ImmigrationNews
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.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article is information provided by the author and not The Indo Project. This advice does not constitute legal advice. The advice you are receiving as a result of your questions is provided for informational purposes only.

298 Comments

  1. Dear Paul

    I hope that you can assist me. My grandparents were both born in Holland, Amsterdam and Velp respectively. My grandfather was born on the 26th of April 1894 and my grandmother on the 6 of May 1902. My Grandfather was three when his parents moved to South Africa in 1897. My Grandmother also move to South Africa at some point, but of that date I am uncertain. Both born Dutch Nationality they moved to South Africa with the respective parents and married in South Africa on the 10th of May 1923, they had Dutch Birth certificates.

    My mother was born on the 09th of May 1931 in South Africa and had a South Africa citizenship. Is there anyway that I would still be eligible for a dual Dutch passport based on the nationality of my late grandparents? I am now 56 years old born 10 October 1956 in South Africa.

    Kind regards

    Catherine

    • Hello Catherine.

      You have presented insufficient facts for the determination of whether you qualify for the Latent Dutch option at this time. Certain assumptions have been made in the facts you have presented.

      1. You have never been in possession of Dutch nationality, neither at birth, nor at any time through today. You are thus ineligible for the issuance of a Dutch passport at this time. This is certain. Please read the below points carefully.

      2. A passport is a travel document only. It permits the bearer to cross borders. It is not evidence of nationality.

      3. Why not? Because Dutch nationality can be lost automatically/immediately/by operation of Dutch law at the very moment a life event occurs that under Dutch nationality law results in the automatic loss of Dutch nationality.

      4. Just because the bearer may have a valid Dutch passport on the date a qualifying life event occurs, this is no safeguard to retention of Dutch nationality. The Dutch passport immediately is invalid: the individual simply no longer has Dutch nationality.

      5. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained, and lost are clearly stipulated in the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) [in force from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984], or under the current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap [in force since 1 January 1985].

      6. The information you have provided is insufficient to make a determination because it appears that assumptions are being made that are not necessarily true.

      7. You state that your grandparents had their Dutch birth certificates “certified” in 1985. So what? That does not mean necessarily that your grandparents individually had retained their Dutch nationality unequivocally throughout their entire lives.

      8. Any individual born in the Netherlands – whether a native Dutch national or a foreigner – may apply for and be issued with the birth certificate.

      9. Dutch nationality is NOT acquired by birth in the Netherlands. Birth in a country such as South Africa or the United States of America results in automatic acquisition of those nationalities at birth.

      10. This is not the case in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch nationality is acquired at birth through the Dutch nationality of the parent in the direct ascending line, and depending on i) exactly WHICH PARENT was the Dutch national and II) whether the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 or on or after 1 January 1985.

      11. These are important nuances to remember going forward. I repeat: Dutch nationality is not acquired by simple birth in the Netherlands. There is only one case under present Dutch nationality law where Dutch nationality is acquired by birth in the Netherlands. That provision is irrelevant to either one of your maternal grandparents.

      12. Your grandparents did not acquire Dutch nationality because they were born in the Netherlands. They acquired Dutch nationality because they each had a married Dutch national FATHER on their respective dates of birth in accordance with Artikel 1a of the former WNI (1892) which was in effect in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when each was born, and both were obviously born prior to 1 January 1985.

      13. If their mothers were also Dutch nationals on their dates of birth at that time is entirely irrelevant.

      14. Further, Dutch nationality law is never based on the fact an individual had grandparents who were Dutch nationals. Therefore, the way in which you word you statement should be amended so that there is no confusion.

      15. Dutch nationality is not acquired “by descent” (this term is most often used by South Africans in my experience) because the individual had a Dutch national grandparent. The grandparent’s Dutch nationality is only relevant to the extent it determines exactly whether the child (in your case, your mother) acquired Dutch nationality at birth, and, as I have clearly stated: 1) WHICH PARENT was the Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and 2) WHEN was the child was born (either before 1 January 1985 or on or after 1 January 1985?).

      16. Dutch law does not provide for acquisition of Dutch nationality by “descent” from a Dutch national grandparent. Nor does the Netherlands have “ancestry” visas from a Dutch national grandparent or parent. Perhaps other countries do, but their laws have no effect on Dutch nationality law (and vice versa).

      17. You must provide more specific information by answering the following questions specifically:

      a. Did your maternal great-grandparents (your maternal grandfather’s parents) ever naturalize Dutch while your maternal grandfather was under age 21?

      b. Did your maternal grandfather ever naturalize South African? You will be required to know this with certainty, and the fact his birth certificate was “certified” in 1985 does not imply he remained a Dutch national throughout his entire life. He could have been issued with an official copy of his Dutch birth certificate at any time, irrespective of his nationality on the day on which said official copy was applied for.

      c. Did your maternal great-grandparents (your maternal grandmother’s parents) ever naturalize Dutch while your maternal grandmother was under age 21?

      d. Did your maternal grandmother ever naturalize South African? Same comment as sub-point b. hereabove.

      e. You state you were born on 10 October 1956, and are 56 years old. If you were born in 1956, you would be 66. Please confirm your year of birth/age.

      18. You are unable to know with certainty whether your mother was born a Dutch national in 1931. That would depend on whether HER MARRIED FATHER (emphasis added) was still a Dutch national on her date of birth.

      19. If your mother ever was born a Dutch national in South Africa (which cannot be known with certainty for the reasons I have explained hereabove due to incomplete information regarding your maternal grandfather), your mother subsequently lost her Dutch nationality in South Africa as an adult. This I can already state with certainty if, indeed, her father had remained a Dutch national on her date of birth in 1931.

      20. Incidentally, in the hypothetical your maternal grandparents remained Dutch nationals through their death, this has no bearing on you. I state “in the hypothetical” because you must confirm with absolute certainty whether your maternal grandfather was a Dutch national on your mother’s date of birth. The official copy of his birth certificate issued in 1985 is no guarantee he always retained his Dutch nationality throughout his life. Until you confirm his status, his Dutch nationality status in 1985 remains an assumption, not a fact.

      21. In any event, from your birth and through today, you have never been a Dutch national based on the facts you have presented.
      Since you are not a Dutch national presently, you cannot be issued with a Dutch passport at this time as already stated under Point 1 hereabove.

      22. If one is in possession of Dutch nationality, a Dutch passport may be issued. If one is not in possession of Dutch nationality, a Dutch passport application will simply not be processed.

      23. It is the nationality that gives the right to the issuance of the passport (and not the other way around).
      One either has Dutch nationality in the first place, or one does not. It is that simple. Dutch nationality is never acquired because one applies for and is issued with a Dutch passport.

      24. Please answer my above questions with absolute certainty. Thank you.

      Best regards.

  2. In reply to Richard Bemelen (belated reply)

    Hello Richard.

    I have not seen your question before.

    Your mother lost her Dutch nationality on the day she and her Dutch father naturalized Australian in 1963.

    In 1963 your mother was age 14. She was a Dutch national, and so was her father. Both her father and your mother naturalized Australian. Your mother thus shared in this Australian naturalization as a minor (this is referred to as “deelachtig worden van een vreemde nationaliteit”/shared naturalization).

    Hence, automatic loss of Dutch nationality of her father and of your mother. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1)

    No formal renunciation of Dutch nationality was required. The loss of Dutch nationality occurs by operation of the WNI (1892) the moment the foreign nationality (Australian) was acquired.

    Therefore, in 1969 when you were born, your mother was no longer a Dutch national, and hadn’t been since 1963.

    This means that although your heritage is Dutch on your maternal side, you were not born of a Dutch national mother at all, and have never been in possession of Dutch nationality.

    Best regards.

  3. Richard Bemelen says:
    December 27, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    Hi Paul – and thank you for taking the time to publish all this information. Unfortunately, I think I know the answer to my question, based on the information provided; but I’d like to know for sure.

    My mother was born in the Netherlands in 1949, to a Dutch father, and a German-born mother. They emigrated to Australia in 1956, and were naturalised in 1963. There was no requirement for renunciation of existing citizenship at the time.

    I was born in 1969. At the time, my mother was married to my father, who was an Australian citizen.

    It seems, based on the 1892 WNI, that my mother lost her citizenship due to her father becoming naturalised in 1963. Is this correct?

  4. In Reply to Janine Martinez

    PAUL MUNSELL says:
    June 22, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    Artikel 15(1)a of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap specifically states an adult Dutch national will lose Dutch nationality automatically when acquiring a foreign nationality.

    Artikel 15(2)a-c RWN lists three (3) exceptions for retention of Dutch nationality when naturalizing to a foreign nationality.

    *Note: These three (3) exceptions do not apply when naturalizing Austrian. If a Dutch national voluntarily naturalizes Austrian, Dutch nationality is automatically lost even if the Dutch national might otherwise fall under one (1) of the three (3) exceptions below.

    You MUST fall under one (1) of the three (3) exceptions below in order to retain your Dutch nationality when naturalizing to a foreign nationality.

    1. You were born in that country. You did not acquire that nationality at birth. At age 18 or older, you voluntarily naturalize to that country’s nationality. You must still be residing in that country on the date that country’s nationality is voluntarily acquired. Artikel 15(2)a

    2. You resided for at least five (5) uninterrupted years as a minor in that foreign country. At age 18 or older, you voluntarily naturalize to that country’s nationality. You are not required still to be residing in that country on the date that nationality is voluntarily acquired (unlike under Point 1 above). Artikel 15(2)b

    3. On your foreign naturalization date, you are either married to or in a registered civil partnership with a national of that country. You must still be married to or in a registered civil partnership with that national on that foreign naturalization date; you have not become widowed or divorced, or the registered civil partnership has not been dissolved in the interim. If you and your spouse or registered civil partner divorce, or your spouse or registered civil partner passes away, or the registered civil partnership is dissolved on a date after the foreign naturalization date, this is irrelevant. Dutch nationality is retained. Artikel 15(2)c

    Unless you clearly fulfill one (1) of the three (3) exceptions enumerated above, if you naturalize U.S. voluntarily at this point, you will lose your Dutch nationality the moment you acquire U.S. nationality.

    If you have a valid Netherlands passport, this is no safeguard. Let’s be very clear on this point. The Netherlands passport will be immediately invalid. The fact you own property in Curaçao is irrelevant in your retention of Dutch nationality for the plain and simple reason that owning property in Curaçao is not a category under the RWN that provides for retention of Dutch nationality. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained, and lost are specifically enumerated in the RWN. Owning property in Curaçao is not a category as stated.

    No formal renunciation of Dutch nationality is required. The automatic loss occurs by operation of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (i.e., “van rechtswege”).

    The three (3) exceptions above entered into force on 1 April 2003, and are still in effect today.

    In sum: to retain your Dutch nationality, you MUST fall under one (1) of the three (3) exceptions above if you voluntarily naturalize U.S. Otherwise, you will automatically/instantaneously lose your Dutch nationality on the date you naturalize U.S. as an adult age 18 and older.

    • Hello , My question is about my mother . she was born December 5 1964 in the Dominican Republic . her father was a Dutch citizen at the time of her birth. He is deceased now , but his name is on her birth certificate. My mom was born in the Dominican Republic but she currently lives in the US with a green card . She tried to applied for the Dutch citizenship back in 1992 but they told her that since she was 29 years of age that she couldn’t do it anymore . Has this changed ? Or is there anyway where my mom can reinstate her Dutch citizenship that she had at birth .Thank you so much for your time .

      • Danny,

        You have not provided enough specific information.

        It is incorrect to assume that just because the Dutch national father’s name appears on a birth certificate that the child automatically acquired Dutch nationality at birth.

        Perhaps the father’s name on the birth certificate is sufficient under Dominican Republic law, but that does not necessarily mean that Dutch law provides for the same.

        This would entirely depend on whether the Dutch national father was married to the child’s mother.

        If the parents were unmarried, that does not necessarily mean that in 1964, your mother acquired Dutch nationality at birth just based on the sole fact the Dutch national father’s name appears on her Dominican Republic birth certificate.

        Additionally, if the Dutch national father was married to someone else, then the Dutch national father could not acknowledge the child as his under Dutch law. In that case, the foreign-born child did not acquire Dutch nationality at birth.

        You have not stated the marital relationship between the parents if there was one. Were the parents unmarried?

        Did the Dutch national father, not married to the mother, formally acknowledge the child (the indication of his name on the foreign birth certificate is insufficient)?

        What was the mother’s nationality at the time of birth of the child?

        Was the mother married to someone else?

        Until you provide much more specific information, no further assessment can be made with regard to your question. You have not supplied enough specific, unambiguous facts.

        Regards.

  5. Janine martinez says:
    June 19, 2022 at 11:45 am

    I would like to ask a question.I’m a native born Dominican, have Dutch citizenship thru marriage for many years. I moved to USA 21 years ago and have a green card. I now want to become USA citizen. Can I loose my Dutch citizenship . I still travel to curacao where I have property. And have a valid Dutch passport

  6. Lieber Paul,
    nicht sehen, nicht sprechen in oh, ich glaube, es sind mindestens 40 Jahre vergangen. Ich bin sehr stolz auf dich und was Sie in deinem Leben erreicht hast! auf Wiedersehen und bleiben gesund

    FYI. Ich bin Deutsch-Übersetzer und jetzt im Ruhestand. Arbeiten an einem internationalen Zertifikat für Übersetzer

    Michael Munsell bleibt gesund!

  7. Hello Paul, subsequent to the earlier post some further reading seems to have already addressed this as per your reply to Danny
    October 20, 2019 at 10:41 pm.
    If you can please confirm.
    Thank you
    Philip

    • Hello Philip.

      The fact your mother’s birth was not communicated or registered with The Netherlands authorities abroad is irrelevant. This is not a way in which Dutch nationality is acquired, namely by communication or registration to The Netherlands authorities abroad if the child is born abroad.

      Dutch nationality is acquired by the Dutch nationality status of the immediate married parent in the ascending line only, and depending on exactly which parent was the married Dutch national if the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 (then in almost all cases through the married Dutch national father only), or on or after 1 January 1985 (through either married Dutch national parent).

      The acquisition of Dutch nationality simply does not skip a generation over the parent to the grandparent. This is why The Netherlands has no such thing as “ancestry” citizenship or “ancestry” visas. Many South Africans inquire about this because they erroneously compare certain provisions of UK or Irish law, and assume The Netherlands has similar legislation to acquire Dutch nationality merely from the fact the individual may have had a grandparent from The Netherlands. The Netherlands does not provide for acquisition of Dutch nationality in this manner, barring one very specific circumstance.

      Place of birth or any other nationalities acquired at birth at any time in the past are entirely irrelevant in the automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth.

      You are mistaken when you state that you assume your mother lost her Dutch nationality 10 years after her last Dutch passport was issued in 1989, therefore in 1999.

      You are applying the current legislation in effect since 1 April 2003 only to a legal situation that occurred in the 1990’s. That legislation of the “10-year rule” was not in effect in 1989 or in 1999!

      This 10-year rules was in effect from 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2022. The period has been increased by three (3) years for a total period of 13 years effective 1 April 2022 ONLY.

      Therefore, you must discard this erroneous notion about any sort of 10-year Dutch passport renewal obligation for dual Dutch nationals residing abroad, and no longer apply it to any situation that occurred prior to 1 April 2003. Your mother certainly did not lose her Dutch nationality only in 1999. She lost it four (4) years earlier: in 1995.

      Your question:
      “a. Did she lose her Dutch nationality as a minor (at 14 years old in 1968) when her father naturalized as South African citizen in 1968? (as per my Grandfather (father’s side) when he was 18 in 1943?”

      Answer: NO. Your mother did not lose her Dutch nationality on the date her father naturalized Dutch. Your mother retained her Dutch nationality despite the fact she was a minor (under age 21): her father naturalized to the nationality she already had acquired at birth: South Africa.

      This resulted in your maternal grandfather’s loss of Dutch nationality immediately upon his South African naturalization. But this did not affect your mother (even if she was still a minor under age 21, as stated). Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 7(1)

      If your mother had only had Dutch nationality, and she naturalized South African either with her Dutch national father or her Dutch national mother, then in that case your mother would have lost her Dutch nationality as a minor. But those are not her facts. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1)

      You have overlooked the slight nuance between your father’s side of the family and your mother’s side of the family. What is the correct nuance? The nuance is that the minor age paternal grandfather was born in The Netherlands with Dutch nationality only. He and his parents (i.e., your great-grandparents) all naturalized South Africa in 1938. Your paternal grandfather automatically lost Dutch nationality by this naturalization as a minor-age child naturalizing simultaneously with his parents to a “new” nationality none of them had: South Africa.

      Therefore, in this case, your paternal grandfather lost his Dutch nationality as a minor in 1938 along with his parents. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1)

      The result is that your father was never born a Dutch national, contrary to your mother (who was born in South Africa and was already a South African national at birth, but whose father/your maternal grandfather only naturalized AFTER her birth to the nationality your mother already possessed).

      Your mother’s retention of Dutch nationality under the WNI (1892) would have changed effective 1 January 1985 when the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) entered into force, thereby replacing the WNI (1892) on 1 January 1985.

      In this case, your mother would have lost her Dutch nationality upon her father’s/your maternal grandfather’s voluntary naturalization (South Africa) if she were still a minor.

      There was thus no reason to “obtain her Dutch nationality again” in 1989: your mother simply continued being in possession of Dutch nationality from her date of birth in November 1954 through and including 31 March 1994. She may not have been aware of all of these provisions, but that does not change the situation.

      This is why your mother was issued with a Dutch passport in 1989 at age 35.

      Let’s be very clear on this following point: do not equate the terms “nationality” and “passport.” They are not interchangeable terms, and should not be used as such.

      It is possessing Dutch nationality already that gives the right to be issued a Dutch passport. The individual already has Dutch nationality. One does not acquire Dutch nationality by applying for a Dutch passport. One either has Dutch nationality to begin with or one does not.

      If one is not in possession of Dutch nationality, a Dutch passport application will not be processed. No Dutch passport will be issued. Period.

      I hear many people state that they are applying for a Dutch passport to acquire Dutch nationality. Making such a statement is in error: if they have Dutch nationality already, then the Dutch passport will be issued. As stated, if the individual does not already possess Dutch nationality, a Dutch passport will not be issued; the application for one will simply not be processed. It is that simple.

      As I explained in detail in my article, despite the fact your mother was issued with a Dutch passport in 1989 did not result in her retaining her Dutch nationality ad perpetuatam.

      That Dutch passport was no safeguard for her to retain her Dutch nationality. A passport is a travel document only. It is never evidence of retention of Dutch nationality if certain life events occur that, under Dutch law, result in the automatic/immediate/instantaneous loss of Dutch nationality despite the passport’s still being valid on the date of the life event. The loss of Dutch nationality occurs by operation of Dutch nationality law (“van rechtswege”).

      On 1 January 1985 your mother was age 30 (born November 1954; on 1 January 1985, she was not yet age 31). She was residing in her birth country and of which she was also a national: South Africa. She continued to reside uninterrupted in South Africa for the next ten (10) years: through and including 31 December 1994.

      Under Artikel 15c, your mother lost her Dutch nationality automatically per 1 January 1995 as cumulatively:

      1) she was born abroad with the nationality of that country; AND
      2) she was also a Dutch national; AND
      3) on 1 January 1985 she was age 18, but had not yet reached age 31 (your mother was still age 30 on 1 January 1985 as stated); AND
      4) she continued to reside uninterrupted in her country of birth (South Africa) for the next ten (10) years: 1 January 1985 + 10 years = 31 December 1994.

      Result: automatic loss of Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

      As I clearly already stated, even if your mother had had a valid Dutch passport on 1 January 1995, this would have made absolutely no difference: under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 15c in force on 1 January 1995, your mother lost her Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch nationality law.

      If she had been residing in any country other than South Africa on 1 January 1995, she would not have lost Dutch nationality.

      Your mother’s situation is entirely classic: this automatic loss of Dutch nationality under the former Artikel 15c affected tens of thousands of dual Dutch nationals born abroad with a second nationality after 1 January 1954 and who had not yet attained age 41 on 1 January 1995 and who were residing in their country of birth.

      Your mother’s loss of Dutch nationality did not affect you: you were born prior to 1 January 1985, and only your mother was a Dutch national. Therefore, through today you have never been in possession of Dutch nationality, and it does not appear that your mother applied for you to acquire Dutch nationality by option statement in South Africa during a temporary 3-year option period from 1 January 1985 through and including 31 December 1987.

      Prior to 9 March 2014, all Dutch passports for adults age 18 and over were valid for five (5) years only from date of issue. Your mother’s Dutch passport expired in 1994, with an issuance date in 1989. [1994 (expiry) – 5years (validity) = 1989 (issuance)]

      However, as explained, your mother lost her Dutch nationality effective 1 January 1995. Despite the fact her Dutch passport expired in 1994, she still remained a Dutch national through and including 31 December 1994.

      Your mother had the one-time opportunity to have her (lost) Dutch nationality restored by option statement in South Africa from 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 (an exact 2-year period) as, on or after 1 January 1990 through 31 December 1994, she had not been issued with a new Dutch passport or Certificate of Dutch nationality.

      Your mother could have been issued with one of these documents prior to 1 January 1995. If she had attempted to apply for a new Dutch passport on or after 1 January 1995, a Dutch passport simply would not have been issued to her. She lost her Dutch nationality under the former Artikel 15c on 1 January 1995 as explained above.

      Had your mother applied for restoration of Dutch nationality by option statement between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005, your mother would have re-acquired Dutch nationality with retroactive effect to its date of loss: 1 January 1995.

      Nevertheless, you still would not have been able to acquire Dutch nationality by option statement along with her re-acquisition thereof: you turned age 18 in June 2002, well before 1 April 2003.

      I trust the detailed explanation above helps clarify your outstanding points.

      Would you be so kind to let us know here at the Indo Project you received this explanation?

      Regards.

      ====================
      Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892): in force from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984
      “Nederlanderschap word verloren: door naturalisatie in een ander land, of, voor zo veel een minderjarige betreft, door het deelachtig worden van een vreemde nationaliteit door de naturalisatie hetzij van de vader hetzij van de moeder, naar de in artikel 1 gemaakte onderscheidingen, in een ander land.”
      (your mother did not naturalize South African with her father/your maternal grandfather: there was no “deelachtig worden van een vreemde nationaliteit” for your mother. Your mother was already born a South African. Result: retention of Dutch nationality by your mother even as a minor despite the fact her father/your maternal grandfather naturalized to the nationality she already had but only after your mother’s birth: South African)

      —–
      Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 15c: this Artikel 15c was in effect from 1 January 1985 through and including 31 March 2003.
      Your mother lost her Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995, exactly 10 years after the RWN (1985) entered into effect on 1 January 1985 (as explained in detail above)

      *Even if your mother had had a valid Dutch passport on 1 January 1995, this would have had no absolutely effect: automatic loss of Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995.

      “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 persoon met een zodanig dienstverband.”

