024. I have three children who were all born in New Zealand and have resided in New Zealand since birth, all have Dutch passports which expired in October 2019. They are aged 20, 19 and 17 years respectively. Can they all renew their passports. I am hoping they have not automatically lost their Dutch citizenship.

    Thank you
    Paulina

    • Hello Paulina.

      1. Since 9 March 2014 all Netherlands passports are valid for 10 years from date of issue for adults age 18 and over.

      2. Passports for children under age 18 are only valid for 5 years from date of issue.

      3. Artikel 15(1)c of the Rijkswet is very clear: as explained in the article, since 1 April 2003 a dual Dutch national age 18 or over will automatically lose Dutch if nationality if he/she has been residing for an uninterrupted period of 10 years outside of the Kingdom of The Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union and fails to be issued with a new Netherlands passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate before the period of 10 years expires since the previous document was issued.

      4. For your sons age 19 and 20: they must be issued with a new NL passport (or an identity card or Dutch Nationality Certificate) by age 28. The 10-year clock only started to tick for them at age 18 (as under Dutch law the age of majority has been 18 since 1 January 1988).

      5. For your son age 17: the 10-year clock does not start ticking until his 18th birthday. He must be issued with one of the three (3) aforementioned documents by age 28.

      6. Just because a child is a minor and his/her Netherlands passport expires does NOT mean Dutch nationality has been lost because the Netherlands passport expired.

      7. As stated, the clock only starts to tick commencing at age 18 and NOT before.

      8. As long as at least one of the parents does not lose Dutch nationality whilst the child is a minor, the child will not lose Dutch nationality merely because The Netherlands passport expired.

      9. Your sons aged 19 and 20 would have to get new Dutch passports anyway: they are now over age 18.

      10. As an adult dual national residing outside of The Netherlands or the European Union, never allow your Netherlands passport to expire: it is much easier to renew it while the current Netherlands passport is still valid.

      11. You may wish to make it known explicitly to your sons that if they lose their Dutch nationality, it is quite difficult to re-acquire, and they cannot re-acquire it whilst residing in New Zealand. There are no possibilities under law currently for this.

      12. Under Dutch law, “timely” (tijdig) means the application for a new Netherlands passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate is not sufficient. The document must indeed have been issued before the current document expires. Otherwise, Dutch nationality will be lost by operation of law. NO exceptions.

      13. A Netherlands Embassy or Consulate General will not restore lost Dutch nationality because of failure to renew on a timely basis. They are not authorized under Dutch law to do so. Hence, if you lose Dutch nationality by failure to renew on a timely basis, Dutch law provides for no deviation from this absolute rule.

      14. All Netherlands passports and national identity cards must be requested in person. Biometric data will be taken. There is no way of applying by post. This is pursuant to a European Union directive that applies to all EU member states (and not just to The Netherlands; it is not just a Dutch legal requirement. All nationals of an EU member state must also renew passports in person).

      15. A Dutch nationality certificate (aka Bewijs van Nederlanderschap) may be applied for by post as it contains no biometric data.

      16. Any one of these three (3) documents will “reset” the 10-year clock.

      17. Once a new document is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run as long as said dual Dutch national continues to reside outside the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4).

      18. To retain Dutch nationality abroad it is very simple: as an adult age 18 or over, always keep your Netherlands passport up-to-date, and you will never have an issue.

      19. Could you be so kind to let us at The Indo Project know that you received this reply?

      Best regards.
      Paul

  50. Hi Paul,

    I’m trying to figure out if I am eligible for a Dutch Passport or not — I was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch mother and Australian father in (late) 1992, she acquired Australian citizenship in 1998 (and lost Dutch citizenship), my parents then later divorced and she reacquired her Dutch citizenship through the option process in 2006, listing my sister as a child reacquiring her citizenship as well. My father refused to have me listed on it when my mother regained hers, but I am unsure on whether due to the fact my mother was a citizen both when I was born and when I turned 18 in 2010 if I am a citizen.