      • Hello Paul,
        Thank you again for the reply and detailed explanation – received an email indicating that you have replied to my question.
        Your reply clarified my understanding of Dutch nationality loss of both paternal grandfather and mother.
        You are correct in assuming my mother never applied for myself to be a Dutch national at any point, and not during 1985-1987 period or under any other option procedure.
        Follow on Question b:
        Under the mentioned circumstances, is it possible for myself to apply for Dutch nationality under the Latent Dutch Legislation 31.813 (R1873) 2010:
        1. I was born before 01JAN1985.
        2. Mother possessed Dutch nationality at time of birth.
        2. Father did not posses Dutch nationality at time of birth.
        3. I have not previously applied or been a Dutch citizen via any option procedure.
        4. Remain in good standing with all authorities.

        Thanks again and happy to add to the body of Dutch nationality “case-studies” on this website – very informative resource for the community trying to make sense of the historic Dutch laws.

        • Glad the in-depth explanation cleared up your questions.

          I’m correcting the following. I apologize for the typos.

          1. The date is 31 December 1994, not 31 March 1994.
          [There was thus no reason to “obtain her Dutch nationality again” in 1989: your mother simply continued being in possession of Dutch nationality from her date of birth in November 1954 through and including 31 DECEMBER 1994. She may not have been aware of all of these provisions, but that does not change the situation.]

          2. South African (not Dutch).
          [Answer: NO. Your mother did not lose her Dutch nationality on the date her father naturalized SOUTH AFRICAN. Your mother retained her Dutch nationality despite the fact she was a minor (under age 21): her father naturalized to the nationality she already had acquired at birth: South Africa.]

          3. I’ll repeat so that going forward the concept is entirely clear to you: remember that from 1 January 1985 through and including 31 March 2003, there was only automatic loss of Dutch nationality under Artikel 15c for individuals such as your mother, born abroad, who acquired the nationality of their birth country automatically, and who between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 1994, were residing in their country of birth the entire time and who also had that country’s nationality. On 1 January 1995, if the individual was age 28 (but not yet age 41), loss of Dutch nationality effective 1 January 1995.

          If the individual turned 28 after 1 January 1995, but before 31 March 2003, automatic loss of Dutch nationality at age 28 under the same conditions.

          However, if the individual had been issued with a Dutch passport or Certificate of Dutch nationality (Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap) on or after 1 January 1990 and before the date on which the individual automatically lost Dutch nationality under Artikel 15c, then effective 1 February 2001, this individual was considered never to have lost Dutch nationality.

          However, if the individual–such as your mother–had NOT been issued with either document on or after 1 January 1990 and before the date of automatic loss of Dutch nationality (in her case: 1 January 1995], the individual was required to submit an application to have Dutch nationality restored by option statement between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 (an exact two-year period).

          I have explained these two (2) nuances in the article.

          Therefore, if anyone mentions the 10-year passport renewal period for a situation that occurred between 1 January 1985, but before 1 April 2003, the individual is incorrectly citing the law.

          4. Since you fulfill all five (5) criteria for the Latent Dutch option, you are eligible for said option. However, you will never be considered to have been born a Dutch national. You will only acquire Dutch nationality from the date your option is approved (and it will take effect from said approval date only after your have taken the Verklaring van Verbondenheid, which is usually taken a a late time).

          The law cannot undue a situation that occurred before it entered into effect, namely that on your date of birth prior to 1 January 1985, your mother was unable to transmit her Dutch nationality to you, since she was married and your father’s foreign nationality was known. RWN Artikel 6(1)i. [You should refer to RWN Artikel 6(1)i going forward, and no longer site the legislation number before the law entered into force: Latent Dutch Legislation 31.813 (R1873) 2010].

          Otherwise, you will never be citing the specific option correctly in the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap.

          For various reasons, TIP has not added bodies of case studies at this time. They shall currently not be added. Therefore, please do not post them.

  8. Good Day Paul,
    Thank you for all the guidance provided here to many navigating the Dutch law labyrinth.

    You may have answered this previously, but I cannot seem to find a situational answer in the various posts – any guidance will be much appreciated.

    I’m currently applying for Dutch nationality via the option procedure (Latent Dutch Legislation 31.813 (R1873) 2011).
    Here are the relevant details:
    Grandfather and Grandmother (mother’s side):
    1. Grandfather (mother) born in Netherlands 1923 to Dutch parents.
    2. Grandfather (mother) immigrated to South Africa 1949.
    3. Grandfather and Grandmother (mother) naturalized as South African citizens in 1968.
    Mother:
    4. Mother born in South Africa to Dutch father and mother NOV1954 living in South Africa at the time.
    5. Mother lived in South Africa all her life.
    6. Mother obtains first Dutch passport in 1989 and subsequently does not renew upon expiry in 1994 or afterward. Assume loss of Dutch nationality in 1999 – 10 years after obtaining first passport.
    Father:
    7. Father – born in South Africa MAR1954 – South African nationality only.
    Father’s Father:
    8. Grandfather (father) Dutch National born in Netherlands 1924.
    9. Grandfather (father) Immigrated to South Africa 1938 as minor.
    10. Grandfather (father) ‘s Father naturalizes as South African citizen in 1943 along with minor children (under 21). Grandfathers (father) name is stated on the naturalization certificate. Assume loss of Dutch nationality as of 1943, hence father is born as South African national only in MAR1954.

    Here is my question:
    I’m trying to determine whether my mother had or was entitled to Dutch nationality at the time of my birth in JUN1984.
    Under the stated circumstances, my mother was born to a Dutch father and mother in NOV1954 in South Africa. She should have subsequently obtained Dutch and South African nationalities at birth. Her Dutch nationality was never registered or communicated to the Dutch authorities as far as I am aware.
    a. Did she lose her Dutch nationality as a minor (at 14 years old in 1968) when her father naturalized as South African citizen in 1968? (as per my Grandfather (father’s side) when he was 18 in 1943?
    I remain unsure if she was able to obtain her Dutch nationality again in 1989 through one of the option procedures and was deemed not to be a Dutch national at the time of my birth in JUN1984.
    I am uncertain if the law on loss of nationality of minor children changed after 1 January 1954, but cannot find any concrete evidence to confirm?

    Thank you in advance for any guidance.
    Philip

  9. Thank you so much for all the time you have spent on answering my mail Paul, much appreciated, and what a pity my children can’t get a Dutch Passport. Take care and thank you again.
    Kindest regards,
    Yvonne

  10. Good Day,
    I am a Dutch Citizen and have 3 adult children aged, 40yrs (1982), 37yrs(1985), and 34yrs(1987). I lost my Dutch Nationality, but have got it back due to a stupid mistake of Naturalization. I have tried for many years to apply for the renewal of the first 2 children as I did not renew their passports prior to them turning 18, I never applied for my last born, so my question is, is there any chance that I can apply for them as I am born Dutch as were both my parents. Their father was South African, however, he is now an Australian passport holder. I have all my late parents’ passports and documentation, so I would really appreciate all the help.
    Kindest regards,
    Yvonne

    • Hello Yvonne,

      You have omitted relevant facts.

      Please answer the following questions in order and by point.

      Please do not answer all of these questions in one long paragraph.
      Instead, please set out the answers out point-by-point in a clear, specific, and unambiguous manner.

      1. Were you married on the dates of birth of all your children?

      2. Were any of your children ever in possession of Dutch passports and Certificates of Dutch nationality in the past?

      3. In what year were you born?

      4. Where were you born?

      5. In what year did you lose your Dutch nationality?

      6. Were you only a Dutch national on the date you naturalized to a foreign nationality?

      7. To which foreign nationality did you naturalize?

      8. When did you re-acquire your Dutch nationality? (I shall presume it was between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 if you naturalized to the foreign nationality of your spouse prior to 1 April 2003)

      None of your children are Dutch nationals presently. Since they are not Dutch nationals, a Dutch passport cannot be issued to them. Nationality and passport are not synonyms, and these two terms should not be used interchangeably.

      Having Dutch nationality gives the right to be issued with a Dutch passport. That holds true for any country.

      It is not being issued with a Dutch passport that results in the acquisition of Dutch nationality. A passport is a travel document only, and nothing else. Please remember this concept.

      If one holds Dutch nationality, then a Dutch passport may be issued.
      If one does not hold Dutch nationality, then a Dutch passport application will not be processed.

      It’s as simple as that.

      It appears that in 1982 when your first child was born, you were a Dutch national, and you were married to a non-Dutch national (South African). This child born in 1982 was never born a Dutch national in the first place, and has never been in possession of Dutch nationality through today.

      You must remember that between 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984, a child did not acquire Dutch nationality at birth at all if the Dutch national mother was married to the non-Dutch national father. Artikel 1a WNI (1892)

      If the parents were unmarried when the child was born, and the father’s nationality was known, the child still did not acquire Dutch nationality at birth through the unmarried Dutch national mother for the plain and simple fact that the father’s nationality was, indeed, known.

      Therefore, your first child, born in 1982, was never born a Dutch national at all under the WNI (1892), and has never been a Dutch national. I shall further assume that between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 December 1987, you did not apply for this child to acquire Dutch nationality by option statement.

      It is incorrect for you to be stating: “I have tried for many years to apply for the renewal of the first 2 children as I did not renew their passports prior to them turning 18.”

      Renewing their Dutch passports prior to their turning age 18 has nothing to do with anything. I do not know how you have arrived at this conclusion, or who told you this. If such was told to you, the entire concept certainly was not articulated correctly to you.

      Your child, born in 1982, has never been in possession of Dutch nationality. You never would have been able to acquire a Dutch passport for this child in the past, unless you had opted for this child to acquire Dutch nationality by option statement between the period I have already referenced: 1 January 1985 through and including 31 March 1987.

      You will be required to answer my above questions specifically and unambiguously before I can respond to your other questions.

      Nevertheless, as of today, none of your children are Dutch nationals, and at present, none of them can or will be issued with Dutch passports.

      Your children born in 1985 and in 1987 were born Dutch nationals as they were born on or after 1 January 1985, because it seems you were still a Dutch national on their dates of birth. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1).

      Effective 1 January 1985, a child is born a Dutch national if on its date of birth, either the father or the mother is a married Dutch national. Place of birth or any other nationalities acquired at birth are irrelevant.

      Separate rules apply to a child whose parents were unmarried on the child’s date of birth.

      However, your two children born in 1985 and in 1987 have since lost their Dutch nationality the day you lost your Dutch nationality.

      Your parents’ Dutch nationality is absolutely irrelevant to any of your children. It is only relevant to them to the extent: 1. you were born prior to 1 January 1985, and 2. YOUR FATHER was obviously a married Dutch national on your date of birth.

      This is how you yourself acquired Dutch nationality at birth, not your children.

      The fact your mother was also a Dutch national — or that she retained her Dutch nationality her entire life — has absolutely nothing to do with you or your children. This fact is entirely irrelevant.

      As I have clearly explained in my article and above, you acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth because (cumulatively): 1) you were born prior to 1 January 1985, and 2) your father (NOT YOUR MOTHER!) was a married Dutch national on your date of birth. Artikel 1a WNI (1892) hereabove referenced and re-quoted below.

      If you were born in the Netherlands, that is entirely irrelevant. Birth in The Netherlands does not result in automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at all, barring one specific circumstance which does not apply to you.

      You must respond to my specific questions above before a further analysis can be made.

      Best regards.

      ==========================
      Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a
      [The Netherlands Nationality and Residency Act (1892), Article 1a]
      in effect from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984.

      Artikel 1
      Nederlanders door geboorte zijn:
      a. het wettig, gewettigd of door de vader erkend natuurlijk kind, waarvan tijdens de geboorte DE VADER de staat van Nederlander bezit.
      ——
      Article 1
      Dutch nationals by birth are:
      a. the natural child, either born in wedlock, legitimated or acknowledged by the father, of whom at birth THE FATHER (emphasis added) possesses the status of Dutch national.

      ===========================================
      Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985)
      [Kingdom Act on Netherlands Nationality (1985)] which replaced the WNI (1892) effective 1 January 1985

      Artikel 3(1)
      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.
      ——
      Article 3(1)
      Dutch citizen is the child whose father or mother is Dutch at the time of his birth, as well as the child of a Dutch citizen who died prior to its birth.

      The law has no retroactive effect. The specific law that was in force at the time of the child’s birth is the law that applies to that specific child.

      • Dear Paul,
        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, much appreciated. Herewith are your requested answers:
        1. Yes I was married on the dates of my 3 children’s birth.
        2. Yes, my firstborn (1982) and my second born (1985) were in possession of a Dutch Passport.
        3. I was born in 1958
        4. I was born in Zwolle
        5. I lost my Dutch Nationality in 1989
        6. Yes I was only a Dutch national on the date I naturalized to a foreign nationality
        7. I naturalized to South African
        8. I re-acquire my Dutch nationality again in 2006
        I trust this gives you some more information and are able to assist.
        Kindest regards
        Yvonne

        • From: Paul Mansell

          Hello Yvonne,

          Thank you for the additional details.

          Once you have read the below, could you please post to The Indo Project you have received this lengthy explanation? I have spent time in answering your question in such detail.

          As I stated previously, at present, none of your sons are Dutch nationals, and have not been since you voluntarily naturalized South African in 1989.

          SON 1 (born 1982)
          Son 1 was not born a Dutch national as already explained in my prior post: 1) his father was not a Dutch national on his date of birth (the fact you were a Dutch national is irrelevant); and 2) Son 1 was born prior to 1 January 1985.

          In sum, Son 1 was not born of a married Dutch national father. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a. No automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth.

          It is always necessary to be as specific as possible with regard to all relevant information regarding a Dutch nationality question.

          The acquisition, retention, and loss of Dutch nationality always hinge on dates and the exact Dutch nationality status of the parent(s) on the date of birth of the child, and through the child’s reaching the age of majority under Dutch law, not the foreign law.

          You have not specified exactly how Son 1 was in possession of a Dutch passport. I shall therefore presume that between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 December 1987, you applied for Son 1 to acquire Dutch nationality during this exact time period on account of the temporary “overgangsregeling” (transitional regulation) in effect since the RWN (1985) entered into force on 1 January 1985, replacing the WNI (1892).

          This transitional arrangement permitted the foreign child, born prior to 1 January 1985 to acquire Dutch nationality by option statement if all of the following criteria were met. I repeat: ALL of the following criteria were met:

          1) the foreign child was born prior to 1 January 1985; and
          2) the father was not a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
          3) only the mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
          4) on the date of the acquisition of Dutch nationality by this child during the transitional arrangement, the mother was still a Dutch national; and
          5) the foreign child was still under age 21.

          Son 1 clearly fulfilled all of these criteria, and he acquired Dutch nationality by option statement during this time period.

          You most certainly must have applied for this option on his behalf during this time period, and this is how Son 1 acquired a Dutch passport. Otherwise, you must have applied for Son 1 to acquire Dutch nationality by naturalization (but this would have been more complicated than his acquisition of Dutch nationality by option, which is quicker and easier).

          Son 1 lost Dutch nationality automatically by operation of Dutch law at age 7 in 1989 under RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)b because you yourself acquired a foreign nationality in 1989: you naturalized South African.

          As Son 1 already had South African nationality at birth and would not have become stateless by your loss of Dutch nationality and South African naturalization, Son 1 lost Dutch nationality upon your voluntary naturalization. You lost Dutch nationality pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15a

          Since 1989 (age 7), Son 1 has not been in possession of Dutch nationality. Therefore, since your South African naturalization date, Son 1 is ineligible to be issued with a Dutch passport. He is not presently a Dutch national.

          SON 2 (born 1985)
          As stated in my previous answer, Son 2 was born a Dutch national because: 1) he was born on or after 1 January 1985, and 2) you were a married Dutch national on his date of birth. His place of birth or any other nationalities acquired at birth are absolutely irrelevant in this automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1)

          However, since your voluntary naturalization date in 1989, Son 2 is no longer a Dutch national since the age of 4, having lost his Dutch nationality under the exact same provisions Son 1 did: you naturalized to a foreign nationality voluntarily, thereby automatically losing your Dutch nationality on that very date [RWN (1985) Artikel 15a as stated], and Son 2 already was in possession of that nationality (South African) to which you, as the parent, naturalized voluntarily [RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)b].

          SON 3 (born 1987)
          Son 3 was born a Dutch national automatically under the same provisions and circumstances as Son 2. Son 3 also lost Dutch nationality under the same provisions as Son 2.

          The fact Son 3 may never have been issued with a Dutch passport changes nothing with regard to his automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth.

          Since age 2 in 1989, Son 3 is no longer in possession of Dutch nationality.

          It is also for all of these reasons that explain why your initial assumption that you did not apply for the renewal of any Dutch document on their behalves prior to their reaching age 18 is erroneous: no Dutch document would even have been issued to them after your South African naturalization date in 1989. Your sons were simply no longer Dutch nationals.

          A passport is a travel document only. It is not a safeguard to the retention of Dutch nationality.

          Why not?

          Because Dutch nationality law has provisions in place for the automatic loss of Dutch nationality despite having a valid Dutch passport on the date such a life event occurred. A Netherlands passport is never a safeguard that one can never lose Dutch nationality.

          Additionally, it is incorrect that you assume that a dual national Dutch minor-age child must always be in possession of a valid Dutch document at all times. In principle, a dual national Dutch minor-age child’s Dutch nationality is based on the Dutch nationality status of the Dutch national parent during the child’s minority.

          As long as at least one parent retains Dutch nationality during the dual Dutch national child’s minority, the dual Dutch national child will retain Dutch nationality. No valid Dutch document at all times is ever required.

          You were not required to “apply” for Netherlands passports for your children prior to their turning age 18. Not at all. They had already lost Dutch nationality in 1989 as I have already explained. Had you ever attempted to apply for Netherlands passports on their behalves after your South African naturalization date in 1989, you would have been informed that your sons were no longer Dutch nationals. Passport applications on their behalves simply would not have been processed owing to your loss of Dutch nationality to the other nationality your sons already possessed: South Africa.

          YOUR RE-ACQUISITION OF DUTCH NATIONALITY IN 2006 HAD NO EFFECT ON YOUR SONS WHO ALL WERE ALREADY OVER AGE 18 IN 2006
          You have not specified also in this case how you exactly re-acquired Dutch nationality in 2006. It would have been helpful had you specifically explained this.

          I shall therefore presume that in 2006, you submitted an application to the Netherlands authorities you wished to re-acquire Dutch nationality during the temporary 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 time period (an exact 10-year period) given the following: you lost Dutch nationality prior to 1 April 2003 because you 1) voluntarily naturalized to a foreign nationality during your marriage to 2) a national of that country (South Africa).

          You have stated that your husband was a South African national. You naturalized South African voluntarily during this marriage in 1989 (i.e., prior to 1 April 2003).

          Therefore, between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013, you were eligible to re-acquire your Dutch nationality given 1) your voluntary naturalization to the nationality of your South African national spouse, and 2) this naturalization occurred prior to 1 April 2003.

          Since 1 April 2003 only (not before 1 April 2003!), a Dutch national no longer automatically loses Dutch nationality when naturalizing voluntarily to the nationality of the foreign spouse or registered civil partner; provided, however, on the foreign naturalization date, the country to which said Dutch national naturalizes is not a signatory to the First Protocol of the Convention on the Reduction of Cases of Multiple Nationality and on Military Obligations in Cases of Multiple Nationality (the “Treaty of Strasbourg” 6 May 1963), and the applicant has not become divorced or widowed prior to obtaining that foreign nationality.

          Minor-age children on the date the option application was submitted and whose names were specifically mentioned in the option application could acquire Dutch nationality along with the parent.

          In 2006, Son 1 (1982) was age 24; Son 2 (1985) was age 21; and Son 3 (1987) was age 19. Since all three sons were over the age of 18 on your option approval date in 2006, they were ineligible to re-acquire Dutch nationality along with you under your option application for re-acquisition of Dutch nationality.

          Therefore, since 2006, you are again a Dutch national, but none of your sons are—and have not been – since 1989.

          This is why none of them are eligible to be issued with either a Netherlands passport, a Netherlands nationale identiteitskaart/NIK, or Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap/Certificate of Dutch nationality through today: they are simply no longer Dutch nationals.

          Additionally, there was no temporary option category that applied to them during this same 1 April 2003-31 March 2013 temporary option period.

          In turn, as your sons have not been Dutch nationals since 1989, if any of them have children, none of those children were born Dutch nationals, and currently have no claim to Dutch nationality just because their father was born a Dutch national (but no longer is).

          It is not possible to acquire Dutch nationality merely because a parent was a Dutch national prior to the child’s date of birth, but no longer is on the child’s date of birth.

          This is also why the Netherlands does not have “ancestry” citizenship or “ancestry” visas through a Dutch national grandparent or further remote ancestor in the ascending line.

          The acquisition of Dutch nationality simply does not skip a generation.

          This question is often posed by South Africans. Many assume that just because UK law and Irish law provides for this under limited circumstances, the Netherlands, on the contrary, provides the same. This is false: the Netherlands has no “ancestry” citizenship or visas based on a former Dutch national parent, grandparent or more remote ancestor.

          The acquisition of Dutch nationality comes down to 1) the date of birth of the child (pre-1 January 1985, or on or after 1 January 1985), and 2) exactly WHICH parent indeed was the Dutch national on the child’s date of birth.

          The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained, and lost are specifically enumerated in the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap. Having an ancestor who was a Dutch national or a parent who was a Dutch national prior to the child’s birth is not a way in which Dutch nationality is acquired, re-acquired, or retained. In your case, the fact your sons’ grandparents are Dutch nationals and always remained so has no bearing on their legal situation. It is irrelevant. Having Dutch grandparents when an individual loses Dutch nationality is not a way in which Dutch nationality is acquired, re-acquired, or maintained.

          POSSIBLE RE-ACQUISITION OF DUTCH NATIONALITY FOR YOUR SONS
          The quickest and easiest way for your sons to re-acquire Dutch nationality would be to become eligible somehow for a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (“visum langdurig verblijf voor een niet-tijdelijk doel”). These categories of visas are extremely limited in scope.

          Your sons were not born (“geboren”) in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They also were not raised (“getogen”) in that country.

          All three sons merely acquired Dutch nationality in two different ways abroad, because you were a Dutch national on their dates of birth: with Son 1’s acquisition of Dutch nationality only subsequent to his birth based on a temporary, 3-year transitional arrangement, and not on his date of birth, contrary to Sons 2 and 3 (born Dutch nationals automatically).

          Being raised (getogen) in the Netherlands under Dutch law is considered having obtained at least one’s primary education (“basisonderwijs”) in the Netherlands.

          In the Netherlands, “basisonderwijs”/primary education is between ages 4 and 12.

          I shall also presume that your sons did not receive at least one-half of their primary education abroad in a Dutch school system with at least one-half of the curriculum in Dutch.

          Based on these facts, your sons are ineligible to be issued with the special Re-Entry visa (“Visum Wedertoelating”) in their current country of nationality.