    Your time is greatly appreciated.
    Andrew

  51. Hello Andrew.
    1. Your birth in The Netherlands is irrelevant in your case. You acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth because: 1) you were born on or subsequent to 1 January 1985; and 2) your mother was in possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth. Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 3(1). Place of birth is irrelevant in this acquisition.
    2. Your mother acquired Australian citizenship in 1998. You were 6 years old. As I shall presume you also acquired Australian citizenship automatically at birth through your Australian national father, your mother acquired the nationality you already had.
    3. Your mother’s acquisition of Australian nationality in 1998 resulted in the automatic loss of her Dutch nationality and, in turn, yours. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a with regard to your mother; RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)b with regard to you.
    4. Your mother re-acquired her Dutch nationality in 2006 via the temporary option period (in effect between: 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2013). Dutch law would have permitted her to retain her Australian nationality in so doing.
    What Australian law permits in this regard is not for me to state.
    5. In 2006 you were 14.
    6. A minor-age child (i.e., under age 18) may share in the acquisition of Dutch nationality by option of the parent if the child is specifically mentioned in the parent’s option for re-acquisition of Dutch nationality. RWN Artikel 11(8).
    7. You state that your name (contrary to your sister) was not specifically mentioned in your mother’s option statement in 2006. Therefore, under the RWN, you did not share in your mother’s re-acquisition of Dutch nationality (but your sister did).
    8. As in this circumstance you are not in possession of Dutch nationality, you are at present unable to be issued with a Dutch passport.
    9. For you to re-acquire Dutch nationality: as you were already a Dutch national at birth despite the fact you lost your Dutch nationality upon your mother’s Australian naturalization, the quickest way for you to regain Dutch nationality would be to be issued with a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose (“verblijfsvergunning voor een niet-tijdelijk doel”). After one (1) year of uninterrupted main residence in The Netherlands, you could opt to have Dutch nationality reinstated under artikel 6 lid 1 aanhef en under f RWN.
    10. There are currently no option possibilities for restoration of Dutch nationality open to you whilst residing in Australia or another country; only in The Netherlands.
    11. Remember that nationality and passport are not synonymous. One must have the nationality in order to be issued with a passport. It is the nationality that gives the passport. The passport does not give the nationality.
    Best regards.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thank you very much for your response with this, I appreciate it very much.
      I have a followup question or two with regards to this:
      Artikel 15(2)c suggests to me that because my mother was married to an Australian, she may not have lost her Dutch nationality under paragraph 1.
      Even if this would be the case, I think I may still have lost my nationality under Artikel 16(1)c, as even if my mother had not lost her nationality then I may have?
      Artikel 16(2)a suggests that if I was meant to lose Dutch nationality under paragraph 1, if my mother maintained Dutch nationality under the first item I mentioned then I would not have lost Dutch nationality?

      I am obviously no expert, so I very much appreciate your time!

      Andrew

  52. Hello Andrew,

    You are unfortunately misreading the law.

    1. The law only goes forward in time. The articles you have cited have been in effect since 1 April 2003 ONLY and through today when the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) was revised in February 2000.

    2. The provisions you have quoted were different in 1998.

    3. Your mother automatically lost her Dutch nationality in 1998. She voluntarily acquired a foreign nationality. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a. “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren door het vrijwillig verkrijgen van een andere nationaliteit.”

    4. This is how Artikel 15a read in the version of the RWN that was valid in 1998.

    5. If your mother had not lost her Dutch nationality upon her Australian naturalization in 1998, it would have been unnecessary your mother go through the temporary option procedure that was in effect between 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2013 of which I have already made mention. This permitted her in 2006 to re-acquire her Dutch nationality lost in 1998 upon her Australian naturalization (whether or not she was married in 1998 to an Australian).

    6. As I clearly explained in the article, it has only been since 1 April 2003 and through today in the current version of the RWN that a Dutch national does not automatically lose Dutch nationality when acquiring a foreign nationality.

    7. There are three (3) specific exceptions that henceforth exist (i.e., since 1 April 2003 and through today) whereby a Dutch national may acquire a foreign nationality at age 18.

    8. One of the exceptions is henceforth: RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)c: if said Dutch national is married to or in a registered civil partnership with a foreign national, and on the naturalization date, said Dutch national is still married or in a registered civil partnership with that foreign national.

    8. In the event (cumulatively): 1) your mother and father were still married on or subsequent to 1 April 2003; and 2) on or subsequent to 1 April 2003 your mother — married to her Australian spouse — voluntarily naturalized Australian (the nationality of her husband and a nationality you already had), your mother would NOT have lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law and, in turn, neither would you have.

    9. Under RWN (1985) in effect in 1998, the relevant Artikel that pertained to you was Artikel 16(1)b which read like this: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een minderjarige verloren indien zijn vader of moeder vrijwillig een andere nationaliteit verkrijgt en hij in die verkrijging deelt of deze nationaliteit reeds bezit.”

    10. In English: “A minor shall lose Dutch nationality in the event his father or mother voluntarily acquires another nationality, and he shares in this acquisition or already has this nationality.”

    11. Your mother voluntarily acquired a nationality that you already had: Australian. Loss of Dutch nationality by your mother and you in 1998.

    12. One of the main objectives under Dutch nationality law is for the parents and any minor age children to have uniformity within the family of Dutch nationality to the greatest extent possible. This is based on a few public policy and international treaty concepts: the interest and protection of the minor-age child with regard to the child’s Dutch nationality and the protection of the family unit.

    13. You quoted RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(1)c. Its language mirrors the (former) RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)b under which you lost your Dutch nationality in 1998. Same thing.

    14. You then quoted RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2)a. As I explained under Point 8 hereabove, had your mother naturalized Australian on or subsequent to 1 April 2003 whilst married to your father, she would have retained her Dutch nationality and, in turn, so would you.

    15. In this case, were she to have lost her Dutch nationality thereafter whilst you were still under 18 (i.e, until your 18th birthday in 2010), then you too would have lost your Dutch nationality pursuant to RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2)a. Your mother is the only Dutch parent in your family. Loss of Dutch nationality by the mother and the minor-age child (you and your sister). Objective of the RWN met: uniformity of Dutch nationality in the family between your mother and you and your sister (as minors). In this case, loss of Dutch nationality by everyone because all of you have another nationality: Australian.

    16. Therefore, please be aware that the version of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap from which you are quoting is its current version in effect since 1 April 2003 through today. It is not the same version as the original RWN (1985) that entered into effect on 1 January 1985 and that still had force of law on your date of birth in 1992 and in 1998, when your mother (and you) lost Dutch nationality.

    17. In conclusion:

    – before 1 April 2003 a Dutch national always lost Dutch nationality automatically when acquiring a foreign nationality voluntarily. It did not matter if said Dutch national was married or not. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a.

    – on 1 April 2003, an adult Dutch national no longer automatically loses Dutch nationality when acquiring a foreign nationality, provided said Dutch national is still married or in a registered civil partnership with the foreign national whose nationality the Dutch national voluntarily acquires on the foreign nationality effective date. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)c

    – there are two (2) other exceptions where an adult Dutch national may voluntarily acquire a foreign nationality and retain Dutch nationality. As clearly stated in the article:

    1. the Dutch national was born in the country whose nationality he/she did not acquire at birth, but at age 18 or over, said Dutch national voluntarily naturalizes to that nationality provided he/she is still living in that country on the foreign naturalization date. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)a. Retention of Dutch nationality.

    2. The Dutch national lived for a period of at least five (5) uninterrupted years in a foreign country, and at age 18 or above, said Dutch national voluntarily acquires that nationality. In this case, it is not required said Dutch national still be living in that country on the foreign naturalization date. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)b. Retention of Dutch nationality.