          Again, they were neither born, nor raised in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

          This special Re-Entry visa is only issued automatically to former Dutch nationals who were, indeed, both 1) born and 2) raised in the Netherlands. For these former Oud Nederlanders, their current country of residence or nationality is irrelevant for the issuance of this visa. The Re-Entry visa gives the right to reside in the European portion of the Netherlands only (not in the other countries that comprise the Kingdom: Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten).

          On the contrary, for former Dutch nationals in your sons’ situations (neither born, nor raised in the Netherlands), the bar to obtain this visa is much higher/more stringent. It is considered that their effective ties to the Netherlands are much less strong than those of a former Dutch national who was both born and raised in the Netherlands (such as you).

          In your case, Dutch law considers you to have a tie to the Netherlands that can never really be severed or that weakens over time due to your birth and residence/upbringing in the Netherlands as a child.

          The category of former Dutch national under which your sons fall may only be issued eventually with this visa either in the Netherlands (if they would even qualify to legally reside in the Netherlands in the first place for longer than three months), or in a country other than the current country of nationality in which they reside.

          Additionally, they must demonstrate effective ties (“effectieve banden”) to the Netherlands. Such ties include education received abroad that mirrors the Dutch education system and with a certain portion of said education given in Dutch, or past employment abroad in the Dutch civil service.

          Merely being a former Dutch national/Oud Nederlander in their cases is not considered an effective tie criterion in and of itself. Having relatives in the Netherlands who are Dutch nationals and/or visiting the Netherlands on business or holiday are not considered effective ties either. Having a Dutch national mother is also not considered an effective tie criterion, nor is Dutch language ability, nor is the Dutch nationality status of any grandparent, uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew, niece, or friend.

          If your sons were able to obtain some other long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (“machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf voor een niet-tijdelijk doel”) in order to reside in the Netherlands (e.g., paid employment to name one) or in one of the countries comprising the Kingdom, then after one (1) full year of uninterrupted legal residence they may submit an application to have their lost Dutch nationality restored by option statement, and retain any other nationalities they currently have.

          A former Dutch national–whatever the category–is always able to re-acquire Dutch nationality pursuant to RWN Artikel 6(1)f; provided, however, said former Dutch national is able to obtain a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose under a category which would give the right to eventually re-acquire Dutch nationality based on non-temporary legal residence (not all visas to reside in the Netherlands are considered long-term visas for a non-temporary purpose and long-term residence).

          Therefore, it is a condition of obtaining long-term, non-temporary residency status that is the issue in your sons’ cases.

          As you can see, Dutch legal provisions consider former Dutch nationals i) both born and raised in the Netherlands separate from ii) former Dutch nationals born in the Netherlands (but who were not raised there), and from iii) former Dutch nationals both born and raised abroad (and who only acquired Dutch nationality by descent from a Dutch national parent (“afstamming”) (like your sons)), and depending on which parent was the Dutch national in the year the child was born (pre-1 January 1985; or on or after 1 January 1985).

          There are currently no ways for your sons to re-acquire Dutch nationality either by option or by naturalization as long as they are residing abroad.

          Re-acquisition of Dutch nationality by option as a former Dutch national (the quickest and easiest way) is only possible in the Kingdom of the Netherlands; naturalization may occur in a country other than the current country of nationality or in the Kingdom; provided, however, said former Dutch national fulfills all the legal requirements for naturalization just as any other foreigner must if he/she were residing in the Kingdom itself.

          It is not possible to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in one’s current country of nationality. Therefore, if your sons are South African nationals, it is not possible for them even to naturalize Dutch in that country.

          Lastly, since all of your sons lost Dutch nationality in 1989, which was four years prior to the entry into force of the Treaty on the European Union (ratified February 1992; entry in force: November 1993), there is no loss of the exercise of EU citizens’ rights they can invoke: as in 1989, the concept of “EU citizens’ rights” was inexistent. The Treaty on the European Union was not even ratified in 1989.

          Best regards.

          ====
          Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892)
          [in effect: from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984], Artikel 1a.
          Applicable to Son 1 (born 1982), who was not born a Dutch national at all, but who acquired Dutch nationality on or after 1 January 1985 when the RWN (1985) entered into effect (replacing the WNI (1892), because of the “overgangsbepaling” you must have applied for on his behalf (even if you have not stated this)).

          “Nederlanders door geboorte zijn:
          a. Het wettig, gewettigd of door de vader erkend natuurlijk kind, waarvan tijdens de geboorte de vader de staat van Nederlander bezit.”


          Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985).
          Entry into force: 1 January 1985.
          The WNI (1892) no longer had force of law per 1 January 1985. The law only goes forward in time (“de wet heeft geen terugwerkende kracht”)

          Artikel 3(1). Applicable to Sons 2 and 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.”


          Artikel 15a: Applicable to you for acquiring a foreign nationality voluntarily in 1989 resulting in your automatic loss of Dutch nationality:
          “Het Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerderjarige verloren door het vrijwillig verkrijgen van een andere nationaliteit.”


          Artikel 16(1)b: Applicable to all three of your sons, who lost Dutch nationality automatically the day you did:
          “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 loss of Dutch nationality is immediate and automatic: no formal renunciation is required. The instantaneous loss occurs by operation of law (“van rechtswege”).

  11. Hi Paul my grandfather was born in Netherlands in 1912 and moved to South Africa in early 1930’s. My mother was born in 1937 and would have received automatic dutch citizenship as he was under the 10 years of still being a Dutch citizen. As far as I know he remained dutch as my mothers birth certificate has father country of birth as Holland and his South African marriage certificate shows Holland as country. Do you know where I can find a copy of his dutch passport? Or family card of when he travelled to South Africa? I am trying to apply for a Dutch nationality certificate for my mother so that i can apply for dutch citizenship through the option procedure. For my mothers dutch nationality certificate, I have sent them all the documents I have but they keep asking for a copy of his passport. I only have his birth certificate which I received directly from Netherlands and I am not sure he would have had a passport in 1912?? I have contacted municipality, the government and immigration to find out but have had no luck finding out if my grandfather had a passport. I am assuming they require this to see if he was still dutch (within the 10 years) when my grandmother was born. I do have their family card which shows my grandfathers parents travelled to SA in 1929 but my grandfather and his brother moved to Hague that same year to live with their grandparents. I received this document from Rotterdam Archives. But Hague archives have no information. I am hoping you can shed some light on this please.

    • Hello Cydette,

      Your post is incomplete.

      There are also some statements that you have articulated incorrectly because the premise of some of your assumptions appears erroneous.

      Please answer the following questions specifically and unambiguously.

      Do not write one long paragraph with all the answers. Please set them out clearly point-by-point.

      Before I pose the specific questions, you have made some incorrect assumptions.

      I have no idea why you are stating the following: “My mother was born in 1937 and would have received automatic dutch citizenship as he was under the 10 years of still being a Dutch citizen.”

      What do you mean by this statement of “10 years of still being a Dutch citizen”?

      You must keep in mind specifically that under the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) in force from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984, a DUAL Dutch national, BORN ABROAD, was obligated to make a mandatory declaration to the Dutch authorities abroad that he wished to retain his Dutch nationality.

      This declaration had to be made before reaching the age of 31, which is exactly 10 years after reaching the age of majority, which was 21 from 1901 through 31 December 1984 (for retention of Dutch nationality purposes). Let’s be clear on this point. Artikel 7(5) WNI (1892)

      Failure to make this mandatory declaration by age 31 would result in the automatic loss of Dutch nationality, whether the individual was aware of said provision or not. Age 21/age of majority at the time under Netherlands law + 10 years = age 31/automatic loss of Dutch nationality for failure to make a mandatory declaration.

      Once said declaration was made, a new 10-year period would begin to run again, by which time another declaration had to be made within the following 10 years. Artikel 7(5)2 WNI (1892)

      I repeat: this provision only applied to DUAL Dutch nationals born abroad (i.e., with a second nationality).

      Was your maternal grandfather born abroad with a second nationality? NO. He was born with Dutch nationality only and in The Netherlands because he himself had a married Dutch national father. The aforementioned provision would never have applied to him. The assumption made is thus incorrect.

      Thus, stating, “[she] would have received automatic dutch citizenship as he was under the 10 years of still being a Dutch citizen” is entirely erroneous. That is not what the law stated in the 1930’s if you are applying the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap to a situation that occurred in the 1930’s when another law was in force entirely: The WNI (1892). You have not specified in greater detail what you mean here.

      QUESTIONS
      Commencing on 1 January 1985, the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap entered into force, and which replaced the former WNI (1892). Hence, the provision I specifically explained above no longer applied effective 1 January 1985 under RWN (1985).

      1. In what country was your mother born?

      2. With what other nationality(ies) was your mother born, i.e., did she acquire at birth (if any)?

      3. Please confirm your mother was born in 1937. Please do not give her birthdate for privacy reasons. Just confirm her year of birth.

      4. Where was your mother residing on 1 January 1985?

      5. Where was your mother residing on 1 January 1995?

      6. Has your mother ever been issued with a Netherlands passport, Certificate of Dutch nationality, or any other Netherlands identity documents?

      7. If so, when was the last such document issued to her?

      8. Between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 January 1994 (an exact 10-year period), was your mother residing uninterrupted/continuously in
      her country of birth and of which she was also a national?

      9. By your mother’s 31st birthday in 1968, did she make a mandatory declaration to The Netherlands authorities in her country of birth and of which she was also a national and resident that she wished to retain her Dutch nationality? [WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5)]

      10. Your post is confusing: what nationality is your maternal grandmother, i.e., your mother’s mother who, I shall assume, was married to your grandfather born in The Netherlands in 1912? I ask this because you start off talking about your mother, and then you talk about your grandmother.

      As stated, please set forth your specific answers to these questions in the numbered format above/point-by-point, and not in a long paragraph. This is the appropriate way to pose a question when asking questions of a legal nature.

      11. Your post is confusing regarding the following: You state your grandfather was born in the Netherlands, went to South Africa with his parents in 1929, but then your grandfather went back to Den Haag in the 1930’s? And then he remained there?

      Please explain this history clearly and unambiguously, in simple sentences and not long paragraphs. Please break up your text a bit.

      It does take time to analyze these situations, and the facts need to be clear from the outset.

      =========
      You will be unable to obtain a copy of your grandfather’s Netherlands passport from that time.

      You would prove your (Dutch national) grandfather’s Dutch nationality status CUMULATIVELY by the following documents all put together:

      1) an official copy of his official birth certificate (geboorteakte) issued by the municipality (gemeente) in the Netherlands in which he was born. In The Netherlands–as in most continental European countries–a birth is declared in the municipality in which the child was born. One applies to the town hall for an official copy of the child’s birth certificate; AND
      2) a copy of his de-registration certificate (uitschrijving) from The Netherlands; AND
      3) his residency status documents/foreigner’s card in South Africa for the years he resided in South Africa; AND
      4) an official letter issued by DIRCO/Home Affairs in South Africa attesting to your (Dutch) grandfather’s nationality status in South Africa. This DIRCO letter will specifically state whether there is any record of your (Dutch) grandfather having naturalized or not in South Africa in the past.

      This is how one proceeds in your case, because it appears your mother was not born in the Netherlands. Your mother appears to have been born abroad solely because her father was a Dutch national on her date of birth (“door afstamming”/by descent from a married Dutch national father) (provided her father/your paternal grandfather had not naturalized to a foreign nationality prior to her birth in 1937).

      The Netherlands authorities in The Netherlands will have access to a database in which they will be able to determine whether your (Dutch) grandfather ever naturalized to a foreign nationality and if there is a record of such, thereby losing his Dutch nationality. This database is not available for public consultation, and you will not be permitted to consult it.

      Lastly, you must reformulate your statement and correct your original assumption: if, prior to 1 January 1985, i) a child was born abroad from a married Dutch national father AND ii) this child also acquired the nationality of that country of birth by birth in that country, then iii) this child acquired Dutch nationality automatically under Artikel 1a WNI (1892) in any event. Nothing would have changed this under Dutch law.

      Additionally, and I ask that you commit this to memory going forward so that it is clear: if the Dutch national father then naturalized to his child’s foreign nationality the child also acquired by birth abroad in its country of birth, the Dutch national father lost his Dutch nationality, but his minor-age (dual national Dutch) child did NOT.

      Therefore, even if your Dutch national grandfather had naturalized South African AFTER your mother’s birth AND your mother was born with South African nationality in South Africa, your (former Dutch) grandfather would have lost his Dutch nationality, but your mother — as a minor under age 21 — would NOT have lost her Dutch nationality.

      Your mother would have retained her Dutch nationality at the time (but this does not preclude she did not lose Dutch nationality automatically at a future time, as explained below). Artikel 7(1) WNI (1892)

      Conversely, if your (Dutch) paternal grandfather had already naturalized South African PRIOR to your mother’s date of birth, then he was no longer a Dutch national on your mother’s date of birth: he would have automatically lost his Dutch nationality the very moment he acquired a foreign nationality. Your mother, in turn, would never have been born a Dutch national at all.

      This provision entirely changed effective 1 January 1985 when the RWN (1985) entered into effect.

      Until you answer my specific questions above, a further assessment cannot be made.

      Lastly, if your mother was born abroad with a second nationality, and she has resided abroad since her birth in 1937, then your mother would no longer be a Dutch national at this time. She would have lost her Dutch nationality.

      This is why up to now you have been unable to acquire a “Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap” for your mother. This also explains the reason why you are now being requested to provide additional documentation on your maternal grandfather born in The Netherlands at 1912.

      Dutch nationality law always hinges on dates and the specific Dutch nationality status of the parent in the ascending line, and depending on whether the child was born:
      i) prior to 1 January 1985 [Dutch nationality acquired in almost all cases through the married Dutch national father ONLY; country of birth or any other nationalities acquired at birth are irrelevant]; or
      ii) on or after 1 January 1985 [Dutch nationality acquired by either the married Dutch national father or married Dutch national mother; country of birth or any other nationalities acquired at birth are irrelevant].

      Other provisions apply to children whose parents are unmarried.

      The Netherlands does not recognize or offer “ancestry citizenship” or “ancestry visas” through a Dutch national grandparent or more remote ancestor in the direct ascending line, like the UK or the Republic of Ireland do. This question is most often posed by South African nationals of Dutch descent/heritage, born abroad.

      This is why I have asked you very specific questions you must answer unambiguously.

      If a Dutch national has a second nationality, there have always been provisions for automatic loss of Dutch nationality due to long-term residence abroad. These provisions for loss of Dutch nationality are automatic, and have taken on various forms since 1838 (!). Yes, since at least 1838.

      Dutch nationality is never necessarily retained through subsequent generations born abroad with a second nationality. This means that just because a Dutch national may have acquired Dutch nationality at birth, that does not necessarily mean that Dutch nationality is thereby retained ad perpetuatam when this individual has a second nationality also. There are several factors that come into play, depending on the year of birth, country of birth, country of residence, etc.

      • Hi Paul

        Please see answers to your questions below

        1. In what country was your mother born?

        SOUTH AFRICA

        2. With what other nationality(ies) was your mother born, i.e., did she acquire at birth (if any)?

        DUTCH AND SOUTH AFRICAN

        3. Please confirm your mother was born in 1937. Please do not give her birthdate for privacy reasons. Just confirm her year of birth.

        1937

        4. Where was your mother residing on 1 January 1985?

        SOUTH AFRICA

        5. Where was your mother residing on 1 January 1995?

        SOUTH AFRICA

        6. Has your mother ever been issued with a Netherlands passport, Certificate of Dutch nationality, or any other Netherlands identity documents?

        NO

        8. Between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 January 1994 (an exact 10-year period), was your mother residing uninterrupted/continuously in
        her country of birth and of which she was also a national?

        YES

        9. By your mother’s 31st birthday in 1968, did she make a mandatory declaration to The Netherlands authorities in her country of birth and of which she was also a national and resident that she wished to retain her Dutch nationality? [WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5)]

        NO SHE DID NOT

        10. Your post is confusing: what nationality is your maternal grandmother, i.e., your mother’s mother who, I shall assume, was married to your grandfather born in The Netherlands in 1912? I ask this because you start off talking about your mother, and then you talk about your grandmother.

        MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZEN

        11. Your post is confusing regarding the following: You state your grandfather was born in the Netherlands, went to South Africa with his parents in 1929, but then your grandfather went back to Den Haag in the 1930’s? And then he remained there?

        MY GRANDFATHER LEFT THE NETHERLANDS IN THE EARLY 1930’S BUT DIDNT RETURN TO NETHERLANDS. ALL OF HIS DOCUMENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA SHOW HIM HAS A DUTCH CITIZEN. FOR E.G MY MOTHERS BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND MY GRANDFATHERS MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

        I HAVE A COPY OF MY FATHERS BIRTH CERTIFICATE WHICH I RECEIVED DIRECTLY FORM THE NETHERLANDS. I ALSO HAVE A COPY OF HIS FAMILY CARD SHOWING HIS PARENTS MOVED TO SOUTH AFRICA IN 1929 AND HE WENT TO LIVE WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS IN REEUWIJK NETHERLANDS. HE LEFT THERE IN EARLY 1930’S AND MOVED TO SOUTH AFRICA.

        HE MARRIED MY GRANDMOTHER IN 1934 AND THEIR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE SHOWS HE WAS A DUTCH NATIONAL AND 22 YEARS OF AGE. MY MOTHER WAS BORN IN 1937 AND HER BIRTH CERTIFICATE SHOWS THAT MY GRANDFATHER WAS DUTCH NATIONALITY AND HER MOTHER SOUTH AFRICAN.

        MY GRANDFATHER REMARRIED ANOTHER SOUTH AFRICAN WOMAN. THIS MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE SHOWS HE WAS A DUTCH NATIONAL AND 34 YEARS OF AGE.

        I WILL TRY GET HOLD OF DIRCO TO SEE IF THEY CAN TELL ME IF HE NATURALISED TO A SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZEN BUT I DONT THINK HE DID AS HE DOES NOT HAVE A SOUTH AFRICAN IDENTITY NUMBER.

        • I also have a copy of his Death Certificate from South Africa which states his nationality as Dutch.

          • Your post is still unclear! I am therefore asking you to be specific, clear, and unambiguous regarding both your parents.

            1. You have omitted your year of birth! Providing this seems elementary to be from the outset. I shouldn’t have to be asking for it. I am presuming you were born after 1 January 1954.

            2. What is your father’s nationality on your date of birth? He appears to have been a Dutch national (i.e., in formal possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth).

            Your mother’s father appears to have been in formal possession of Dutch nationality on your mother’s date of birth in 1937.

            3. What is your father’s year of birth? It sounds as if your father was born in the 1920’s, and he married your mother years and years later. She was born in 1937. From your writing, it appears your father was already much, much older than your mother, by at least a generation.

            4. Confirm your father’s birth in the Netherlands.

            5. Confirm your parents were married on your date of birth.

            You stated the following (copied here): I HAVE A COPY OF MY FATHERS [sic] BIRTH CERTIFICATE WHICH I RECEIVED DIRECTLY FORM THE NETHERLANDS. I ALSO HAVE A COPY OF HIS FAMILY CARD SHOWING HIS PARENTS MOVED TO SOUTH AFRICA IN 1929 AND HE WENT TO LIVE WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS IN REEUWIJK NETHERLANDS. HE LEFT THERE IN EARLY 1930’S AND MOVED TO SOUTH AFRICA. ”

            Did you make a typing error, and you meant to type “grandfather’s birth certificate” and not “fathers” [sic]?

            So, which is it: your father was also a Dutch national on your date of birth? Your father was born in the Netherlands, went to South Africa, returned to Reeuwijk, NL to live with his grandparents, re-emigrated from the Netherlands to re-immigrate to South Africa in the 1930’s? Well if so, in what year?

            I am hereby asking you to be specific. Please read your postings carefully with the specific information. It is elementary to provide all of this information from the outset. If you are not specific, a correct assessment cannot be made.

            I am therefore repeating my request: I need all the specific, clear, unambiguous information on both your parents. This is an elementary request that should have been apparent from the outset when you posted initially.

  12. Hello!
    I have a quick question

    Sooooo my Father was born in Holland back in 1972 to a Dutch born/citizen father and he was married to my fathers mum at the time who was born in Australia
    My fathers Dad (my grandfather) left my fathers mum in 1975 and we haven’t had contact since
    My father who was born in Holland didn’t get a duel citizenship because when he went to apply for one back 1998 when he went to visit his family in Holland the Dutch government said my father would have to apply to the Dutch army and serve a year or so. He decided he didn’t want to apply for the army I’m Holland so didn’t go ahead with getting the fuel citizenship at the time

    Also I’m pretty sure my Fathers mum (my Nan) changed my fathers birth certificate to make him an Australian citizen after my fathers dad left back in 1975

    But both my Dad and his Father were born in Holland before 1973
    My fathers dad lived in Holland his whole life up until he met my Fathers Mum.
    My fathers Dad didn’t change to a duel citizenships of both Holland and Australia until many many years after my father was born

    My father didn’t live in Holland with his Father, I’m pretty sure after my Father was born in Holland they left back to Australia

    What does this mean for my Father? Is he still a Dutch national or can he apply to be one or have a duel citizenship without joining the army?

    • Also what does this mean for me? Am I able to be a dual citizen… I’m guessing the answer is no, I’m just looking at travelling to The Netherlands soon to visit my dads family and was just wondering! (:

      • Hello Hannah.

        The facts you have presented are still incomplete. You must answer the following specific, additional questions.

        1. At what age did your paternal grandfather naturalize Australian?

        2. If he did naturalize Australian, how old was your father?

        3. Was your father born with Australian nationality automatically?

        4. If not, when would he have acquired Australian, and how specifically did he acquire Australian nationality?

        5. What is your year of birth?

        Until you answer these five (5) questions specifically, an assessment cannot be made.

        As requested, your answers must be specific and unequivocal. Do not answer the question based on assumptions and/or conjecture, but on specific information/facts.

        For your information:

        Point 1
        You should refer to the country as “The Netherlands,” and not “Holland.”

        “Holland” is used in common parlance, but the official name of the country is “The Kingdom of the Netherlands.” (Koninkrijk der Nederlanden).

        There are only two (2) provinces out of the twelve (12) provinces constituting The Netherlands with the word “Holland” in it: 1) Noord Holland (North Holland); and 2) Zuid Holland (South Holland).

        A Dutchman would not refer to himself as a “Hollander” but a “Nederlander.”

        Point 2
        You are mistaken when you state your father did not acquire Dutch nationality in the past.

        Your father most certainly did. Your father (cumulatively): 1) was born prior to 1 January 1985, and 2) his father was a a married Dutch national on your father’s date of birth. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a

        The fact your father may never have been in possession of a Netherlands passport or Certificate of Dutch nationality in the past is irrelevant in this automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth.

        Your father’s birth in the Netherlands or in any other country is irrelevant: Dutch nationality is not acquired by birth in the Netherlands at all, barring one exception which does not apply to your father.

        The fact your father may have acquired Australian nationality at birth is also irrelevant: your father was most certainly born a Dutch national whether or not he ever knew it, whether or not his parents ever knew it, or whether or not his parents may not have wanted him to acquire Dutch nationality at birth. Dutch nationality law is what it is.

        It is not being issued with a Netherlands passport that results in acquisition of Dutch nationality. One either has Dutch nationality already, or one does not. It’s that simple.

        Point 3
        No mandatory military service in the Netherlands exists at this time. Serving in the Dutch military presently does not result in automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality, nor is it conditional for the issuance of a Netherlands passport.

        As stated, one either has Dutch nationality already. or one does not under the provisions of the current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (the “RWN”).

        Best regards.

        • Thankyou so much for getting back to me!

          Here are the answers to your questions to the best of my ability

          1. My grandfather naturalised Australian well after my Father was and Adult, I’m not sure exactly when because we haven’t had contact since my dad was 2 years old

          2. My father was well over the age of 18 by that time my grandfather naturalised Australian

          3. No my father was born in The Netherlands and stayed there for about 6 weeks
          4. My Fathers mother changed his birth certificate when my fathers parents separated so about 1975
          5. I was born in 2002

          • Thank you for the additional details.

            Based on the facts you have stated, neither your father, nor you are Dutch nationals today.

            Introductory remarks
            Going forward, remember your father was indeed born a Dutch national for the reasons stated in my initial response: 1) your father was born prior to 1 January 1985; AND 2) his father was a MARRIED Dutch national to your father’s Australian mother on your father’s date of birth in 1972.

            Your father’s automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth was regulated by the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892), Artikel 1a (the “Netherlands Nationality and Residency Act”/“WNI (1892)”), in effect from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984.

            Your father’s birth in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is irrelevant. This is not the manner by which your father acquired Dutch nationality at birth.

            Dutch nationality is NOT acquired automatically by virtue of birth in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, barring one specific circumstance that does not apply to your father.

            That your father left the Netherlands at 6 weeks in order to immigrate to Australia is irrelevant: your father was a Dutch national. That his mother was not a Dutch national is irrelevant.

            Acquisition of Australian nationality in 1975 at age 3
            Your statement must be reworded and put in its proper context. It is legally incorrect to state as you had been posted initially: “My Father’s mother changed his birth certificate when my father’s parents separated so about 1975.”

            I believe you mean that your father’s Australian mother–your paternal grandmother—acquired Australian nationality for your father once your father was a child and living in Australia.

            A child born abroad (i.e., outside Australia) on or after 26 January 1949 who had an Australian parent did not automatically acquire Australian nationality at birth.

            However, the child could acquire Australian nationality after at least two (2) years of residence in Australia.

            This might explain why your paternal (Australian) grandmother “changed his birth certificate when my father’s parents separated so about 1975.”

            This former Australian law is no longer in force. I believe it was amended around 1986.

            Nevertheless, your paternal (Australian) grandmother could NOT change your father’s Netherlands birth certificate: your father was born in the Netherlands, with a Netherlands birth certificate, from a married Dutch national father, under Dutch law.

            It is not possible under Dutch law to change one’s birth certificate. Your father was born a Dutch national. Acquisition of Australian nationality subsequently did not change your father’s Dutch nationality status or his Netherlands birth certificate.

            She may have been able to have an Australian birth certificate issued for him, but that birth certificate would have transposed the original information from your father’s Netherlands birth certificate.

            Whether your paternal (Australian) grandmother knew this is irrelevant: it is my assumption that your grandmother acquired Australian nationality for your father in 1975 when he was three years old (and that she knew this, and this is what she may have meant).

            But in no way would she ever have been able to “change” his Netherlands birth certificate under Dutch law. Absolutely not.

            When your father thus acquired Australian nationality in 1975 in addition to already being a Dutch national by birth, your father’s acquisition of Australian nationality at age 3 changed nothing regarding his Dutch nationality status under Dutch law: your father simply retained Dutch nationality.

            Whether your paternal (Australian) grandmother or your father ever knew this is entirely irrelevant and changes nothing. They have been under the assumption your father lost his Dutch nationality, but your father did not. His parents’ estrangement changes nothing regarding your father’s Dutch nationality status.

            Australian law may have permitted your father to acquire Australian nationality in 1975. However, Australian law cannot undue Dutch law, namely the fact that under Dutch law, your father as a minor retained his Dutch nationality regardless. Australian law may not dictate that your father was no longer a Dutch national when he acquired Australian nationality at age 3.

            Your father thus remained a dual Dutch-Australian national in 1975 and thereafter. From 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984, a Dutch national minor child retained Dutch nationality when naturalizing to a foreign nationality, unless the child naturalized to a foreign nationality together with the Dutch parent. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1)

            Your father as a minor did not naturalize Australian along with a Dutch parent (i.e., his father) in 1975: his estranged father retained Dutch nationality, and his mother/your paternal grandmother was Australian. Retention of Dutch nationality for your father as a minor under Dutch law.

            The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap/RWN (1985) (Kingdom Act on Netherlands Nationality)
            Effective 1 January 1985, the WNI (1892) no longer had force of law.

            Commencing on 1 January 1985, the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap entered into force, replacing the (former) WNI (1892).

            The RWN (1985) specifically stated that if a minor’s Dutch national parent(s) acquired a foreign nationality, the Dutch parent lost Dutch nationality immediately, and so did the minor age child, provided the child did not become stateless.

            Effective 1 January 1985, your father still retained his Dutch nationality as a minor. Your father turned 18 in 1990. Provided his father/your paternal (Dutch) grandfather – even if estranged – retained his Dutch nationality through your father’s 18th birthday, your father never lost his Dutch nationality under the RWN (1985) either.

            You yourself stated your estranged (Dutch) grandfather only naturalized Australian many years after your father had already attained age 18.

            Since your paternal grandfather only lost his Dutch nationality after your father had turned age 18, under the RWN (1985), your father retained his Dutch nationality as stated.

            1) Had your father been under age 18, AND 2) had your paternal Dutch grandfather naturalized Australian on or after 1 January 1985, then in this case your father would have lost his Dutch nationality as a minor.

            However, this did not happen. Your father was already age 18 whenever your paternal Dutch grandfather eventually naturalized Australian after that.

            As you can see, the RWN (1985) took the opposite position in this regard than the WNI (1892) had.

            Therefore, since 1 January 1985, there do not appear to be any life events for your father that would have resulted in his automatic loss of Dutch nationality at that time.

            Your father was still a Dutch national when he went to the Netherlands on vacation in 1998
            You stated your father went on vacation to the Netherlands in 1998. Your father inquired whether he could obtain a Dutch passport. He was told that he would be required to go into military service for one (1) year. After that year, he could be issued with a Dutch passport.

            Here, there are two (2) possible scenarios, and one cannot know for sure. It would be necessary for your father to remember exactly what the civil servant told him.

            The Netherlands no longer had mandatory military service since August 1997. An individual was still required to be registered to complete military service, but actually serving was no longer in effect, unless the individual was called up.`

            Additionally, your father was not a resident of the Netherlands: his main residence was in Australia, and he had Australian nationality in addition to Dutch nationality.

            In 1998, the Netherlands still had a residency requirement. A Dutch national would be required to have his main residence (“hoofdverblijf”) in the Netherlands in order to be issued with a Dutch passport. Residency (“Ingezetenschap”) in the Netherlands was required to be issued with a Dutch passport.

            Your father was obligated to apply for a Dutch passport in Australia, not in the Netherlands.

            1. If your father actually made the Netherlands his main residence, he would be required to register for military service (but that does not mean he would have been called up for service). Then, he could have been issued a Dutch passport after one year.
            2. Since your father actually had his main residence in Australia–not in the Netherlands–it is in Australia where he needed to apply for a Dutch passport. Moreover, since your father was not a resident of the Netherlands, he was exempt from fulfilling military service anyway in the Netherlands.

            To clarify, every Dutchman under age 35 who settled in the Netherlands again (or who re-acquired Dutch nationality after one (1) year of residence) was registered for military service, and thus, called up for conscription. Actual fulfillment of military service was only required if one was actually conscripted. A large number of people were rejected.

            By the way, in the 1990s, the term of military service was 18 months for enlisted troops (21 months for officers), including four (4) months of extended leave. If your father had settled in the Netherlands in 1998, he would still have been registered for military service, but would not have been called up for conscription or military service, necessarily.

            At the time of conscription, the probability of a resettled Dutchman returning from abroad being called up for conscription was higher than for a Dutchman who always resided in the Netherlands being called up. The same was true for naturalized Dutchmen. I don’t know if it was official policy, but it certainly had the appearance of it.

            It may be possible that such detail was not explained to your father, or that it was explained to your father, and he did not retain all of this information in detail.

            Your father retained Dutch nationality through 1 April 2013
            The RWN (1985) was amended in December 2000. There were various stages into which the new provisions of its replacement—the RRWN (2003)—would enter into force regarding automatic loss of Dutch nationality by long-term residence abroad, and re-acquisition of lost Dutch nationality.

            However, your father’s long-term residence abroad did not result in his loss of Dutch nationality in his particular case.

            It is only commencing on 1 April 2003 that your father became subject to the possible loss of his Dutch nationality due to long-term residence abroad.

            Various provisions of the RRWN (2003) commenced on 1 February 2001.

            However, your father still retained his Dutch nationality on this date, whether or not he was aware.

            You were born in 2002. You were thus born a Dutch national automatically (RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1)), because, from the facts you have shared, it is able to be ascertained your father still had retained his Dutch nationality on your date of birth in 2002. Whether he knew this or not is irrelevant. The fact he did not have a valid Dutch passport for years past already is irrelevant.

            Effective 1 April 2003 and through 31 March 2022, a dual adult Dutch national (like your father), who (cumulatively):

            1) was age 18 or older effective 1 April 2003, and
            2) was residing uninterrupted/continuously outside i) the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or ii) any other EU member state or geographic area where the Treaty on the European Union is in effect,

            is required to be issued with either a new Dutch passport, national identity card (NIK), or Certificate of Dutch nationality (“Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap”) at least once every ten (10) years.

            Effective 1 April 2022, this 10-year period has been increased to 13 years.

            Failure to “renew” the Dutch document in a timely manner (i.e., before the 10-year period has expired) will result in automatic loss of Dutch nationality. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c

            Once any one (1) of these three (3) documents is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run if said dual Dutch national continues to reside uninterrupted/continuously outside the aforementioned geographic areas. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4)

            To retain his Dutch nationality, effective 1 April 2003, your father was required to be issued with any one (1) of these three (3) documents between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 (an exact 10-year period).

            Failure to do this resulted in your father’s automatic loss of Dutch nationality effective 1 April 2013 at age 41, exactly 10 years after these provisions entered into force on 1 April 2003 (at age 31).

            Any minor-age children on the date the parent loses Dutch nationality who also have a second or multiple nationality will lose Dutch nationality automatically along with the parent. RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2)a

            The only way you would have retained Dutch nationality on 1 April 2013 is if you had a mother who retained Dutch nationality on or after 1 April 2013.

            On 1 April 2013, you were age 11. Your mother is not a Dutch national, and you did not become stateless upon your father’s loss of Dutch nationality (you are Australian).

            Hence, you lost Dutch nationality on 1 April 2013 at age 11 along with your father.

            Effective 1 April 2013, your father is no longer a Dutch national as I shall presume between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 (an exact 10-year period), your father was not issued with any one (1) of the three (3) aforementioned documents AND your father (also an Australian national) was residing uninterrupted in Australia since 1 April 2003. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c

            This loss of Dutch nationality was automatic under the RRWN (2003). No formal renunciation is required. The loss occurs by operation of Dutch law (“van rechtswege”). Whether or not your father did not wish to lose his Dutch nationality, or he was unaware of the law, or he was unaware he had still retained his Dutch nationality from his birth in 1972 up to 31 March 2013 are irrelevant.

            Re-acquisition of Dutch nationality for your father and you
            The only way for either your father or you to re-acquire Dutch nationality would be to become eligible somehow for a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (“visum langdurig verblijf voor een niet-tijdelijk doel”). These categories of visas are extremely limited in scope.

            Your father was born in the Netherlands in 1972. (“geboren”)
            However, your father was not raised (“getogen”) in the Netherlands. He left when he was 6 weeks old.
            You were born in Australia in 2002.

            Being raised (getogen) under Dutch law is considered having obtained at least one’s primary education (“basisonderwijs”) in the Netherlands.
            In the Netherlands, primary education is between ages 4 and 12.

            You were neither born, nor raised in the Netherlands. I shall also presume that you have not received at least one-half of your primary education abroad in a Dutch school system with at least one-half of the curriculum in Dutch.

            Based on these facts, neither your father, nor you are ineligible to be issued with the special Re-Entry visa (“Visum Wedertoelating”) in Australia. Despite your father’s birth in the Netherlands, as stated, he was not raised there.
            Again, you were neither born, nor raised in the Netherlands.

            This special Re-Entry visa is only issued automatically to former Dutch nationals who were both 1) born and 2) raised in the Netherlands. Their current country of residence or nationality is irrelevant for the issuance of this visa. The Re-Entry visa gives the right to reside in the European portion of the Netherlands (but not in the other countries that comprise the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten).

            For former Dutch nationals such as your father (born in the Netherlands; not raised there) and you (neither born, nor raised in the Netherlands), the bar to obtain this visa is much higher/more stringent. It is considered that your effective ties to the Netherlands are much less strong than those of a former Dutch national who was both born and raised in the Netherlands. In that person’s case, Dutch law considers this individual to have a tie to the Netherlands that can never really be severed or that weakens over time.

            The category of former Dutch national under which your father and you fall may only be issued eventually with this visa either in the Netherlands, or in a country other than the current country of nationality (in your case: Australia).

            Additionally, effective ties (“effectieve banden”) to the Netherlands must be demonstrated. Such ties include education received abroad that mirrors the Dutch education system and with a certain portion of said education given in Dutch, or past employment abroad in the Dutch civil service.

            Merely being a former Dutch national in both your cases is not considered an effective tie criterion in and of itself. Having relatives in the Netherlands who are Dutch nationals and/or visiting the Netherlands on business or holiday are not considered effective ties either.

            If your father or you were to obtain some other long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (“machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf voor een niet-tijdelijk doel”) in order to reside in the Netherlands (e.g., paid employment to name one) or in one of the countries comprising the Kingdom, then after one (1) full year of uninterrupted legal residence you may submit an application to have your lost Dutch nationality restored by option statement, and retain any other nationalities you currently have.

            A former Dutch national–whatever the category–is always able to re-acquire Dutch nationality pursuant to RWN Artikel 6(1)f; provided, however, said former Dutch national is able to obtain a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose under a category which would give the right to eventually re-acquire Dutch nationality (not all visas to reside in the Netherlands are considered long-term visas for a non-temporary purpose).

            Therefore, it is a condition of obtaining long-term, non-temporary residency that is the issue in your cases.

            As you can see, Dutch legal provisions consider former Dutch nationals i) both born and raised in the Netherlands separate from ii) former Dutch nationals born in the Netherlands (but who were not raised there) (like your father), and from iii) former Dutch nationals both born and raised abroad (and who only acquired Dutch nationality by descent from a Dutch national parent (“afstamming”) (like you), and depending on which parent was the Dutch national in the year the child was born (pre-1 January 1985; or on or after 1 January 1985).

            There are currently no ways for your father and you to re-acquire Dutch nationality either by option or by naturalization as long as you are residing in Australia, your present country of nationality.

            Re-acquisition of Dutch nationality by option as a former Dutch national (the quickest and easiest way) is only possible in the Kingdom of the Netherlands; naturalization may occur in a country other than the current country of nationality (in your cases, Australia) or in the Kingdom; provided, however, said former Dutch national fulfills all the legal requirements for naturalization just as any other foreigner must if he/she were residing in the Kingdom.

            It does not appear that on 1 April 2013 (the date your father and you lost Dutch nationality automatically) your father was exercising any rights associated with European Union citizenship (such as freedom of movement rights, voting rights, etc.).

            It does not appear either of you meet the eligibility criteria for consideration to have Dutch nationality restored under any proportionality test: indicia of the past exercise of such rights associated with European Union citizenship on 1 April 2013 do not appear from the facts you have shared.

            You both have Dutch roots. However, your father’s ties to the Netherlands seem so remote (your father has not had a Dutch passport for approximately 47 years (1975); mere past vacation travel to the Netherlands (if such has occurred), or having relatives in the Netherlands (adult children, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews residing in the Kingdom of the Netherlands are not considered “immediate family”; “feeling Dutch” or “celebrating Dutch customs” or “knowledge of the Dutch language”), these facts have nothing to do with the exercise of rights associated with European Union citizenship.

            Hence, it does not appear from those facts alone that either of you would be eligible to reacquire Dutch nationality outside of returning to the Netherlands with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose.

            Conclusion
            Your father retained his Dutch nationality through and including 31 March 2013–unbeknownst apparently to him and your paternal (Australian) grandmother. You were born a Dutch national because your father was still a Dutch national in 2002.

            On 1 April 2013, both your father and you lost Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law.

            How the “passport”/military service issue was precisely explained to your father in the Netherlands is a question for your father to answer. Nevertheless, had your father applied in Australia for a Dutch passport at any time prior to 1 April 2013, a Dutch passport would have been issued to him: he had retained his Dutch nationality all those years under Dutch law.

            Australian law had no effect on your father’s Dutch nationality status at any past time, even after your father, at age 3, acquired Australian nationality. The fact your father and your paternal (Australian) grandmother have been estranged from your paternal grandfather are irrelevant, and have had no bearing on your father’s having retained his Dutch nationality all these years through and including 31 March 2013.

            Given the time I have taken to answer your question, could you be so kind to let us know here at The Indo Project you have received this response please? I have gone into a lot of detail here on your account.

  13. Hi Paul. I would really appreciate it if you could clear my thoughts on the uncertainty of my situation. I think it is very similar to the above mentioned question regarding Josh.

    – My Oupa was born and died a dutch citizen. Born 1929

    – My Father never acquired any dutch passport or identity documents. Born in South Africa 1965

    – Myself born in South Africa 1995

    I’m aware my father can no longer obtain a dutch passport but would it still be possible for me, before I reach the age of 28 ?

    Thanks so much for your time.

    • Hello Darren.

      The answer to your question is the same as the prior answer regarding birth in Australia in 1996 (question posted by Josh S hereabove).

      Neither your father, nor you are Dutch nationals at this time.

      Your father is a former Dutch national. You have never been born a Dutch national, and are not presently in possession of Dutch nationality.

      You are ineligible to be issued with a Dutch passport or other Dutch identity document, and the age 28 reference you made (RRWN(2003) Artikel 15(1)c)) is inapplicable to you.

      Your father was born in South Africa, and acquired South African nationality automatically at birth.

      Your father was born a Dutch national automatically in 1965 because (cumulatively): 1) he was born prior to 1 January 1985; and 2) his father was a married Dutch national on his date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a.

      Place of birth, any other nationalities acquired at birth, or never having been in possession of a Dutch passport or Certificate of Dutch nationality (Bewijs omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap) in the past changes nothing for your father: automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth.

      Your Opa’s Dutch nationality is relevant to you only to the extent that it is the manner by which your father himself acquired his Dutch nationality at birth. Even in the hypothetical situation your Opa had ever naturalized South African after your father’s birth (which he did not), your father would still not have lost his Dutch nationality, as a minor or as an adult.

      In this hypothetical scenario, your Opa would have naturalized to a nationality his son (your father) already had (South Africa), resulting in your Opa’s automatic loss of Dutch nationality, but retention of Dutch nationality by your father in any case, whether your father was still a minor, or an adult if such a naturalization had ever occurred.

      I say this explanatory point for what it’s worth.

      On 1 January 1985, your father (born 1965) was age 20, he was residing in his country of birth (South Africa) and other nationality (South Africa), and I shall presume he continued to reside in South Africa uninterrupted through 31 December 1994 (an exact 10-year period since 1 January 1985).

      Thus, your father lost Dutch nationality automatically (by operation of Dutch law/”van rechtswege”) on 1 January 1995 pursuant to Artikel 15c Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985).

      Even if your father had been in possession of a Dutch passport or Certificate of Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995, the automatic loss of Dutch nationality could not have been prevented at that time:

      1) your father was residing in his country of birth (South Africa) and of which he was also a national (South Africa); and
      2) on 1 January 1985 your father was already age 18 or older (he was age 20), but had not yet reached age 31; and
      3) on 1 January 1995, your father was over age 28 (he was age 30), but had not yet reached age 41.

      Result: Automatic loss of Dutch nationality by your father on 1 January 1995 as stated per Artikel 15c RWN (1985) by operation of Dutch law (“van rechtswege”).

      If your father had been residing in a country other than South Africa on 1 January 1995, he would not have lost his Dutch nationality automatically pursuant to the former Artikel 15c RWN (1985).

      You were born in 1995. Given, since 1 January 1995, your father was no longer in possession of Dutch nationality himself, you have never acquired Dutch nationality at all in the past, despite your Dutch heritage on your paternal side in the ascending line.

      Under Dutch law, it is not possible to acquire Dutch nationality if the parent is not in possession of Dutch nationality on the child’s date of birth. The acquisition of Dutch nationality does not skip a generation.

      This also explains why your Opa’s Dutch nationality status is entirely irrelevant to you. Dutch nationality law does not provide for “ancestry” citizenship or “ancestry” visas through a Dutch national grandparent.

      This question is often posed by South Africans.

      This former Artikel 15c RWN (1985) was amended in December 2000.

      Since 1 April 2003, it is no longer in effect.

      Given your father had NOT been issued with either a Dutch passport or a Certificate of Dutch nationality issued on or after 1 January 1990 (but before 1 January 1995, the date on which he automatically lost Dutch nationality), your father had the one-time opportunity to apply to have his lost Dutch nationality restored with retroactive effect by option statement.

      Your father was required to apply for restoration of Dutch nationality before The Netherlands authorities in South Africa (his country of residence at that time) between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 (an exact 2-year period).

      Upon approval of the option application, your father’s lost Dutch nationality would have been restored with retroactive effect to the date it was lost: 1 January 1995.

      Any minor-aged children on your father’s option approval date and whose names were specifically mentioned in your father’s option application would acquire Dutch nationality along with your father.

      This could have applied to you, having been born in 1995. You were still under age 18 between 1 April 2003-31 March 2005.

      Therefore, since 1 January 1995, your father has no longer been a Dutch national (i.e., no longer in possession of Dutch nationality).

      Since you were born (in 1995) on a date on or after the date your father lost Dutch nationality (1 January 1995), you were never born a Dutch national, and have never been a Dutch national under Dutch law at any time in the past.

      Since you are not in possession of Dutch nationality presently, a Dutch passport or other Dutch identity document cannot be issued to you. A passport is a travel document only. It is not evidence of nationality. One must be in possession of a country’s nationality in order to be issued with that country’s passport.

      It is not in applying for a Dutch passport that one acquires Dutch nationality: one either has Dutch nationality already (in which case a Dutch passport will be issued, or one does not have Dutch nationality (in which case a Dutch passport application will neither be accepted, nor processed).