    As you can see, the third exception is the one already discussed: voluntary naturalization to the nationality of the foreign spouse or registered civil partner: RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)c. Retention of Dutch nationality.

    Once again: these three (3) exceptions whereby a Dutch national may naturalize to a foreign nationality and retain Dutch nationality have only been in effect since 1 April 2003 (and not before) and through today.

    18. I am quite certain that in 1998, your mother was aware that upon her Australian naturalization, she would lose her Dutch nationality. However, your mother seems to have been made aware at a point after 1 April 2003 that a temporary option period was open for her to re-acquire her Dutch nationality (as Artikel 15 had been revised), and that she availed herself of this possibility at least for herself and your sister (as your sister was specifically mentioned in your mother’s option).

    As, prior to 1 April 2003, your mother had naturalized voluntarily to her husband’s nationality, it was only logical Dutch law provide her with a 10-year window in which to have her Dutch nationality restored by option as since 1 April 2003, a Dutch national would no longer automatically lose Dutch nationality when acquiring the foreign spouse’s nationality under the (now) revised Artikel 15.

    This is why this temporary option period existed: for former Dutch nationals such as your mother.

    19. Had your mother not been apprised of this temporary option window between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2013 inclusive, your mother would have missed the opportunity. The only way she could have re-acquired her Dutch nationality would be to move back to The Netherlands and take up permanent residence there. That means, in turn, your sister also would not have re-acquired Dutch nationality.

    Regards.

  53. Good afternoon Paul.

    I am not on FB and have no email address for you, and therefore have no other forum to engage with you other than this website. I apologise in advance therefore is my circumstances as explained hereunder have been addressed previously, but I am at a loss to know what to do given my circumstances and would be immensely grateful for your guidance.

    I was born in Curacao (N Antilles) in 1971 to Dutch parents. We lived in the Antilles for a few years, then back to Holland for a year and to South Africa in 1975. I grew up in SA and as a minor at age 16 was given an ultimatum by the SA Govt to take on SA citizenship (and therefore to be drafted in the army at some point in the future), or be deported when I turned 18. I would still have been at school at 18, so I had no choice.

    At no point (to this day) did I voluntarily give up my Dutch Nationality, nor did my parents. As evidence thereof, neither my Mother who retuned to Holland in 1998 nor my Father who has since passed away were allowed to vote in SA. Furthermore my wife and I lived overseas between 1996 and 2001 and prior to our departure I was issued with a letter from the SA Govt giving me permission to use and travel on my Dutch passport, thereby acknowledging my dual citizenship.

    Before we left in 1996 and since we returned, I have lived in SA. I used this same letter when I travelled to the USA in 2012 for 2 weeks and was informed when leaving SA that the letter was invalid (I argued the point unsuccessfully at the time for fear of not being allowed back into SA on my return). I still travelled on my Dutch passport and was informed (told/threatened) that if I didn’t obtain a SA passport within 3 months of my return, I would not be allowed back into SA should I ever travel abroad again. With my family and kids in SA I was left with no choice so was again forced to acquire a SA passport which I had never had until then.

    I have had no need to travel abroad since then and did not realise that my Dutch passport had expired in Aug of 2013. I was similarly unaware of the “10 year rule” that required me to renew my Dutch Passport within 10 years of the issuance of my last passport, which was 15 Aug 2008. When looking into renewing my passport and applying for the same for my 3 kids, I was informed that I was ‘too late’ and had lost my Dutch Nationality and passport.

    Frankly I was devastated because I never imagined that that would ever be possible being Dutch by birth to Dutch parents etc etc… Nonetheless I made application to renew my passport at the Embassy in Pta in Sept/Oct last year (2019) and was informed that my application would be declined, or they could hold onto it and wait to hear the outcome of the court case going on in the EU Court in Brussels (?) wherein the possibility of loosing one’s nationality of an EU member state, and therefore one’s right to live and/or work and/or travel in the EU, was being challenged. I was also told that there was a strong chance that the “10 year rule” would be successfully challenged and there was every possibility that my Dutch Nationality would be restored and therefore my passport application accepted.