      The terms “nationality” and “passport” are thus not synonyms, and should not be used interchangeably. It is being already in possession of Dutch nationality that gives the right to the issuance of a Dutch passport. It is not in applying for a Dutch passport that provides for acquisition of Dutch nationality.

      One either has Dutch nationality already or one does not. It’s that simple.

      At this time, the only way for you to acquire Dutch nationality would be by naturalization. You would be required to fulfill all the qualifications for naturalization just as any other foreigner. Further, it is impermissible for a foreigner to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in his/her current country of nationality.

      Because you, as explained, have neither been born a Dutch national, nor are in possession of Dutch nationality presently, the provision referring to “age 28” you mentioned is entirely inapplicable to you, namely: RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c.

      Your remark must be put in context: this provision applies to dual Dutch nationals only (i.e., to individuals who are already in possession of Dutch nationality AND a second nationality or multiple nationalities also) who are residing uninterrupted/continuously outside 1) the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or 2) any other EU member state.

      Since its effective date of 1 April 2003, this Artikel 15(1)c requires that a dual Dutch national adult (i.e., age 18 or older), residing uninterrupted outside 1) the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or 2) any other EU member state must be issued with a new Dutch passport, national identity card, or Certificate of Dutch nationality within every ten-year period since attaining the age of majority (age 18; meaning by age 28 for a first-time Dutch document request after turning age 18).

      However, you are not a Dutch national presently, so a Dutch passport application will not be processed, making Artikel 15(1)c and any “by age 28 for a first-time Dutch document request” language inapplicable to you in any case.

      I trust this detailed explanation helps.

      Best regards.

      =============
      RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c. Inwerkingtreding (Effective date): 1 April 2003

      “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.”

  14. Hello Paul,

    Just only to tell you that I am deeply impressed by your knowledge and readiness to support so many people in difficult matters in the most competent and generous way. Like when I got to know you in Paris more than 10 years ago.

    My very best!

    Marek

  15. Hi Paul,

    Fantastic article and I think your dedication is incredible with respect to responding to everyone’s comments. I was wondering if you could help me understand whether my father has Dutch nationality and can apply for a Dutch passport.

    – My Opa was born in 1929 in The Netherlands and immigrated to Australia in 1954.
    – My Opa married my Oma in Australia (she was South African)
    – From my understanding, my Opa never naturalised in Australia, nor did he ever renounce his Dutch nationality (he is only Dutch)
    – My Opa passed away in 2004
    – My father was born 1957 in Australia, and acquired Australian nationality at birth.
    – My father has never had a Dutch passport or Dutch identity documents

    Does my father have Dutch nationality? If he does, would I (born 1996) then also have Dutch nationality too?

    Thank you for your help.

    • Hello Josh.

      Neither your father, nor you are Dutch nationals at this time.

      Your father was born in Australia, and acquired Australian nationality automatically at birth.

      Your father was born a Dutch national automatically because (cumulatively): 1) he was born prior to 1 January 1985; and 2) his father was a married Dutch national on his date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a.

      Place of birth, any other nationalities acquired at birth, or never having been in possession of a Dutch passport or Certificate of Dutch nationality (Bewijs omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap) in the past changes nothing for your father: automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth.

      Your Opa’s Dutch nationality is relevant to you only to the extent that it is the manner by which your father himself acquired his Dutch nationality at birth. Even in the hypothetical situation your Opa had ever naturalized Australian after your father’s birth (which he did not), your father would still not have lost his Dutch nationality, as a minor or as an adult. In this hypothetical scenario, your Opa would have naturalized to a nationality his son (your father) already had, resulting in your Opa’s automatic loss of Dutch nationality, but retention of Dutch nationality by your father in any case, whether your father were still a minor, or an adult if such a naturalization had ever occurred. I say this explanatory point for what it’s worth.

      On 1 January 1985, your father was age 28, he was residing in his country of birth and other nationality (Australia), and I shall presume he continued to reside in Australia uninterrupted through 31 December 1994 (an exact 10-year period since 1 January 1985).

      Thus, your father lost Dutch nationality automatically on 1 January 1995 pursuant to Artikel 15c Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985).

      Even if your father had been in possession of a Dutch passport or Certificate of Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995, the automatic loss of Dutch nationality could not have been prevented at that time:

      1) your father was residing in his country of birth and of which he was also a national (Australia); and
      2) on 1 January 1985 your father was already age 18, but had not yet reached age 31; and
      3) on 1 January 1995, your father was age 28, but had not yet reached age 41.

      Result: Automatic loss of Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 as stated per Artikel 15c RWN (1985).

      If your father had been residing in a country other than Australia on 1 January 1995, he would not have lost his Dutch nationality automatically pursuant to the former Artikel 15c RWN (1985).

      You were born in 1996. Given since 1 January 1995 your father was no longer in possession of Dutch nationality himself, you have never acquired Dutch nationality at all in the past, despite your Dutch heritage on your paternal side.

      Under Dutch law, it is not possible to acquire Dutch nationality if the parent is not in possession of Dutch nationality on the child’s date of birth. The acquisition of Dutch nationality does not skip a generation.

      This former Artikel 15c RWN (1985) was revised in December 2000. Since 1 April 2003, it is no longer in effect.

      Given your father had NOT been issued with either a Dutch passport or a Certificate of Dutch nationality issued on or after 1 January 1990 (but before 1 January 1995, the date on which he automatically lost Dutch nationality), your father had the one-time opportunity to apply to have his lost Dutch nationality restored with retroactive effect by option statement.

      Your father was required to apply for restoration of Dutch nationality before The Netherlands authorities in Australia (his country of residence at that time) between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 (an exact 2-year period).

      Upon approval of the option application, your father’s lost Dutch nationality would have been restored with retroactive effect to the date it was lost: 1 January 1995.

      Any minor-aged children on your father’s option approval date and whose names were specifically mentioned in your father’s option application would acquire Dutch nationality along with your father. This could have applied to you, having been born in 1996. You were still under age 18 between 1 April 2003-31 March 2005.

      Therefore, since 1 January 1995, your father has no longer been a Dutch national.

      Since you were born (in 1996) on a date after the date your father lost Dutch nationality (1 January 1995), you have never been a Dutch national under Dutch law.

      Since you are not in possession of Dutch nationality presently, a Dutch passport cannot be issued to you. A passport is a travel document only. It is not evidence of nationality. One must be in possession of a country’s nationality in order to be issued with that country’s passport.

      At this time, the only way for you to acquire Dutch nationality would be by naturalization. You would be required to fulfill all the qualifications for naturalization just as any other foreigner. Further, it is impermissible for a foreigner to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in his/her current country of nationality.

      I trust this detailed explanation has helped.

      Best regards.

  16. Hi Paul.

    Hope you are well?
    Just a question, my grandmother was born in the Netherlands in 1927. The family moved to South Africa when my grandmother was still a child. My Grandmother married a South African man in 1945 at the age of 18. According to the law at that time she lost her Dutch nationality when marrying a South African man before my mothers birth in 1947 even though she was 18 at the time. Does this then mean my mother and myself do not have a chance at the latent Dutch option as at the time of my mother’s birth my grandmother was not Dutch even though she had no choice in giving up her citizenship?

    • Hello Tanya.

      Under the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) that was in effect from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984, a Dutch national woman always lost her Dutch nationality upon marriage to her foreign national spouse. WNI (1892) Artikel 5 (Stb. 268).

      If the Dutch national woman did not acquire his nationality automatically upon marriage, she became stateless.

      Your Dutch national grandmother married her South African spouse at age 18. Her marriage to your South African grandfather resulted in her automatic loss of Dutch nationality. I shall assume that prior to her marriage in 1945, neither your great-grandfather, nor your great-grandmother (or both) ever naturalized South African, and which would have resulted in your grandmother’s losing her Dutch nationality as she would have been considered a minor.

      Additionally, under Dutch law one is considered of age upon marriage.

      Lastly, the fact your grandmother “had no choice in giving up her citizenship” was of no consequence at that time under the WNI (1892).

      Therefore, there are two (2) factors here: 1) your grandmother married her South African spouse (automatic loss of Dutch nationality in so doing); and 2) her marriage resulted in her attaining the age of majority on her marriage date. Your grandmother attained the age of majority at age 18 immediately upon this marriage.

      Had your grandmother not married, she would have been considered a minor until her 21st birthday.

      Since your mother was born (1947) after your grandmother’s marriage (1945), your mother was not born with Dutch nationality anyway. At the time, your mother’s father was not a Dutch national. Additionally, as her mother (your grandmother) was not a Dutch national on your mother’s date of birth, your mother does not qualify now for the Latent Dutch option in effect since 1 October 2010 only.

      In turn, neither do you qualify for the Latent Dutch option since one of the four (4) criteria fails for both your mother and you: on the child’s date of birth prior to 1 January 1985, the mother was a Dutch national. This was not the case for your mother in 1947 (see above).

      In sum, your mother was not born of a Dutch national mother in 1947, and since your mother herself was not born of a Dutch national woman prior to 1 January 1985, you also do not qualify for the Latent Dutch option now.

      Best regards.

  17. Hello.

    I shall presume you lost your Dutch nationality on or after 1 April 2013.

    You have misstated your sentence. Your brother did not “apply” for Dutch citizenship and then “got it.” Acquisition of Dutch citizenship does not operate in this manner. One either has Dutch nationality or one does not. If one has Dutch nationality, a Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch Nationality Certificate (Bewijs omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap) will be issued. If one does not have Dutch nationality, the application for one (1) of these three (3) documents will not be processed. It’s as simple as that.

    Your father was still a Dutch national on your brother’s date of birth and on yours. And no life event occurred with regard to your brother that he subsequently lost his Dutch nationality. Had such not been the case, your brother would have been ineligible for a Dutch passport to be issued to him.

    You did not apply for Dutch nationality. You applied for a Dutch passport, and that Dutch passport application was not processed. Your application was not processed, because it was determined that you no longer had Dutch nationality, having lost it, because, as you have implied, 1) you did not apply and were not issued with a new Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch Nationality Certificate within 10 years since the last one was issued to you AND 2) during that entire 10-year period, you were residing outside 1) the Kingdom of the Netherlands or 2) any other EU member state as an adult age 18 or older.

    This provision entered into effect on 1 April 2003. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c

    Therefore, it is incorrect to state that you “applied” for Dutch nationality. You were born with it under Dutch law, but that does not mean that you retained it.

    A passport is a travel document only. It is not evidence of Dutch nationality. Why not? Because Dutch nationality law has provisions for automatic loss of Dutch nationality despite a valid Dutch passport on the date a life event occurred that would result, under Dutch nationality law, for automatic loss.

    You will be unsuccessful if you appeal under the proportionality test (evenredigheidstoets) merely because you have a brother with Dutch nationality and he resides in the Netherlands. This is not a manner under the current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap by which one acquires or retains Dutch nationality.

    Under the proportionality test, you must prove by objective evidence that on the date you lost your Dutch nationality by operation of law that you were intending or were already availing yourself of European Union citizen rights.

    You must prove this by the following documents that must show unequivocally that on the date of loss of Dutch nationality, you were availing yourself of said EU rights. Hypothetical scenarios do not meet this burden of proof.

    Examples of verifiable/objective ties to the Netherlands with regard to the proportionality test that must have existed and that must be demonstrated on the day you lost Dutch nationality are the following:

    – Employment contracts;
    – Salary slips/pay stubs;
    – Proof of self-employment (registration with the Chamber of Commerce, tax returns together with the corresponding assessments by the Dutch tax authorities);
    – Certificates of enrolment at schools or universities;
    – Proof of ownership of real estate/immoveable property;
    – Proof of payment for tickets and other travel documents, visa and entry/exit stamps in your passport. Greater value is given to evidence issued by an official body or authority.

    Note: Statements from family members and acquaintances are so-called non-objective and non-verifiable (niet-objectieve en niet-verifieerbare) evidence and will be considered only as supporting evidence and not objective, verifiable evidence. This means that a statement from a family member or another person is never sufficient if no other effective/objective evidence is submitted.

    The ruling of the Netherlands Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) provides that consequences which are not related to European rights, such as any connection one may (still) feel with the Netherlands or the speaking of the Dutch language, are irrelevant claims/evidence.

    Personal feelings that one has a link to the Netherlands cannot be considered because in view of the judgment of the EU Court of Justice and the Netherlands Ministry of Justice, this connection is not relevant for the assessment of whether the loss of EU citizenship has been disproportionate, since a connection one feels with the Netherlands does not concern any recitals relating to EU citizenship. They therefore play no role in the proportionality test.

    The moment of assessment is the moment of loss of Dutch citizenship, i.e., the date on which the 10-year period expired (in your case: on the date that 10-year period ended AND that 10-year period ended on or after 1 April 2013), on the understanding that not only the consequences of the loss of Dutch citizenship that had already manifested themselves at that time must be considered, but also the consequences that could reasonably have been foreseen at that time.

    Arguments that do not relate to EU law do not carry any weight when assessing whether the loss of Dutch citizenship must be considered disproportionate. The circumstance that an individual still feels Dutch, has a strong connection with the Netherlands, still maintains contacts with relatives or friends in the Netherlands or who still speaks the Dutch language, is therefore not significant in the context of the proportionality test.

    Therefore, what you must always keep in mind is that the loss of EU rights must have been exercised at the time of loss of Dutch nationality (in your case, at the time that 10-year period expired) or that were reasonably foreseeable as of that very date. Arguments that do not relate to the time of the loss or that were not reasonably foreseeable or that are solely hypothetical at that time must be disregarded.

    For a successful outcome, the loss of EU citizenship must turn out to be disproportionate in the individual case based on the foregoing information. If there is no question of disproportionate consequences that lie in the sphere of EU law, the loss of Dutch nationality will be upheld.

    The fact that the ability to travel to the Netherlands can be “quickly revoked for non-citizens based on public health concerns” would be considered irrelevant: as those individuals do not hold a nationality of an EU member state, the fact that they may be unable to travel to any EU member state has no bearing on the rights granted to EU member state citizens under EU law.

    Could you let us know here at The Indo Project you have received this information?

    Best regards.

    =========================
    RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c (inwerkingtreding: 1 april 2003):

    “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.”

    RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4) (inwerkingtreding 1 april 2003):

    “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.”

  18. Hi Paul,

    Me and my brother were both born in Canada and our father is Dutch. He immigrated to Canada was he was really young. My brother applied for Dutch citizenship years ago and got it. He plans on relocating there now that this “remote work” world has made it possible.

    I applied for Dutch citizenship but was unfortunately 11 months too late based on the 10-year period. I didn’t try to pursue it further as I understood that the only option I had was to relocate to the Netherlands for a year – which was not then possible.

    Now, with the new proportionality law – I am wondering if I am able to apply under the fact that my brother (my only sibling) will be in the Netherlands and I will be unable to be there long-term with him. Sure, as a Canadian citizen, I can visit freely. But there are two main hindrances: 1) these visits can only be for short-term and 2) as we have seen over the last 18-months, the ability to travel to the Netherlands (or any other country for that matter) can be quickly revoked for non-citizens based on public health concerns.

  19. Hi Paul,

    I was born in the Netherlands and moved to the US in 2004. My last Dutch passport was issued on November 06, 2006, valid until November 06, 2011. I obtained the US citizenship (married to a US citizen) on January 18, 2021.
    I submitted an “aanvraag verklaring Nederlanderschap” in August of this year. I received a letter stating that a first assessment shows that I lost my Dutch citizenship on January 18, 2021 (when I became a Dutch citizenship) but that I can submit proof of my bond with the EU.
    However, based on a similar case described in the comments above I think that I can still renew my passport as I am still within that 10-year period (issued on November 06, 2006, valid until November 06, 2011).
    Is this correct?
    Also, does this mean that I am also eligible for an “aanvraag verklaring Nederlanderschap”?

      • Hi Saskia.

        Prior to your US naturalization date on January 18, 2011, your only nationality was Dutch.

        The fact you never renewed your Dutch passport by its expiration date of November 6, 2011 did not yet result in automatic loss of Dutch nationality for failure to renew this Dutch passport before November 6, 2011.

        Provisions for the automatic loss of Dutch nationality only apply to DUAL adult Dutch nationals residing outside 1) the Kingdom of the Netherlands; or 2) any other EU member state for an uninterrupted period of 10 years, AND said dual adult Dutch national is not issued with either a i) new Dutch passport, ii) national identity card/NIK or iii) Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap before this 10-year period has elapsed since the last Dutch document was issued. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c.

        Once any one (1) of these three (3) documents is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run IF AND ONLY IF said dual adult national continues to reside uninterrupted outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other EU member state. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4)

        You acquired US citizenship on January 18, 2011. Therefore, this 10-year period started to run for you only as per January 18, 2011 and NOT before.

        You must count this 10-year period from the date you acquired a second nationality (January 18, 2011) and not count 10 years from November 6, 2011.

        I shall presume you have been residing uninterrupted in the USA since January 18, 2011 (your US naturalization date).

        Therefore, you had until January 18, 2021 to be issued with one of the three documents mentioned above. Failure to be issued with one of these documents would result in the automatic loss of Dutch nationality as per January 18, 2021.

        Ex.: January 18, 2011 (US naturalization date; second nationality) + 10 years (to be issued with a new Dutch document as you have been residing continuously outside the Netherlands or any other EU member state with a second nationality since January 18, 2011, i.e., in the USA) = January 18, 2021 (automatic loss of Dutch nationality if a new Dutch document was not issued to you by January 18, 2021/exactly 10 years from January 18, 2011).

        Since you have not been a Dutch national since January 18, 2021, you are unable to be issued with a Verklaring Nederlandse nationaliteit, Dutch passport or NIK at this time. This is the reason your application was not processed.

        If you are able to demonstrate “effectieve banden” to the Netherlands or evidence you were making use of EU rights as an EU member state national (examples of these “effective ties” should have been clearly outlined in the official rejection letter), you would be able to have your Dutch nationality restored under the new “evenredigheidstoets.”

        Nevertheless, these “effective ties” must have been exercised or it was reasonably plausible in your situation that you were going to make use of these EU rights at the time of automatic loss of your Dutch nationality, i.e., on January 18, 2021.

        Merely being a former Dutch national is not considered a sufficient effective tie in and of itself.

        If your appeal fails, the only way for you to re-acquire Dutch nationality as a former Dutch national would be to return to the Netherlands. After one-year of uninterrupted legal residence in the Netherlands, you could submit an application to have your Dutch nationality restored by option statement and retain any other nationalities you hold. This is the quickest and easiest way for any former Dutch national (Oud Nederlander) to re-acquire Dutch nationality. RWN Artikel 6(1)f

        No option possibility exists for a former Dutch national to re-acquire Dutch nationality outside of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

        If your Dutch nationality is restored by means of the “evenredigheidstoets”/proportionality test, in future, it may be best never to let your Dutch passport expire and to always keep it current since you are residing continuously outside the Netherlands or any other EU member state.

        Since 9 March 2014, a Dutch passport, NIK or Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap is valid for 10 years from date of issue for Dutch nationals age 18 or over (only 5 years for children under age 18).

        Lastly, any adult Dutch national may apply for a Dutch passport, NIK or Verklaring at any time. A Dutch national may apply for any combination of them (or even all 3!) at the same time if he/she is in formal possession of Dutch nationality (but at present you are ineligible). The issuance of any one of these documents resets this 10-year period from the document’s issuance date.

        I hope this information has proved helpful. Could you be so kind to let us know here at The Indo Project you have received this answer?

        Best regards.

        =========================
        RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c (inwerkingtreding: 1 april 2003):

        “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.”

        RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4) (inwerkingtreding 1 april 2003):

        “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.”

  20. Hi,
    I see this article is a couple years old but wondering if you can help me? My mother was born in the Netherlands in 1946 to Dutch parents. My mother immigrated to Canada with her parents 1952 when she was 5. Her parents gave up their their dutch citizenship and they all became Canadian (the children were too you g to have a say in it). My mother is now asking if she can regain her Dutch citizenship? She is still Canadian.

    • Hello Elise.

      Under the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) in force at the time period of your mother’s and her family’s Canadian naturalization, a child who shared in the foreign naturalization with the parents automatically lost Dutch nationality. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1).

      If your mother was naturalized at the same time with her parents (but on a separate naturalization certificate), then your mother would have retained her Dutch nationality as a minor even if her parents lost theirs. In this case, she still has lost her Dutch nationality over time.

      It appears from your post that your mother did not naturalize in Canada independent from her parents as a minor, but rather she shared in their Canadian naturalization.

      Whether the child(ren) had any “say in it” is entirely irrelevant. This is for the protection of the minor-age child and cohesion of the family unit and Dutch nationality (or absence of it) within the family unit.

      Your mother had the opportunity to have her lost Dutch nationality restored by option statement:

      – Between the ages of 21 (the age of majority at the time) and 22 (i.e., between 1967-1968 in your mother’s case). WNI (1892) Artikel 10

      In this case, your mother’s Dutch nationality would have been restored if she had made a statement to the Dutch authorities abroad she wished to reacquire her Dutch nationality during this one-year period after attaining age 21 (1967) but before attaining age 22 (1968).

      The fact that your mother may not have been aware of this provision at the time is irrelevant. In legal matters, ignorance/unawareness of the law is not an affirmative defense as the legal maxim goes.

      The quickest and easiest way for your mother to re-acquire Dutch nationality is to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (such as paid employment or immediate family reunification). As a former Dutch national, after one (1) year of uninterrupted legal residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands under a requisite long-term visa category, your mother could file an application for restoration of Dutch nationality by option statement. She would be permitted to retain any other nationalities she currently holds. RWN Artikel 6(1)f

      Your mother is ineligible for any option statement that currently exists for acquisition of Dutch nationality abroad. Further, naturalization is not permitted abroad as your mother appears currently to be residing in her country of current nationality: Canada.

      If your mother ever had her Dutch nationality restored by any means, this would have no effect on any children who have attained the age of majority. Further, her Dutch nationality would not be restored to the date she lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law.

      Restoration of Dutch nationality would only take effect on the date the option is approved and your mother attends the mandatory naturalization ceremony.

      Best regards.

  21. Hi,

    I am a Dutch citizen by birth (as well as Australian by birth) but did not realise I was Dutch (as my mother had lost her citizenship) and of course I only realised in the year of my 28th birthday. I applied for a Dutch Nationality Certificate 9 weeks prior to my birthday and was asked to provide further documents 3 weeks before my birthday which I did straight away. I received the Dutch Nationality Certificate dated 7 days after my birthday.

    Given that a lot of your comments say that your 28th birthday is a hard deadline for loss of your Dutch Citizenship I was wondering whether this Official Certificate being issued has successfully reset my 10 years (and I’ve got extremely lucky) or whether there is a chance this could be invalidated due to being 7 days after my actual 28th birthday date.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • You state your mother lost her Dutch citizenship.

      What you have not stated is whether your mother has a second nationality or the year in which she lost her Dutch nationality.

      Since 1 January 1985, a minor-age child retains Dutch nationality if at least one parent retains Dutch nationality through the child’s reaching age 18.

      If you are 28 years old now, then you were born in 1993. You turned age 18 in 2011.

      If your mother lost her Dutch nationality whilst you were a minor and both she and you had a second nationality, then your mother lost her Dutch nationality, and in so doing, so did you.

      It seems what you are stating is that your mother lost her Dutch nationality, but only after your 18th birthday. This is why it is important to be specific. Hence, part of your posting is unclear.

      You have also misstated that there is a hard deadline for loss of Dutch nationality. This statement must be re-worded and put into context. The automatic loss of Dutch nationality for failure to be issued with a Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate only affects dual adult Dutch nationals who are residing uninterrupted for a period of ten (10) years outside 1) the Kingdom of The Netherlands or 2) any other EU member state and who have not been issued with a new document before 10 years has run since the last document was issued. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c.

      For a first time request upon reaching age 18, then the deadline is by age 28.

      Due to the worldwide pandemic, it is quite likely the Dutch authorities granted a small reprieve period in your case so that you would not lose your Dutch nationality by age 28. You have stated prior to age 28, you had never been issued with one of these documents so that you barely made the deadline.

      Keep in mind that just because a Dutch document is issued, this is never a guarantee that Dutch nationality is secure. If it is uncovered at any time in the future an administrative error was made in the issuance of that document, then Dutch nationality will be considered lost.

      In sum, if the certificate was issued 7 days after your 28th birthday, and since age 18, you were residing outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other EU member state, then technically there was an administrative error in its issuance. Whether the Dutch authorities considered the worldwide pandemic a mitigating factor is not for me to say.

      Nevertheless, the issuance of this document to you should never be considered a safeguard, meaning just because it was issued, that any future uncovered administrative oversight/error will be disregarded. This is certainly not the case. This same regulation applies to anyone who may have been issued with a Dutch document by administrative oversight (“administratief verzuim”)/error.

  22. Dear Paul

    Here is our situation:
    Father-in-law:
    Born in 1944 in Amsterdam from a Dutch father and mohter (Married in Amsterdam in 1939, both born in Amsterdam 1915 & 1917, both from Dutch fathers and mothers)
    Immigarted to South Africa after 2nd WW in 1948 with both his parents.
    He and his sister never owned a passport as far as I know, I assume he travelled on his parents passports, since he was only 4 years old.
    He turned 18 years in 1962 and naturalised South African on 29 April 1969.
    He lived and worked in Amsterdam for a year on a “voluntary program permit” during which he worked in a factory – I think he travelled on a SA passport (probably not relevant information – but I rather give too much info)
    He never served in the millitary.
    His father naturalised South African 13 Dec 1965
    His mother never naturalised South African but remained Dutch untill her death 6 April 2006 (don’t have her last passport – all lost after her death)

    Will it at all be possible for him to have his Dutch citizenship re-instated via his mothers’ Dutch citizenship? It seems unlikely, but if there is the slightest change of it, we would like to know please.

    If so, he has a son (my husband) born in 1975 to a South African wife (married in 1971). If my father-in-law can have his Dutch citizenship re-instated, will his son be able to apply for Dutch citizenship or a passport if his father gets re-instated? The son also has two children 10 and 13 years – will they be eligible for Dutch citisenship as well if my father-in-law and husband get Dutch citizenship? If all of this is possible – do one apply for all in one application or seperately.

    Many thanks for your patience and advice in this regard.

    Kind regards
    Izelde

    • Hello Izelde.

      Thank you for the detailed information.

      1. Your father-in-law lost his Dutch nationality automatically when he voluntarily naturalized South African on 29 April 1969.

      2. HIs mother’s Dutch nationality is entirely irrelevant in his acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth in 1944. He acquired Dutch nationality solely i) through his married Dutch national father AND ii) your father-in-law’s birth prior to 1 January 1985. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a. His birth in The Netherlands is also entirely irrelevant in the automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth. The Netherlands does not recognize birth in The Netherlands a factor in acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth, barring in one specific circumstance that does not apply to your father-in-law.

      3. Your father-in-law’s mother’s Dutch nationality is also entirely irrelevant in any claim to re-acquire Dutch nationality.

      4. As your father-in-law had resided for at least five (5) uninterrupted years as a minor in South Africa, whose nationality he acquired as an adult, between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013, your father-in-law had the possibility to apply for his lost Dutch nationality to be restored by option statement and retain his South African nationality. This was a one-time option period open to former Dutch nationals in your father-in-law’s situation.

      5. Any children who were still under age 18 on your father-in-law’s option approval date (had he applied for restoration of Dutch nationality during this temporary period) and whose names were specifically mentioned in said option statement would have acquired Dutch nationality.

      6. Your husband turned age 18 in 1993. Therefore, he would have been ineligible to share in the re-acquisition of Dutch nationality by his father.

      7. Thus, your husband, born in 1975, did not acquire Dutch nationality at birth as his father was no longer a Dutch national on your husband’s date of birth. Under Dutch nationality law, your husband is unable to acquire a nationality (Dutch) his father no longer had.

      8. In turn, your children have not acquired Dutch nationality at birth either.

      9. The only way for your husband to acquire Dutch nationality would be by naturalization. Your husband would be required to fulfill all the legal provisions to qualify for Dutch naturalization. Moreover, he could not naturalize Dutch whilst residing in South Africa, his current country of nationality. This is against Dutch public policy.

      10. In conclusion, while your husband’s heritage is clearly Dutch, your husband did not acquire Dutch nationality at birth, and he would have been unable to share in the re-acquisition of Dutch nationality by his father if his father had applied for restoration of Dutch nationality between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 during said temporary option period. As your husband is not in possession of Dutch nationality, your husband is unable to be issued with a Dutch passport.

      11. Your father-in-law is unable to have Dutch nationality restored just because his mother retained her Dutch nationality her entire life.

      12. No option possibility for restoration of Dutch nationality currently exists for your father-in-law outside of residence in the Netherlands as a former Dutch national.

      13. No possibility exists for your father-in-law or for your husband to naturalize Dutch in South Africa. Any restoration or re-acquisition of Dutch nationality by your father-in-law would have no effect on your husband or his children to any claim to acquire Dutch nationality through your father-in-law under current Dutch nationality law provisions.

      Kind regards.

      • Dear Paul,

        It has been a while since our previous connection.

        Please can you assist with the following:
        If I can get a job in the Netherland through my current company (at age 45) and my husband joins me, is he allowed to work? If so, I assume he can acquire Dutch nationality by naturalization. What are the legal provisions needed for this and will his age (47) be considered a setback? Are there any other conditions to take into account e.g. my age and our kids (age 12 & 15)?

        Kind regards
        Izelde

        • Hello Izelde.

          Dutch laws do not discriminate based on age. The acquisition of Dutch nationality by an adult foreigner is not barred due to “age.”

          For information on immigration issues, you should contact the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst/IND via its official website. There are various ways to contact the IND.

          If a foreigner acquires Dutch nationality, any minor-age children acquire Dutch nationality along with the parent(s).

          Any child who is age 18 or older does not naturalize along with the foreign parent(s). This child (now an adult) must qualify for naturalization on his/her own merits in this case. The fact the parent(s) eventually naturalized has no bearing on this child (who has since turned age 18 or older).

          For a foreign spouse or registered civil partner to naturalize Dutch, the couple must have been married for or in a registered civil partnership for at least three uninterrupted years and share the same home. It does not matter whether the couple has resided abroad or in the Kingdom during this period.

          Additionally, the foreign spouse or registered civil partner must fulfill all the other requirements for naturalization, including Dutch language proficiency and civic integration (unless he/she falls under one of the limited exceptions by which no Dutch language proficiency and/or civic integration would be required).

          Any foreigner may not naturalize Dutch if he/she is residing in his/her country of current nationality.

          Best regards.

  23. Wow! Your page is super helpful.
    We are hoping you can help us determine if my Canadian-born husband (Andrew) can obtain his loss Dutch citizenship.

    Andrew was both in Montreal to dutch parents. Six months after he was born his parents obtained Canadian citizenship. If we understand correctly – and unbeknownst to him at the time) he was actually a dual citizen CAN/NLD but because he lived in Canada for the 10 year period from 1985 to 1995, he automatically lost his Dutch citizenship. This was clearly explained to us when Andrew applied for Dutch citizenship through the Dutch Consululate in Luxembourg in 2014 – the Consul forwarded us the email which explained the above.

    Since 2013, we have been living in Luxembourg since 2013 and I (legal wife) am now a citizen of Luxembourg in addition to Canada and the UK.
    We intend to remain in Europe and would love for Andrew to regain his lost dutch citizenship.
    Have we missed anything?
    Has anything changed in the Dutch citizenship laws which might work in our favour to achieve our objective?

    Thank you for reading.
    Kind regards,
    Karen and Andrew

    • EDITED TO CORRECT TYPOS AND ADD MISSING INFO – SORRY!

      Wow! Your page is super helpful.
      We are hoping you can help us determine if my Canadian-born husband (Andrew) can obtain his lost Dutch citizenship.

      Andrew was both in Montreal to dutch parents in 1958. His birth was registered with the Dutch Embassy in Montreal at the time. Six months after he was born his parents obtained Canadian citizenship. If we understand correctly (and unbeknownst to him at the time) he was actually a dual citizen CAN/NLD upon his birth but because he lived in Canada for the 10 year period from 1985 to 1995, he automatically lost his Dutch citizenship. This was clearly explained to us when Andrew applied for Dutch citizenship through the Dutch Consululate in Luxembourg in 2014 – the Consul forwarded us the email which explained the above.

      Since 2013, we have been living in Luxembourg and I (legal wife) am now a citizen of Luxembourg in addition to Canada and the UK.
      We intend to remain in Europe and would love for Andrew to regain his lost dutch citizenship.
      Have we missed anything?
      Has anything changed in the Dutch citizenship laws which might work in our favour to achieve our objective?

      Thank you for reading.
      Kind regards,
      Karen and Andrew

      • Hello Karen and Andrew,

        In response to your question, Andrew lost his Dutch nationality automatically on 1 January 1995 at age 37 as between 1 January 1985 (age 27) through and including 31 December 1994 (age 37), Andrew was already an adult age 18 and over AND he was residing in his birth country and of which he was also a national: Canada. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

        Even if Andrew had a valid Dutch passport on 1 January 1995, this would not have been a safeguard to retaining Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 in Andrew’s case. The loss of Dutch nationality under Artikel 15c was automatic. This former Artikel 15c affected tens of thousands of former dual adult Dutch nationals who were residing in their country of birth and of which they were also a national and had already reached age 28 (but not yet age 41) as clearly explained in the article.

        Andrew was born a Dutch national automatically as his married father was a Dutch national on his date of birth in 1958. Andrew’s mother’s Dutch nationality is entirely irrelevant in Andrew’s automatically acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth prior to 1 January 1985. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a.

        Whether Andrew’s birth had been recorded at The Netherlands Embassy is also irrelevant: Andrew’s Dutch nationality was acquired automatically at birth from his married Dutch national father.

        The fact that Andrew’s parents naturalized to the nationality Andrew also automatically acquired at birth (i.e., Canada) resulted in the automatic loss of Dutch nationality for both of Andrew’s parents. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1)

        However, this automatic loss of Dutch nationality did not affect Andrew at the time: he retained his Dutch nationality as a minor even if his parents did not.

        As I shall presume Andrew had never been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or after 1 January 1990, then Andrew had the possibility to have his lost Dutch nationality restored by option statement if he had submitted such an application between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 to The Netherlands embassy or consulate-general in his country of residence.

        In this case, Andrew’s lost Dutch nationality would have been restored with retroactive effect to the date he lost it: 1 January 1995.

        Currently no possibilities exist under Dutch law for Andrew to re-acquire Dutch nationality by option statement without residing in the Kingdom of The Netherlands under a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (such as paid employment).

        From the limited information provided, it does not appear that Andrew is eligible for naturalization at this time, the requirements of which stipulate residence in the Kingdom of The Netherlands for at least five (5) uninterrupted years, unless one is married to or in a registered civil partnership with a Dutch national, in which case the required residency period is lowered to three (3) years (years married to a Dutch national and spent abroad count towards fulfilling this requirement).

        However, as you are not a Dutch national, this point would be entirely moot.

        Additionally, for naturalization, Andrew would be required to renounce any other nationalities he currently holds as Canada permits renunciation of Canadian nationality, and it does not appear that Andrew falls under an exception by which he may retain his Canadian nationality were he to naturalize Dutch.

        If Andrew were able to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (such as paid employment), then after at least one (1) full year of uninterrupted main legal residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, he could submit an application to re-acquire Dutch nationality by option statement and retain any other nationalities he currently holds. This is the quickest and easiest way for Andrew to re-acquire Dutch nationality under RRWN (2003) Artikel 6(1)f

        At this time, it may be easier for Andrew to obtain Luxembourgish nationality. For that information, however, you would need to turn to the Luxembourg authorities.

        Andrew is currently ineligible to acquire British nationality by naturalization and marriage to you, a British national: spousal acquisition of British nationality requires at least three (3) full years of main legal residence in the UK prior to filing an application for naturalization.

        There are no legislative plans to revise the current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap with regard to re-acquisition of Dutch nationality. Naturally, that could always change in a parliamentary democracy.

        What is key in Andrew’s situation is to be aware of the one-time temporary option period that was in effect between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 for re-acquisition of Dutch nationality. This is why in 2014, Andrew was unable to be issued with a Dutch passport: he had not been a Dutch national since 1 January 1995/age 37, and the one-time option period had already passed.

        In 2014, there was no Dutch nationality to apply for: Andrew would have been ineligible for any option or naturalization possibility to acquire or even re-acquire Dutch nationality in Luxembourg.

        Lastly, the ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained and lost are summarily stipulated in the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap. In the present case, not having been aware of the fact he was born a dual Dutch national or being unaware of the one-time option period of 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 for restoration of Dutch nationality by option statement are not ways in which Dutch nationality may be acquired or retained under the provisions of the current RWN.

        I hope that the above detailed explanation has answered your questions.

        Could you let us know here at The Indo Project you have received this information?

        Best regards.

  24. Hi Paul,

    I hope you are well, and thank you for lending your knowledge and expertise to help us all navigate this convoluted system.

    Here is my situation:

    My father is Dutch, has never held any other nationality. He is a permanent resident of Canada and has been for over 30 years. My mother is not Dutch.
    I was born in Canada, have lived here my entire life, and only hold a Canadian passport. I am currently 32 years old. My father has always claimed, as reflected on my birth certificate.
    I looked into my Dutch citizenship previously, but could not pursue it prior to the 10 year window due to a lack of paper trail. This was because my father had allowed his dutch passport to lapse. He unfortunately did not renew his dutch passport and documents until after the 2017 expiration.

    I am wondering what my options are now, given my situation, to apply for citizenship by birth through my father?

    Regarding the 10 year rule, Article 15 under 1C and Article 15 under 4, of the current Dutch nationality law:

    https://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0003738/2017-03-01#Hoofdstuk5

    Under Article 15 it states:
    “The first paragraph, opening words and under a, does not apply to the acquirer

    a.who was born in the country of that other nationality and has his main residence there at the time of acquisition;”

    Does that not mean that the loss of dutch citizenship due to the 10 year rule, does not apply to me because under article 15 section 2 a) I was born in Canada (my other nationality) and my main residence was in Canada at the time I acquired my dutch citizenship AKA at my birth from my Dutch father? Is this an exemption?

    Does my situation, my fathers negligence/disorganization, qualify me to apply for an exemption or an appeal on the basis of “lack of documentary evidence”?

    I am a bit confused because I am told from the Vancouver consulate that I have a right to a Dutch passport, and a certificate of Dutch Nationality, but perhaps not Citizenship due to the 10 year window. Can you explain this?

    I assume having those two documents (passport, certificate) vs citizenship would not have all the advantages and freedoms that citizenship would provide?

    Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated! I am basically after what all my options are, what appeals avenues are available to me.

    Take Care!

    • Hello Braden.

      The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap determines who is and who is not a Dutch national.

      There was no Dutch nationality for you to “claim” or “apply for.” As your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth and retained his Dutch nationality through your 18th birthday, you were born a Dutch national automatically. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1)

      Whether your father or you knew this is irrelevant: as stated, you were born a Dutch national automatically under Dutch nationality law. Place of birth or any other nationalities acquired at birth are also irrelevant.

      However, you lost your Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law on your 28th birthday in 2017.

      In 2007 you would have been age 18.

      This means that commencing on your 18th birthday in 2007, you had an exact 10-year period to be issued with a Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate (Bewijs omtrent bezit van het Nederlanderschap). Failure to do this would result in the automatic loss of your Dutch nationality at age 28 in 2017 as, since your 18th birthday and through your 28th birthday, you were residing uninterrupted (i.e., continuously) outside 1) the Kingdom of The Netherlands or 2) any other EU member state. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c

      Once one (1) of these three (3) documents is issued to you, a new 10-year period begins to run for as long as you continue to reside outside the Kingdom of The Netherlands or any other EU member state. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4)

      Had you been issued with one (1) of these three (3) documents between your 18th and 28th birthdays, you would not have lost your Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch nationality law.

      Thereafter, you would have been obligated to renew the document before 10 years elapsed since the last document was issued to you.

      The only way for you to re-acquire Dutch nationality at present would be to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose in order to reside in the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

      After at least one (1) full year of uninterrupted legal residence there, you could submit an application to have your Dutch nationality restored by option statement and retain any other nationalities you hold. RRWN (2003) Artikel 6(1)f

      The fact your father may not have renewed his Dutch passport is irrelevant both to your father or to you: your father only has Dutch nationality. Failure to renew a Dutch passport does not affect him. He cannot lose his Dutch nationality. Otherwise, he would become stateless, and this is impermissible under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap.

      Plus, your father retained his Dutch nationality through your 18th birthday. Commencing on your 18th birthday in 2007, your father’s Dutch nationality status no longer affected you: you were considered an adult.

      Lastly, you are reading the RWN incorrectly. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)a does not apply to you.

      What that article means is that it applies to a Dutch national who was born in the country whose nationality he/she did not acquire at birth, and at age 18 or older he/she naturalizes to that nationality; provided, however, he/she is still residing in that country when naturalizing (i.e., “when acquiring” or in Dutch “verkregen”).

      This is what “acquisition” means here. “Acquisition” means “naturalization,” but the translation you provided does not make that distinction.

      In this case, Dutch nationality may be retained when naturalizing to that nationality, i.e., when “acquiring” that nationality. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)a.

      Example: a Dutch national child was born in Canada, but did not acquire Canadian nationality at birth. At age 18 or older this Dutch national child (now an adult) is residing in Canada and naturalizes Canadian. In this case, this Dutch national may naturalize Canadian as an adult age 18 or older and retain Dutch nationality.

      This is not your case: you were born in Canada with Canadian nationality already and with Dutch nationality. This exception to retain Dutch nationality when naturalizing to a foreign nationality does not apply to you. There is no naturalization in your case, having been born a Canadian in the first place.

      This is how this article must be read.

      You lost your Dutch nationality for the reason I have outlined above: Artikel 15(1)c (automatic loss of Dutch nationality by long-term residence abroad and not having been issued with a new Dutch document within 10 years since the last document was issued as an adult age 18 or older).

      This provision has been in effect since 1 April 2003.

      There are currently no possibilities for you to re-acquire Dutch nationality either by option statement or by naturalization in Canada.

      There is always documentary evidence in your case: to be issued with a Dutch passport prior to age 18 or between ages 18 and 28, you would have needed to provide your Canadian birth certificate, your father’s birth certificate from the Netherlands, a copy of your father’s last Dutch passport, a copy of your mother’s Canadian documentation and a letter from the government of Canada affirming that your father was indeed a permanent resident of Canada and not a Canadian national.

      From these documents the Dutch authorities in Canada would have been able to determine quite easily that you were born a Dutch national, and accordingly, could be issued with a Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate (or any combination of them).

      At present, as you do not hold Dutch nationality (since your 28th birthday in 2017), you are unable to be issued with a Dutch passport, national identity card or a Dutch nationality certificate. These documents are only issued to Dutch nationals.

      A Dutch passport is a travel document only. It is never proof of Dutch nationality.

      Why not?

      Because Dutch nationality can be lost automatically despite having a valid Dutch passport if certain life events occur which result in automatic loss of Dutch nationality (e.g., 1) naturalizing to a foreign nationality and not having been born in that country and naturalizing to that country’s nationality at age 18 or older; or 2) not having resided in that foreign country for at least 5 uninterrupted as a minor before naturalizing to that country’s nationality at age 18 or older; or 3) not being married to or in a registered civil partnership with a national of the country whose nationality the Dutch national voluntarily acquires during said marriage or registered civil partnership). RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)a-c.

      I trust my detailed explanation has answered your questions.

      Could you please let us know here at The Indo Project that you have received this information?

      Best regards.

  25. Hello, thank you for putting this article together, it is really informative. I have some questions about my situation I wondered if you may be able to help with?

    My mother was born in Holland to two Dutch parents in 1947

    She married my English father in 1972 and took British nationality, meaning she had to give up her Dutch nationality at that time. She has also lived outside of Holland since 1972.

    I was born in 1979 and have always had British nationality

    Is there anyway I can claim Dutch nationality (keeping in mind I live in the UK)?

    I looked on the Dutch government website think it may be a possibility through the option procedure but it is somewhat unclear.

    From looking at your article it seems my Mother has missed the boat to apply for dual nationality as she did not do so between 2003 – 2013. Does this also mean I now have no chance?

    Many thanks

    • Hello Eleanor.

      Your mother was born a Dutch national. However, she naturalized British in 1972, which resulted in the automatic loss of her Dutch nationality in so doing. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(1).

      You were born in 1979. Both of your parents were British nationals on your date of birth.

      You are thus ineligible for the Latent Dutch option.

      All of the following four (4) criteria must be met in order to be eligible for the Latent Dutch option.

      1) the child was born prior to 1 January 1985; and
      2) the father was not a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
      3) the mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
      4) the child never acquired Dutch nationality by option in the past (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality).

      In your case, you do not meet criterion number 3: your mother was no longer a Dutch national on your date of birth.

      The only possibility for you to acquire Dutch nationality at present would be by naturalization, which is not possible whilst you reside in your current country of nationality: the UK. Additionally, you would need to fulfill all the other criteria in order to naturalize Dutch.

      In sum, your mother was born a Dutch national, but in naturalizing British prior to your birth, she lost her Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law.

      Your mother had the one-time possibility to have her Dutch nationality restored by option between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 when the law was revised: she acquired her husband’s nationality during marriage and prior to 1 April 2003.

      Nevertheless, even if your mother had re-acquired her Dutch nationality during this temporary option period, this would have had no effect on you: 1) you were already age 18 or older and 2) the re-acquisition of Dutch nationality did not have retroactive effect to the date Dutch nationality was lost (i.e., to your mother’s British naturalization date).