    In respect of that outcome, from the letter I have received and what else I have read, it appears apparent that this is not entirely true. You are no doubt very familiar with that case, and my understanding is that although the case was won the ruling has not yet been made clear. By all accounts it may be that the ‘exclusion’ of the 10 year rule could only apply to those already residing in the EU? If that is so, I am gravely concerned therefore that my Dutch Nationality will in fact NOT be restored as is my hope. And my kids will therefore not have the opportunity to stay with their Oma and quite possibly study in Holland, as has been our hope.

    Can you offer further clarity given the background of my life’s story as I’ve noted above? I cannot say that I am desperate to regain my Dutch Nationality, but for lack of a better word I am desperate and despite having tried various other avenues to gain clarity, I remain relatively speaking in the dark.

    Thank you in advance.
    Winston

  54. Hello Winston.

    Here is some clarification.

    There have always been provisions under Dutch nationality law that provide for Dutch nationality to be lost under certain circumstances.

    This loss is automatic. It occurs by operation of law (“van rechtswege”) whether the Dutch national was aware or did not wish for such to occur. It is always an issue of what life event occurred that would automatically result in loss of Dutch nationality and in which year.

    There have been various laws on Dutch nationality since at least 1850. The most recent ones are:

    1) The Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) (WNI (1892)) in effect between 1 July 1893 and 31 December 1984 inclusive; and
    2) The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN (1985)) that replaced the WNI (1892) and entered into effect on 1 January 1985.

    The RWN is still in effect today, although there have been certain revisions.

    2. You state you were born in Curaçao in 1971 to Dutch parents. You were thus born a Dutch national automatically because of two (2) sole criteria: 1) you were born prior to 1 January 1985; and 2) your father was a married Dutch national on your date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a

    Your mother’s Dutch nationality is thus irrelevant in this acquisition. Therefore, you acquired Dutch nationality solely through your Dutch national father, and not through your Dutch national mother.

    Your birth in Curaçao (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) is also irrelevant in this acquisition.

    3. I shall not comment on the facts pertaining to your South African nationality as I can only comment on your Dutch nationality. The only interesting fact is that in principle, by acquiring South African nationality, you would have lost your Dutch nationality by operation of law, whether or not you were aware or did not wish to. You would NOT have been required to submit a Renunciation Statement (“Verklaring van Afstand”) to the Dutch authorities because, as stated, the loss of Dutch nationality occurs by operation of law. There is no formal requirement of submitting a Renunciation Statement.

    4. Many former Dutch nationals are under the mistaken impression that Dutch nationality can never be lost on account of Dutch parents or birth in The Netherlands. Dutch nationality is not acquired if one is born in The Netherlands. There is only one exception to that rule that does not apply to the case at hand.

    5. Further, if one has a second nationality in addition to Dutch nationality or a Dutch national acquires a foreign nationality, Dutch nationality can automatically be lost without the Dutch national being aware. It always depends on: 1) which law was in effect on that date (was it the WNI (1892) or the RWN (1985) or the RRWN (2003)?); and 2) what life event occurred that resulted in said loss of Dutch nationality?

    6. Having been issued with a Dutch passport in the past is also not a guarantee Dutch nationality must then necessarily always be retained or will always be retained. As stated, under Dutch nationality law, such depends on: 1) the nature of the life event that may have resulted in the loss of Dutch nationality in the first place; and 2) the year in which this loss occurred as explained in my article so that either the WNI (1892); OR the RWN (1985); OR the RRWN (2003) can be applied.

    7. Therefore, legally yours is also a question of whether the Dutch authorities were ever aware or suspected that you had become a South African national at some point in the past. If the Dutch authorities had been aware of this fact at that time, you would have lost your Dutch nationality on the day you acquired South African nationality. My assumption is that they were unaware, so the point is mute at this stage.