      Keep in mind: when you read “Dutch mother” on the official Dutch government website, this term means “Dutch national mother” (i.e., the mother is or was a Dutch national on the date the respective life event occurred). The term does not mean a mother who was born Dutch, but is or was no longer a Dutch national on the date the respective life event occurred. Your mother — while born Dutch — was no longer a Dutch national on your date of birth. In the formal sense of the word, the term “Dutch mother” does not apply to her (culturally, yes of course; legally, no).

      Best regards.

  26. I was born in the Netherlands in 1961 and lived there until 1965 when my family emigrated to South Africa. I’ve held a Dutch passport all my life, but have been living in the USA since 1994. My wife (we married in South Africa in 1985) became a naturalized American citizen in 2001. I maintained my Dutch citizenship. Over time she asked me to become a citizen too (rather than just a permanent resident) as she was concerned about green card renewals going from 10 to 5 years, talk of less benefits if not a citizen etc. So I became a US citizen in 2013.
    When my Dutch passport (issued in 2009) came up for renewal in 2014, I did not renew it as I was under the impression I was not allowed to. I really would like to reinstate/renew this passport if possible as I would love to be able to live in Europe without restriction. Is this possible?
    Now my son (born in 1989) would like to get Dutch citizenship … he was born in South Africa but became an American citizen at the same time as his Mom in 2001 (as a minor) . Is there a way for him to get Dutch citizenship?

    • 1. Since 1 April 2003 and going forward, under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap a Dutch national may naturalize to the foreign nationality of the spouse or registered civil partner and retain Dutch nationality; provided, however, on the foreign naturalization date he/she is not divorced or widowed or the registered civil partnership has not been dissolved. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(2)c

      2. Since 1 April 2003 and going forward, a dual adult Dutch national residing abroad must be issued with a new Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate (Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap) once every ten (10) years since the last Dutch document was issued if he/she has been residing uninterrupted outside i) the Kingdom of The Netherlands or ii) any other member state of the European Union. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c

      3. Once any one of the aforementioned three documents is issued, a new 10-year period begins to run by which time a new Dutch document must be issued for as long as the dual adult Dutch national continues to reside outside i) the Kingdom of The Netherlands or ii) any other member state of the European Union. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(4)

      4. Since 1 January 1985, a child acquires Dutch nationality automatically at birth by either the Dutch national father or mother. Any other nationalities acquired at birth are irrelevant. RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1)

      5. You naturalized U.S. during marriage to a U.S. national in 2013 (i.e., after 1 April 2003). Therefore, you have retained your Dutch nationality. However, as you have been residing in the U.S.A. continuously/uninterrupted since your U.S. naturalization date in 2013, you have until the 10-year anniversary of your U.S. naturalization date in 2023 to be issued with one of the three documents I have specifically referenced above. Then, you must continue to renew that document before another 10 years expires. Failure to do this will result in the automatic loss of your Dutch nationality in 2023.

      6. The fact your Dutch passport expired in 2014 is irrelevant. This 10-year clock only started to tick for you on your U.S. naturalization date (and not before): prior to 2013 — the year in which you naturalized U.S. — you only had Dutch nationality.

      6. Your son was born in 1989. You were a Dutch national on his date of birth. Therefore, your son was born a Dutch national. Perhaps you or he were not aware of this fact, but that does not change the situation. Never having been issued with a Dutch passport is irrelevant. There was no Dutch nationality for him to apply for: his acquisition of Dutch nationality occurred at birth by operation of Dutch nationality law.

      7. However, as your son has been residing uninterrupted in the U.S.A. (i.e., outside the Kingdom of The Netherlands or any other E.U. member state), he had until age 28 to be issued with a Dutch passport, Dutch national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate. Failure to do this by his 28th birthday in 2017 resulted in his automatic loss of Dutch nationality. 1989/born + 18 years/age of majority = 2007 + 10 additional years (to apply for a Dutch document given uninterrupted residence outside the Kingdom of The Netherlands or any other E.U. member state since attaining the age of majority) = 2017/age 28/loss of Dutch nationality.

      8. The only way for your son to re-acquire Dutch nationality would be to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (such as paid employment) to reside in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After at least one (1) full year of uninterrupted residence there under such a visa, he may apply for restoration of his Dutch nationality by option statement and retain any other nationalities he may have. RWN Artikel 6(1)f

      9. There are currently no possibilities for your son to re-acquire Dutch nationality, either by option or by naturalization, in the U.S.A. He only qualifies for restoration of Dutch nationality by option statement after at least one (1) full year of continuous residence in the Kingdom of The Netherlands and nowhere else. This is the quickest and easiest way for him to re-acquire Dutch nationality.

      10. For naturalization, your son would need to fulfill all the requirements for naturalization. This would include residence either in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any country other than the U.S.A., his current country of nationality. It is against Dutch public policy to naturalize Dutch whilst residing in one’s current country of nationality, in this case the U.S.A.

      11. In sum, if you do not renew your Dutch passport by 2023, you will lose your Dutch nationality. Your son lost his Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law on his 28th birthday in 2017. Dutch nationality could only be restored by option statement after continuous legal residence in the Kingdom of The Netherlands for at least one (1) full year.

      12. A passport is a travel document. It is not proof of nationality, because Dutch law provides for the automatic loss of Dutch nationality if certain life events occur that under Dutch law would result in automatic loss of Dutch nationality. A Dutch passport is never a safeguard that Dutch nationality is always retained. Nationality and passport are not synonyms and should not be used interchangeably. It is the nationality that gives the right to be issued with a passport (and not the other way around).

      13. One either has Dutch nationality or one does not. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained, and lost are specifically enumerated in the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap. Applying for a Dutch passport does not result in acquisition of Dutch nationality: you either have Dutch nationality in the first place to be issued with a Dutch passport or you do not (in which case a Dutch passport will not be issued).

      Regards.

      • Paul,
        Thank you so much for your detailed reply – very helpful!
        I think i started this process once before years ago but got tripped up by all sorts of requirements like having to get a recent copy of my marriage certificate from South Africa, having to get all documents not just notarized or certified but legalized … but based on your response it’s clear that this renewal should be possible and I just need to push through on all these documentation requirements.
        Thanks again!
        Regards
        Eric

  27. Hi Paul. Thank you for this very informative article. I am hoping you can help me I understand more.

    My father was born in 1934 in the Netherlands. His parents and siblings came to Canada in ~ 1950 after the war. I am not 100% sure of the date, but have always been told my father was 16 when they immigrated.

    My Oma and Opa have both passed as has my father and most of his siblings so obtaining information on their citizen and naturalization status from family is quite difficult.

    I was born to my father (unmarried) and a Canadian mother in 1967. I am acknowledged by my father. I have his surname. My parents did not marry until many years later but were together from 1962 to 2020 when my father passed.

    I do not know the year, but I remember as a teenager when my dad applied for and took his Canadian citizenship exam. Therefore be had not become a citizen of Canada before my birth.

    How do I go about finding out if my father was considered a Dutch citizen at the time of my birth? I am not sure if my grandparents or my father made any application to retain their Dutch citizenship after coming to Canada.

    I should also mention that my father was married to a Dutch woman before divorcing and ending up with my mother. I do not know if that would have affected his citizenship status.

    I would like to apply for Dutch citizenship by birth.

    I reside in Canada. Vancouver BC is the closest major city to me.

    Thank you for any direction and help you can provide.

    Shawna

    • Hello Shawna.

      You state: “I should also mention that my father was married to a Dutch woman before divorcing and ending up with my mother. I do not know if that would have affected his citizenship status.”

      This sentence is unclear. Does this mean your father was married to someone else (i.e., not your mother) when he acknowledged you? Or was your father already divorced from his first wife when he acknowledged you?

      In principle, in the past under Dutch law, a Dutch national father who was married was unable to acknowledge a child born to another woman out of wedlock. This may not have been the case under Canadian law, but it was the case under Dutch law.

      In other words, if a Dutch national father was married, and he had a child with another woman, he was unable under Dutch law to acknowledge the child born out of wedlock of a woman who was not his wife. This was considered contrary to Dutch legal order/rule of law.

      You would need to clarify your sentence/facts.

      Best regards.

      • Hi Paul. Thank you.

        My father was divorced from the other women before his relationship with my mother and my birth.

        • Hi Shawna.

          1. You state you were born in 1967 and your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth. Your parents were unmarried on your date of birth. Your father acknowledged you at birth. You thus had a legal father at birth.

          2. You state you would like “to apply for Dutch citizenship by birth.”

          3. This statement is incorrectly worded. There was no Dutch citizenship for you to apply for: you were born a Dutch national automatically, because you were born of a Dutch father and your father acknowledged you at birth. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) Artikel 1a [WNI (1892) [in force from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984]]

          4. Whether your father or you never knew you had acquired Dutch nationality at birth would not have changed this situation. The fact you never have had a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate changes nothing either: you were born with Dutch nationality.

          5. Place of birth and any other nationalities acquired at birth are also irrelevant in your acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth through your Dutch national father: You were born a dual Dutch-Canadian national. There was no Dutch nationality “to apply” for. One either has Dutch nationality or one does not.

          6. You have not been able to provide your age on the date your father naturalized Canadian, a nationality you already acquired at birth.

          7. If your father naturalized Canadian prior to 1 January 1985, you were still under age 18. In this case, you retained Dutch nationality, even if your father lost his Dutch nationality automatically by operation of Dutch law on his Canadian naturalization date.

          8. If your father naturalized Canadian between 1 January 1985 and BEFORE 18th birthday in 1985, then you lost your Dutch nationality on the date your father naturalized Canadian. RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)b.

          Therefore, it is imperative you know the exact date your father naturalized Canadian (i.e., that this naturalization did not occur between 1 January 1985 and before your 18th birthday in 1985).

          9. Since obviously your father naturalized at some point after he was already an adult (you were already a teenager and you remember his studying for his Canadian naturalization exam), if your paternal grandparents naturalized Canadian at some point in this past, this fact would be irrelevant with regard to your father.

          10. I shall assume your father naturalized Canadian either i) before 1 January 1985 or ii) after your 18th birthday in 1985 and that iii) he did not naturalize Canadian between 1 January 1985 and BEFORE your 18th birthday in 1985. In this case, the explanation below applies to you.

          11. On 1 January 1985 the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) [RWN (1985)] replaced the WNI (1892).

          12. Under the RWN (1985) Artikel 15c, any dual adult Dutch national would automatically lose Dutch nationality if cumulatively since 1 January 1985:

          a. he/she was born abroad before 1 January 1985 with another nationality; AND
          b. he/she was residing in the birth country and of current nationality at age 28, AND
          c. he/she was living continuously/uninterrupted in his/her country of birth of which he/she was a national commencing at age 18, an exact period of 10 years.

          13. If between your 18th birthday in 1985 through your 28th birthday in 1995 you were residing uninterrupted in Canada. – your country of birth and of which you are also a national – then you lost your Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law on your 28th birthday in 1995. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c

          14. Whether you were unaware or did not wish to lose Dutch nationality would not have prevented this automatic loss under the RWN (1985) Artikel 15c on your 28th birthday in 1995.

          15. As I stated, this automatic loss under the RWN (1985) would enter into effect precisely 10 years after the date the RWN entered into effect on 1 January 1985: 1 January 1995.

          16. This automatic loss of Dutch nationality for dual Dutch nationals born abroad affected tens of thousands of individuals such as yourself who, between ages 18 and 28, were residing uninterrupted in their country of birth. You would have turned 28 in 1995.

          17. This Artikel 15c was revised in 2000. It is no longer in effect.

          18. Commencing on 1 February 2001, these revisions to RWN Artikel 15 provided for the eventual restoration of Dutch nationality for certain categories of former Dutch nationals, and depending, on how the former Dutch national lost Dutch nationality previously. There were three (3) different stages that applied to certain categories of former Dutch nationals to have their (lost) Dutch nationality restored as explained in depth in the article.

          19. You were eligible to have your Dutch nationality restored by option statement under “Stage 2”: Effective date: 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 as from the facts you have stated it does not appear you had been issued with either a Dutch passport or a Dutch nationality certificate on or after 1 January 1990. I shall assume you were not issued with either of these documents on or after 1 January 1990.

          20. In this case, it was required you apply for restoration of Dutch nationality by option statement between those dates, i.e., between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005.

          21. If you had applied during this period to have your Dutch nationality restored by option statement, your lost Dutch nationality would have been restored with retroactive effect to the day Dutch nationality was lost under said Artikel 15c: in your case to your 28th birthday in 1995.

          22. Any children who were still under age 18 on your option approval date and whose names were specifically mentioned in said option statement could have acquired Dutch nationality along with you.

          23. Unfortunately, this temporary option period of 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 has passed.

          24. The quickest and easiest way for you to re-acquire Dutch nationality would be to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose in order to reside in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, such as paid employment.

          25. After one (1) year of uninterrupted residence under such a visa, you could opt to have your Dutch nationality restored via option statement and retain your current nationality. RRWN (2003) Artikel 6(1)f.

          26. Any former Dutch national has the opportunity to have Dutch nationality restored by option statement. However, this possibility is only open after at least one (1) uninterrupted year of legal residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands under a long-term visa category for a non-temporary purpose. Not all long-term visas are considered to have a non-temporary purpose.

          27. As from the facts you present you acquired Dutch nationality by birth abroad but through descent by your married Dutch national father, you are ineligible for a special Wedertoelating (Re-Entry ) visa: you were not both born (geboren) and raised (getogen) in the Netherlands.

          28. Being raised in the Netherlands is equivalent to having received at least one-half of primary education (“basisonderwijs”) in the Netherlands itself.

          29. In the Netherlands, basisonderwijs is between ages 4 and 12.

          30. This special visa is only issued automatically to former Dutch nationals irrespective of current country or residence and nationality who, indeed, were both born and raised in the Netherlands.

          31. However, this visa is not automatically issued irrespective of current country of residence and nationality to former Dutch nationals: a) born abroad; and b) raised abroad with another nationality and c) who are living in their current country of nationality.

          32. As you are living in Canada, your country of birth and of which you are a national, you are ineligible for this visa to be issued to you.

          33. Based on the facts you have presented, in your case there are no possibilities to re-acquire Dutch nationality either by option statement or by naturalization whilst residing in your country of current nationality: Canada.

          34. It is against Dutch public policy that a foreign national may naturalize Dutch if he/she is residing in his/her current country of nationality.

          35. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained or lost are clearly stipulated in both the (former) WNI and the RWN. Unfortunately, not having been aware or not having wished to lose Dutch nationality is not a way in which Dutch nationality is retained under the law. The loss is automatic and requires no formal renunciation. It occurs by operation of law (“van rechtswege”).

          36. Assuming your father did not naturalize Canadian between 1 January 1985 and before your 18th birthday in 1985), then this summary applies to you:
          i. you were born in Canada as a dual Dutch national by descent (“afstamming”) through a Dutch national father in 1967; AND
          ii. your father was a Dutch national on your date of birth in 1967; AND
          iii. if your father naturalized Canadian after you turned 18 in 1985, you retained Dutch nationality. If your father naturalized Canadian prior to 1 January 1985, you retained Dutch nationality (even if your father did not); AND
          iv. from your 18th birthday in 1985 through your 28th birthday in 1995, you were residing uninterrupted in your country of birth (Canada). You thus lost your Dutch nationality automatically on your 28th birthday in 1995 under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c; AND
          v. you were able to have your lost Dutch nationality restored via option statement between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 as you had not been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or after 1 January 1990; AND
          vi. loss of Dutch nationality under Artikel 15c affected tens of thousands of dual Dutch nationals such as yourself who were born abroad, in their country of birth and whose nationality they also acquired automatically at birth, and from age 18 through age 28, they were residing continuously/uninterrupted in their country of birth. This provision entered into effect on 1 January 1995, exactly 10 years after the Rijkswet op het Nederlandrschap entered into effect on 1 January 1985.

          37. Your situation is entirely classic. As you can see from my detailed explanation, since your 28th birthday in 1995, you have not been in possession of Dutch nationality.

          38. As you currently are not a Dutch national, no 1) Dutch passport; 2) Dutch national identity card; or 3) Dutch nationality certificate may be issued at present.

          39. There was no Dutch nationality for you to “apply” for: you were born a Dutch national automatically even if you or your father may never have known. Nevertheless, Dutch nationality law does provide for automatic loss of Dutch nationality for dual Dutch nationals, and the way in which you lost Dutch nationality was under the former RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

          40. N.B.: all of the foregoing applies to you if and only if between 1 January 1985 and before your 18th birthday in 1985, your father did NOT naturalize Canadian.

          41. As a reminder: If between 1 January 1985 and before your 18th birthday in 1985 your father did naturalize Canadian, then you lost Dutch nationality on your father’s Canadian naturalization date. RWN (1985) Artikel 16(1)b

          42. This is the reason it is important for you to know the exact date your father naturalized Canadian to be certain that between 1 January 1985 and before your 18th birthday in 1985 that your father was still a Dutch national. If he became a naturalized Canadian national between 1 January 1985 and before your 18th birthday in 1985, then you lost your Dutch nationality on your father’s Canadian naturalization date during this time period.

          Could you let us know here at The Indo Project that you have received this explanation? I believe I have answered your questions.

          Best regards.

          ***
          Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 15c, in effect from 1 January 1985 through and including 31 March 2003.

          “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.”

  28. Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for the explanation. After reading this you have shed some light on some of the issues I’ve faced in trying to obtain the Dutch citizenship. Hopefully you can help me out a bit more.

    1. My Father was a Dutch citizen, born in Aruba to Dutch parents in May of 1925.
    3. My family lives between Venezuela and Aruba throughout the 50s and 60s.
    4. My Father renounced to the Dutch citizenship to obtain the Venezuelan citizenship in 1955.
    5. I was born in April of 1958 in Venezuela. But grew up in Aruba until I was approximately 7 years old.
    6. My mother lived in Venezuela her entire life. She’s deceased.
    7. My father lived in Venezuela, Aruba, and Dominican Republic. He’s deceased.
    8. I have lived in Venezuela all of my adult life.

    1. My mother was born in Venezuela in January 1927.
    2. She was the daughter of a man that was born in Venezuela to a Dutch mother. He never obtained the Dutch nationality.
    3. She was the daughter of a woman that was born in Aruba to a Venezuelan father and a Dutch mother. We do not believe she ever had the Dutch citizenship.
    4. Both parents lived their entire life in Venezuela. We do not have enough information but we believe they were both Venezuelan citizens.

    My questions are:
    1) Can my father regain his Dutch citizenship?
    2) Can I obtain the citizenship if my father regains his citizenship?
    3) If not, would my mother be able to obtain the Dutch nationality since her parents were latent Dutch?
    4) Would she be able to pass it down to me?
    5) Would my children (1985, 1988, 1992) be able to obtain the citizenship if I obtain it?

    • Hello BJ.

      I’m pleased the article was of interest.

      1) Can my father regain his Dutch citizenship?
      Your Father naturalized to a foreign nationality. He thus automatically lost his Dutch nationality on his foreign naturalization date. WNI (1892) Artikel 7.

      If your father had resided for at least five (5) uninterrupted years in Venezuela as a minor before he naturalized Venezuelan as an adult, then between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013, he had the possibility to have his lost Dutch nationality restored via option statement and retain his Venezuelan nationality. This was a temporary 10-year option period for certain categories of former Dutch nationals to have their lost Dutch nationality restored as I clearly explained in the article: from 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013.

      If your father were still living today, he would only be able to re-acquire Dutch nationality by option statement upon uninterrupted legal residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least one (1) full year under a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose.

      There is no possibility that exists today under Dutch law to re-acquire Dutch nationality by option statement in this particular situation as a former Dutch national outside of legal residence in the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

      This option possibility is open to all former Dutch nationals under RWN Artikel 6(1)f.

      Nevertheless, his re-acquisition of Dutch nationality would have no effect on you. You were not born with Dutch nationality in the first place. See next question.

      2) Can I obtain the citizenship if my father regains his citizenship?
      No. You were not born a Dutch national. Your father was no longer a Dutch national (1955 naturalization) on your date of birth (April 1958).

      Plus, even if your father ever did re-acquire his Dutch nationality, this would have no effect on you. You are over age 18.

      You are unable to acquire Dutch nationality if your father did not have Dutch nationality himself on your date of birth. Acquisition of Dutch nationality does not skip a generation.

      3) If not, would my mother be able to obtain the Dutch nationality since her parents were latent Dutch?
      It is not possible at this stage to state with certainty that any of your mother’s parents (and their parents) were Latent Dutch.

      Question 1: “My mother was the daughter of a man that was born in Venezuela to a Dutch mother. He never obtained the Dutch nationality.”

      Comment: Correct. Your mother’s father never obtained Dutch nationality: I shall assume his father was Venezuelan.

      Please provide:
      – the year of marriage of his parents (i.e., your mother’s father’s parents/your great-grandparents). You only state your maternal grandfather had a “Dutch mother.”

      Note: It is not possible to state with certainty that his “Dutch mother” was still a Dutch national upon her marriage to her foreign (i.e., Venezuelan) husband as I shall presume her husband was Venezuelan.

      Question 2: “My mother was the daughter of a woman that was born in Aruba to a Venezuelan father and a Dutch mother. We do not believe she ever had the Dutch citizenship.”

      Comment: Correct. Your mother was never born with Dutch nationality. Neither was her mother/your grandmother: both women had Venezuelan fathers, and both were born prior to 1 January 1985. No acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1.

      Please provide:
      – the year of marriage of the Venezuelan father and “Dutch mother” who were living in Aruba when your grandmother was born (i.e., the parents of your mother’s mother).

      Note: Here again, it is not possible to assume with certainty that the “Dutch mother” was still a Dutch national upon her marriage to her foreign (i.e., Venezuelan) husband in Aruba. I shall presume her husband was Venezuelan, and she was obviously born prior to 1 January 1985.

      It is imperative to be certain that the “Dutch mothers” on your matrilineal side whom you have referenced were still Dutch nationals upon their marriages to their Venezuelan spouses. They may have assumed at the time that they were, but such is not necessarily the case.

      You should enquire what Venezuelan law stipulated at the time in question, i.e., whether a foreign woman automatically acquired Venezuelan nationality upon marriage to a Venezuelan national.

      Please see below.

      4) Would she be able to pass it down to me?
      If it is determined that your mother was born Latent Dutch, because her mother was born Latent Dutch, and such is evidenced by all official documentation, then yes.

      5) Would my children (1985, 1988, 1992) be able to obtain the citizenship if I obtain it?
      If it is determined that you were born of a Latent Dutch parent (i.e., that your mother would have been eligible for the Latent Dutch option had she not passed away), then once you acquire Dutch nationality by the Latent Dutch option, then your children, in turn, could acquire Dutch nationality (but not before you do). There is no age restriction or time limit. The Latent Dutch option is permanent.

      Nevertheless, the main issue in your case is determining the exact Dutch nationality status of your great-great grandmothers at birth and on their dates of marriage.