    8. The RWN (1985) was revised in February 2000. It is referred to as the RRWN (2003). Under this new legislation, commencing on 1 April 2003, new provisions with regard to automatic loss of Dutch nationality entered into effect as did certain provisions that would result in retention of Dutch nationality when obtaining a foreign nationality.

    9. Commencing on 1 April 2003, under RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c, any dual Dutch national would automatically lose Dutch nationality if (cumulatively) he/she:

    a) resides outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union for an uninterrupted period of 10 years; AND
    b) he/she is not issued with a new Dutch passport, Dutch national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate (“Verklaring omtrent bezit van het Nederlanderschap”) before 10 years has elapsed since one of these documents had last been issued; AND
    c) the dual Dutch national is age 18 or over.

    [RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren indien hij tevens een vreemde nationaliteit bezit en tijdens zijn meerderjarigheid gedurende een ononderbroken periode van tien jaar in het bezit van beide nationaliteiten zijn hoofdverblijf heeft buiten Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao en Sint Maarten, en buiten de gebieden waarop het Verdrag betreffende de Europese Unie van toepassing is, anders dan in een dienstverband met Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao of Sint Maarten dan wel met een internationaal orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van of als ongehuwde in een duurzame relatie samenlevend met een persoon in een zodanig dienstverband.”]

    10. Once one of these documents is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run if and so long as the dual Dutch national continues to reside outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4)

    11. You stated you were last issued with a Dutch passport on 15 August 2008. I know that this Dutch passport had a validity of five (5) years. Until 9 March 2014, all Dutch passports and national identity cards were only valid for five (5) years from date of issue for adults age 18 and over. Since 9 March 2014, Dutch passports and national identity cards are valid for 10 years from date of issue for adults age 18 and over.

    As you stated and I can confirm, your Dutch passport would have expired on 15 August 2013. You stated you have been residing continuously in South Africa since 15 August 2008.

    12. Pursuant to RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c, you had until 15 August 2018 to be issued with any one of these three documents. Otherwise, you would automatically lose your Dutch nationality as: a) you had had been living outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any member state of the EU since 15 August 2008 AND b) you had another nationality: South African; AND c) you were age 18 or older on 15 August 2008.

    13. You thus did not lose your Dutch nationality on 15 August 2013. You had another five (5) years under Artikel 15(1)c: 15 August 2008 (issuance date of Dutch passport) + 5 years Dutch passport validity = 15 August 2013 + 5 additional years [in order to equal 10 years since last Dutch passport was issued in 2008] = 15 August 2018 (loss of Dutch nationality for you and any children still under age 18 on that date).

    [RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(1)d: “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een minderjarige verloren indien zijn vader of moeder het Nederlanderschap verliest ingevolge artikel 15, eerste lid, onder b, c of d of ingevolge artikel 15A”]

    14. One of the general principles under Dutch nationality law is that the Dutch nationality status of minor-aged children should necessarily follow the Dutch nationality status of the Dutch parent to the greatest extent possible. This is in the interest and protection of the family unit and the child so that uniformity of Dutch nationality within families is ensured to the greatest extent possible (“eenheid van de Nederlandse nationaliteit in het gezin”).

    15. The EU court case issued by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg to which you are referring is the “Tjebbes” ruling. This ruling still gives great deference to EU member states that member states are free to legislate their own laws with regard to the loss of that nationality. However, the loss of that member state’s nationality and its effect on the individual must be proportionate in order to guarantee their rights as former EU citizens.

    16. The Dutch government is still reviewing how to test this “proportionality” with regard to automatic loss of Dutch nationality under RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c given “Tjebbes.”

    17. The “Tjebbes” ruling does not necessarily guarantee restoration of Dutch nationality to all former Dutch nationals who have lost Dutch nationality pursuant to RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c. The loss must be proportionate to the effective ties the former Dutch national has to the Netherlands, for example.

    Being a former Dutch national in and of itself is not considered an effective tie. Neither is having a relative residing in the Netherlands. Until more clarity comes in the coming months from the Dutch government, no specific answer to this can be given at this time. It appears the Netherlands embassy in South Africa alluded to the same thing.

    18. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c was in effect for five (5) years already (1 April 2003) since your last Dutch passport was issued in 2008. As these laws are published, I regret to inform you that one cannot assert to the Dutch court that one was unaware that he/she would lose Dutch nationality by failure to renew the Dutch passport within 10 years since the last Dutch passport was issued.

    19. The reason for this is that the ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, lost and retained are summarized in the RWN (in Dutch “het verkrijgen en het verlies van het Nederlanderschap zijn limitatief opgesomd in de Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap”).

    Thus, not being aware of the 10-year rule under Artikel 15(1)c (in effect since 1 April 2003) is not a reason for which Dutch nationality may be retained under the RWN.

    20. Currently (and until more clarity is issued with regard to “Tjebbes”), there are no ways for you to re-acquire Dutch nationality in South Africa (your country of current nationality), be it by option statement or by naturalization.

    Re-acquisition of Dutch nationality by option statement can only be done in the Netherlands after legal residence there for at least one (1) full year.

    21. Naturalization is another possibility, but naturalization is only available whilst residing in the Netherlands under the eligibility conditions or whilst residing in a country other than South Africa under the same eligibility conditions.

    22. It is a matter of Dutch public policy that one is not permitted to naturalize Dutch if one is residing in one’s current country of nationality, in your case: South Africa.

    Best regards.

  55. Hello – Dutch citizenship is something i’ve been trying to figure out for years. I am of Dutch-Indonesian decent (Grandfather Dutch Marine/Grandmother Indonesian) and my father was born in NL. I was born prior to 1985 so it is my understanding that I automatically am entitled to birthright citizenship. It is complicated in that my family came to the U.S. in 1960 and never returned to NL to live (my grandparents traveled there to visit yearly, my father did not). At the time of my birth my father was a Dutch Citizen but he does not know if he had a Dutch Passport at that time as he never traveled abroad after coming to the U.S. and became a U.S. citizen around 1990. Is is possible for me to claim citizenship and obtain a NL passport still? Dank u wel.

    • Hello.

      Your situation is not complicated at all.

      However, you do not give the exact year of your birth.

      I’ll presume your mother was not a Dutch national on your date of birth.

      The fact that after your grandparents traveled to visit The Netherlands yearly is irrelevant with regard to Dutch nationality.

      1. You were born prior to 1 January 1985 and your father was a Dutch citizen on your date of birth. You were born with Dutch nationality automatically, whether or not anyone in your family was aware. WNI (1892) Artikel 1.

      2. If you were under age 18 in 1990 when your father naturalized to become a US citizen, then you automatically lost Dutch nationality the day your father did. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a with regard to your father; RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)b with regard to you, as I shall presume your father naturalized to the nationality that you already had: USA.

      3. On the contrary, if you were age 18 or over in 1990, then you have lost Dutch nationality over the course of time.

      4. The fact your father may not have had a valid Dutch passport at any time since his arrival in the USA before he became a US citizen in 1990 did not result in your father becoming stateless or losing his Dutch nationality: an expired Dutch passport or absence of a Dutch passport would not have resulted in his loss of Dutch nationality solely for these reasons.

      Your father lost Dutch nationality by operation of law, because he voluntarily acquired US citizenship in 1990. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a as stated.

      5. If you were under age 18 in 1990, then when your father became a US citizen in 1990, your father lost his Dutch nationality by operation of law and, in turn, so did you.

      6. As you are not a Dutch citizen at this time, you are ineligible to be issued with a Dutch passport, despite your Dutch heritage.

      Best regards.

      Paul MUNSELL

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