      And since these dates are indeed so remote (dating back to at least the 1880’s-1890’s concerning the marriages at the very least) , it would be necessary to obtain these marriage and identification documents on all these ancestors in the ascending line.

      Under Dutch law since 1 July 1893, in principle, a Dutch woman always automatically lost her Dutch nationality upon marriage to a foreigner. WNI (1892) Artikel 5.

      In cases where the Dutch national woman did not acquire the nationality of her husband through such a marriage or her husband was stateless, this marriage resulted in statelessness of the (Dutch) woman. She simply was no longer a Dutch national (and even if she was unaware).

      On 1 July 1937 the WNI (1892) was amended: with retroactive effect to 1 July 1893, the WNI (1892) henceforth provided that a Dutch national woman no longer became stateless upon marriage, unless she did not use a simple method or means to obtain the nationality of her husband, for example by option or registration.

      If her husband had no nationality, then since 1 July 1893 a Dutch national woman always remained in possession of Dutch nationality when the WNI (1892) was amended on 1 July 1937 as stated in the preceding paragraph.

      This is the reason why the exact Dutch nationality status (or absence thereof) of the woman must always be established at every generation in the ascending line on the child’s exact date of birth in order to determine eligibility for the Latent Dutch option.

      Best regards.

      • Thank you so much, Paul.
        Lot’s of info. I’ll take a look read at this and post any updates on my situation.

      • Paul,

        I have found answer to the questions you’ve asked. I’ll start with the information I have from my Grandfather.

        1) JB Guerra (Grandfather) was born on May 20th, 1892.
        2) His mother, Maduro Blidje was born on December 1st, 1854 in Bonaire to Dutch parents.
        3) His father, Guerra, was born May 25, 1860 in Venezuela to Non-Dutch parents.
        4) Maduro and Guerra were married on June 29, 1885 in Venezuela.
        5) At the time of there marriage Venezuelan law established that a non-Venezuelan woman married to a Venezuelan man would become Venezuela. But it said nothing about her original nationality. It allowed the country of the other nationality to dictate what it wanted to do with her non-Venezuelan nationality.

        Regarding my Grandmother.

        1) Carmen Mas (my Grandmother) was born on February 18th, 1892 in Aruba.
        2) Her mother (Croes Maduro) was born on September 21, 1868 in Aruba to Dutch parents.
        3) Her father (Mas Brito) was born on June 11, 1862 in Venezuela to Non-Dutch parents.
        4) Mas and Croes were married on February 29, 1891 in Aruba.
        5) At the time of there marriage Venezuelan law established that a non-Venezuelan woman married to a Venezuelan man would become Venezuela. But it said nothing about her original nationality. It allowed the country of the other nationality to dictate what it wanted to do with her non-Venezuelan nationality.

        I was able to answer these questions thanks to several family members. We have copies of most of these documents.

        Thank you very much, Paul.

        BJ Arends

        • Hello BJ.

          Thank you for the supplemental information.

          After reading these additional facts, more specific information is required.

          1. (Maternal Grandmother) Carmen Mas was born on February 18, 1892 in Aruba. In what year did Carmen Mas get married?
          2. Where did Carmen Mas get married?
          3. To whom did Carmen Mas get married (your maternal grandfather)?
          4. What was the nationality of Carmen Mas’ husband (i.e, your maternal grandfather)?
          5. What was Carmen Mas’ date of marriage?
          6. Where was Carmen Mas residing at age 21?
          7. Where was Carmen Mas residing at age 31?
          8. What are your parents’ nationalities? I note that your mother was born in Venezuela in January 1927.

          In January 1927, (Maternal grandmother) Carmen Mas would have been age 34.9.

          9. What is your mother’s (Carmen Mas’ daughter) nationality (I shall presume Venezuela only)?

          Please provide this information.

          Best regards.

  29. Hi Paul
    Thank you for taking the time to explain this. Unfortunately, it is quite complicated as you say. I have legal education, and even I have trouble keeping up with what you are trying to explain. I tried finding a similar situation to what I state below, but could not find one in the above comments, or at least one that was not very convoluted.

    1. My mother was born June 1964 in South Africa.
    2. She acquired Dutch nationality through the option procedure in 1987 when she was 23 years old(her mother was and still is a Dutch national).
    3. She was issued with a Dutch passport on 9 January 1987.
    4. She married my South African father on 9 November 1991.
    5. She received a new Dutch passport on 22 November 1991. This passport expired in November 1996, and she did not acquire a new passport after this because the consulate here told her this was not possible (she does not remember the reason they gave her).
    6. Prior to this passport expiring in November 1996, I was born to her in 1995.
    7. After this passport expired, my sister was born to her in 1998.

    From what you have written, I gather that she lost her Dutch citizenship in June 1992, which would have been 10 years of uninterrupted stay outside the Netherlands since she reached the age of majority (18 years). Failing that, she would have lost it in June 1995 if the age of majority was 21, despite the passport still being valid until 1996.

    My thought process derails trying to juggle the dates in my head.

    My questions thus are:
    1. When did my mother lose her Dutch Citizenship?
    2. Can she reacquire it?
    3. Does the date of my birth have any effect on the granting of Dutch citizenship to myself?
    4. Does the date of my sister’s birth affect the granting of Dutch citizenship to her?

    • FROM PAUL MUNSELL

      Hello Jonathan

      Some of the information is incomplete.

      1. What is your full date of birth?

      2. What was your mother’s exact option approval date in 1987? You have only stated her Dutch passport was issued in 1987, but that does not indicate the option approval date.

      3. You mention your mother’s last Dutch passport expired in November 1996. Does this mean your mother tried to renew this Dutch passport before its expiration date in November 1996?

      I shall assume that your mother has always resided uninterrupted in South Africa since her option approval date.

      I need this information to fully answer your questions.

      Incidentally, a passport is a travel document only. It is not evidence of nationality. A passport merely evidences that the individual was in possession of Dutch nationality on the passport issuance date.

      Dutch nationality can be lost despite having a valid Dutch passport. If certain life events occur that result in automatic loss of Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law, Dutch nationality is lost at that very moment/instantaneously.

      In this case, the valid Dutch passport is of no consequence. It becomes immediately invalid/loss of Dutch nationality. It is the nationality that gives the right to be issued with a passport (and not the other way around). Nationality and passport are not synonyms.

      Best regards.

      • Hi Priscilla and apologies for that missing info. Thanks for the quick response.

        1. My date of birth was 3 September 1995, and my sister 19 March 1998.
        2. I believe her option approval date was 9 January 1987 (same as her first passport), but I may be wrong. The closest thing I can find to it with a date is a document headed “Kennisgeving op grond van de Rijkswet op het Nederlandschap”.
        3. Her first passport was issued on 9 January 1987, and expired 9 January 1992.
        4. Her second passport was issued 22 November 1991, and expired 22 November 1996.
        4. She cannot remember precisely, but she is pretty sure it had yet to expire when she tried to apply for a new passport (I keep wanting to say ‘renew’, but I know you can’t do this with passports).
        5. She was born in South Africa on 26 June 1964, and has never left the country, ever. As such, she has been South African since birth. She acquired no other nationality in that time, other than Dutch through the initial option procedure.

        Thanks

        • Hello Jonathan.

          1. Since 1 January 1985, a child acquires Dutch nationality automatically at birth if either the father or the mother is a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth. Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (hereinafter the “RWN (1985)” Artikel 3(1)).

          2. Since 1 January 1985, the RWN (1985) stipulates that a minor-aged child retains Dutch nationality if at least one parent retains Dutch nationality through the child’s attaining age 18. Artikel 16(2)a.

          3. As clearly stated in the article, pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c (in effect 1 January 1985 through and including 31 March 2003), any dual adult Dutch national would automatically lose Dutch nationality if cumulatively:

          a. If he/she was living continuously/uninterrupted in his/her country of birth for 10 years and of which he/she was a national.

          4. This provision for automatic loss of Dutch nationality would enter into effect exact ten (10) years after the RWN (1985) 1 January 1985 implementation date, so: on 1 January 1995.

          5. Your mother was born on 26 June 1964. You were born on 3 September 1995. Your sister was born on 19 March 1998.

          6. Your mother was not born a Dutch national in June 1964. Her father was not a Dutch national on her date of birth. Only her mother/your maternal grandmother was. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a.

          7. When the RWN (1985) was implemented on 1 January 1985, the Dutch legislator gave an exact 3-year period (a “transitional arrangement” (“overgangsbepaling”)) for children born prior to 1 January 1985 and who had not yet attained the age of 21 on 1 January 1985 to acquire Dutch nationality by option if all of the following conditions were met cumulatively [RWN (1985) Artikel 27, sub-paragraph 2]:

          – The child was born prior to 1 January 1985 (i.e., the child was born on 1 January 1964 or later; the child was thus under age 21 on 1 January 1985); and
          – Only the mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
          – On the option approval date, the mother still was a Dutch national (or she was still a Dutch national if she had already died); and
          – The father was not a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
          – The child was not married (or had not been married) (because marriage automatically results in reaching the age of majority); and
          – The option was submitted between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 December 1987 (i.e., an exact period of 3 years). The age limit of 21 for the option was established since age 21 was still the age of majority in the Netherlands until 1 January 1988.

          8. If all of these conditions were met cumulatively, the child could acquire Dutch nationality by option procedure and retain any other nationalities, but no later than 31 January 1987.

          9. Your mother applied for this option and acquired Dutch nationality. You stated her first Dutch passport was issued on 9 January 1987. Nevertheless, she certainly had acquired Dutch nationality prior to the date this passport was issued.

          10. On 1 January 1985, your mother was 20.5 years old. You stated she has only ever lived in South Africa, her country of birth and of which she was also a national.

          11. Your mother was 30.5 years old on 1 January 1995, the day Artikel 15c would enter into effect. Your mother lost her Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 (and not in 1992 as you had supposed). Whether your mother was unaware or did not wish to lose Dutch nationality would not have prevented this automatic loss.

          12. You were born on 3 September 1995, 9 months thereafter. You were not born a Dutch national as you are unable to acquire a nationality (Dutch) that your mother no longer had herself since 1 January 1995.

          13. Your sister born on 19 March 1998 also was not born a Dutch national for the same reason as you.

          14. Your mother’s last Dutch passport, issued on 22 November 1991 would have been valid for 5 years only. Its expiry would have been 22 November 1996.

          15. Despite the fact your mother retained her Dutch nationality in 1991 (age 27), she was a Dutch national through and including 31 December 1994. Effective 1 January 1995, she no longer was a Dutch national, having lived uninterrupted in her country of birth for 10 years as an adult age 18 or older.

          16. Let me be very clear on this point (because people often state that if they had renewed their Dutch passport or they had a valid Dutch passport at that time that this would have prevented their loss of Dutch nationality). Their statement is incorrect.

          17. The (former) Artikel 15c applied to any dual adult Dutch national residing in his/her country of birth and of which he/she was a national for a period of ten (10) uninterrupted years. The effective date of this provision was: 1 January 1995 as stated. In this case a valid Dutch passport (such as your mother had between 1991 and 1996) would not have prevented this automatic loss.

          18. Hence, even if your mother’s Dutch passport was still valid on 1 January 1995, it ceased to be valid on that date (as she lost Dutch nationality effective 1 January 1995). This is why in 1996 when she tried to re-apply for a new Dutch passport, the passport application was denied. Her Dutch passport still theoretically valid on 1 January 1995 would have been no “safeguard” to retaining Dutch nationality at the time for the reason I have explained in detail: RWN (1985) Artikel 15c. Despite its validity on 1 January 1995, the Dutch passport became immediately invalid.

          19. This automatic loss of Dutch nationality for dual adult Dutch nationals born abroad and who were residing in their country of birth for ten (10) consecutive years (but not before 1 January 1995!) affected tens of thousands of individuals such as your mother, and whether or not they would have had a valid Dutch passport on 1 January 1995 or thereafter.

          20. The fact your mother did not formally renounce her Dutch nationality (and, therefore, that it was never her intention to lose it) would be immaterial. The loss of Dutch nationality occurred by operation of Dutch nationality law effective 1 January 1995 for your mother.

          21. This RWN (1985) Artikel 15c was revised by the “Rijkswet van 21 december 2000 tot wijziging van de Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap met betrekking tot de verkrijging, de verlening en het verlies van het Nederlanderschap” (the RRWN of 21 December 2000).

          22. Commencing on 1 February 2001, these revisions provided for the eventual restoration of Dutch nationality for certain categories of former Dutch nationals, and depending, on how the former Dutch national lost Dutch nationality previously.

          23. This transitional arrangement was stipulated in Article V. There were three (3) different stages that applied to certain categories of former Dutch nationals: Stages 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

          24. Your mother’s situation fell under “Stage 1.” Her last Dutch passport was issued on 22 November 1991.

          25. As your mother had been issued with a Dutch passport on or after 1 January 1990, as per 1 February 2001, your mother’s Dutch nationality, lost on 1 January 1995, was “in an instant” considered never to have been lost. [Article V]

          26. You and your sister acquired Dutch nationality “in an instant” from your date of birth given your mother’s nationality – effective 1 February 2001 – was considered never to have been lost when the law was revised. See Point 22 above.

          27. Then, between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013, as your mother has always been residing in South Africa, she was obligated to be issued with a new Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate (Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap) by 31 March 2013 as she was residing continuously since 1 April 2003 outside i) the Kingdom of the Netherlands; or 2) any other EU member state.

          28. Failure to be issued with one of these three (3) documents by 31 March 2013 resulted in your mother’s automatic loss of Dutch nationality again effective 1 April 2013 under RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c.

          29. On 1 April 2013, you and your sister were both still under age 18. As your mother lost her Dutch nationality on 1 April 2013 under RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c, you and your sister lost Dutch nationality the day your mother did under RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2)a.

          30. As explained, since 1 January 1985, a minor-aged child follows the Dutch nationality status of the Dutch national parent and loses Dutch nationality if neither parent holds Dutch nationality and the child has another nationality.

          31. Therefore, since 1 April 2013, neither your mother, nor you, nor your sister are in possession of Dutch nationality.

          32. The quickest and easiest way for any of you to re-acquire Dutch nationality is to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose in order to reside in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (such as paid employment).

          33. After one (1) year of uninterrupted residence under such a visa, all of you could opt to have your Dutch nationality restored via option statement and retain your current nationality.

          34. Any former Dutch national has the opportunity to have Dutch nationality restored by option statement. However, this possibility is only open after at least one (1) uninterrupted year of legal residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands under a long-term visa category for a non-temporary purpose. Not all long-term visa categories are considered to have a non-temporary purpose. RRWN (2003) Artikel 6(1)f.

          35. All of you acquired Dutch nationality by birth abroad but through descent (for your mother by her Dutch national mother during the temporary option period (but not retroactive to her date of birth); for you and your sister, through your Dutch national mother with retroactive effect to your dates of birth effective 1 February 2001 and despite the fact initially, you and your sister were not born Dutch nationals in theory).

          36. None of you is ineligible for the special Wedertoelating (Re-Entry ) visa: all of you were neither born (geboren), nor raised (getogen) in the Netherlands.

          37. Being raised in the Netherlands is equivalent to having received at least one-half of primary education (“basisonderwijs”) in the Netherlands itself.

          38. In the Netherlands, basisonderwijs is between ages 4 and 12.

          39. This special visa is only issued automatically to former Dutch nationals irrespective of current country or residence and nationality who, indeed, were both born and raised in the Netherlands.

          40. However, this visa is not automatically issued irrespective of current country of residence and nationality to former Dutch nationals: a) born abroad; and b) raised abroad with another nationality and who are living in their current country of nationality.

          41. Let me be very clear on another point: the Netherlands does not recognize “ancestry” citizenship or “ancestry” visas by “descent.” Many individuals born abroad use the word “descent” and believe that they are eligible for Dutch nationality because they perhaps had a grandparent or more distant relative who was a Dutch national.

          42. This is not so. Dutch nationality is almost always only acquired depending on the Dutch nationality status of the parent, and depending on whether the child was born prior to 1 January 1985 (in almost all cases through the Dutch national father only) or on or after 1 January 1985 (through either the Dutch national father or mother).

          43. As you are living in South Africa, your country of birth and of which you are a national, none of you is able to have this visa issued to you. You would need to qualify for some other type of long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose in order to reside legally in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

          44. Based on the facts you have presented, there are no possibilities to re-acquire Dutch nationality either by option statement or by naturalization whilst residing in your country of current nationality: South Africa.

          45. It is against Dutch public policy that a foreign national may naturalize Dutch if he/she is residing in his/her current country of nationality. Plus, there is no option in effect which would permit any of you to re-acquire Dutch nationality abroad (either in South Africa or in any other third country outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands).

          46. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained or lost are clearly stipulated in both the (former) WNI and the RWN. Unfortunately, not having been aware or not having wished to lose Dutch nationality is not a way in which Dutch nationality is retained under the law. The loss is automatic and requires no formal renunciation. It occurs by operation of law (“van rechtswege”).

          47. Therefore, please be mindful that in your mother’s case, she lost Dutch nationality under the (former) restrictive RWN (1985) Artikel 15c as explained, no valid Dutch passport on that date would have prevented that loss, and no new Dutch passport would have been issued to your mother after that date (which is why she was told in 1996 that she lost Dutch nationality. It is my supposition the individual did not explain the situation to your mother correctly).

          48. In sum:
          i. Your mother was born in South Africa from a Dutch national mother and foreign father (South African).
          ii. Under the 1 January – 31 December 1987 transitional arrangement, your mother acquired Dutch nationality by option statement.
          iii. Your mother was age 20.5 in 1985; age 28 in 1992; age 30.5 on 1 January 1995. Since 1 January 1985, your mother had been residing uninterrupted in her country of birth and of which she was also a national (South Africa).
          iv. She retained her Dutch nationality until Artikel 15c entered into effect: 1 January 1995 (age 30.5).
          v. Your mother was residing uninterrupted in her country of birth (South Africa) for at least ten (10) uninterrupted years by 1 January 1995.
          vi. Even if your mother’s Dutch passport was still valid on 1 January 1995, this did not change her situation (automatic loss of Dutch nationality effective 1 January 1995).
          vii. Since your mother was no longer a Dutch national effective 1 January 1995, neither you (born in September 1995), nor your sister (born in March 1998) were born Dutch nationals.
          viii. As per 1 February 2001, “in an instant” your mother’s Dutch nationality was deemed never to have been lost as she had been issued with a Dutch passport on or after 1 January 1990.
          ix. As her Dutch nationality was considered never to have been lost, you and your sister were then deemed to have been born Dutch nationals.
          x. Your mother lost Dutch nationality again as she was residing since 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 (an exact 10-year period!) outside 1. The Kingdom of the Netherlands or 2. Any other EU member state, and your mother had not been issued with either a new Dutch passport, national identity card or Dutch nationality certificate during that 10-year time period, resulting in loss of Dutch nationality again effective 1 April 2013. [RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c].
          xi. Since 1 April 2013 and through today, your mother, you and your sister have not been in possession of Dutch nationality.

          49. As you currently are not a Dutch national, no 1) Dutch passport; 2) Dutch national identity card; or 3) Dutch nationality certificate may be issued to your mother, you or your sister, despite your obvious Dutch heritage in the ascending line on your maternal side.

          50. Since 9 March 2014 only, all Dutch passports and national identity cards are valid for ten (10) years from date of issue for adults age 18 and over. Prior to 9 March 2014, they were only valid for five (5) years from date of issue. This is why your mother’s last Dutch passport issued on 22 November 1991 expired on 22 November 1996.

          ***
          Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) Artikel 15c, in effect from 1 January 1985 through and including 31 March 2003.

          “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.”

          Given this very detailed answer, I believe I have answered all your questions.

          Best regards.

  30. Hello Erna.

    Your post is still not specific.

    1. Were you acknowledged by your (unmarried) South African father at birth?

    2. Or were you acknowledged by your (unmarried) South African father at some time after your birth?

    3. Did your parents ever marry at any time after your birth?

    4. Is your (unmarried) father’s name indicated on your South African birth certificate?

    You must respond clearly and accurately to these four (4) specific questions. Otherwise, I cannot comment any further.

    5. In order to qualify for the Latent Dutch option, it must be established by documentary evidence that your father was not a Dutch national on your date of birth. Evidence of that requirement applies to any Latent Dutch applicant, whether the parents were unmarried or married. It is unsatisfactory for you only to assert to the Dutch authorities that your father was not a Dutch national, but South African. It is required to prove this with official documentary proof issued by the competent authority. Absent such official documentary proof, the option will not be approved.

    6. You will find no forms to fill out online for the Latent Dutch option (or any option for that matter). The official corresponding forms to any of the options for acquiring Dutch nationality are filled out by the Dutch authorities, not by the optee. It is the optee’s responsibility to obtain all required documents and not to fill out the corresponding forms. It is the Dutch authorities who will analyze the documents to make certain they substantiate the claim to opt for Dutch nationality by any of the possible options that currently exist.

    Please let me have your answers to my VERY SPECIFIC questions above.

    Best regards.

    • Hi Paul
      No my father did not acknowledge me as I was put up for adoption by my dutch mother
      I was adopted at six weeks old
      My biological parents did marry but only after I was already adopted so no my biological father never acknowledged me at any stage
      My fathers name is not mentioned on my birth certificate

      Thank you for your clear answers

      • Hi Paul
        Dutch nationality pursuant to WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5) —
        Just another question has my mother not also lost her dutch nationality already when I was born, she was born in 1942 and started living
        in south africa since 1953, so she was 23 when I was born 1965.
        Kind Regards
        Erna

        • Hi Paul
          Dutch nationality pursuant to WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5) —
          Just another question has my mother not also lost her dutch nationality already when I was born, she was born in 1942 and started living
          in south africa since 1953, so she was 23 when I was born 1965.
          and did i not also lose my eligitabilty do obtain dutch citizenship
          Kind regards
          Erna

        • Hi Erna.

          PERTAINING TO YOUR MOTHER
          1. Your mother was born a Dutch national. She acquired her Dutch nationality, because her father was a married Dutch national on her date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a. Her birth in the Netherlands in 1942 is irrelevant in this acquisition.

          2. Your mother did not lose her Dutch nationality, because she did not make a mandatory declaration to the Dutch authorities by age 31 (i.e., within 10 years after she turned 21) that she wished to retain her Dutch nationality.

          3. This Artikel 7(5) of the WNI (1892) only pertained to DUAL adult Dutch nationals born abroad with a second nationality.

          4. Was your mother born abroad with a second nationality? No. She was born in the Netherlands with Dutch nationality only.

          5. Artikel 7(5) did not apply to her either in 1963 when she turned 21 (age of majority in the Netherlands at that time) or in 1973 at age 31. Your mother simply remained a Dutch national.

          6. Therefore, your mother retained her Dutch nationality until she acquired South African nationality voluntarily in 2002. The loss of Dutch nationality occurred by operation of Dutch law on her South African naturalization date in 2002. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a.

          7. You have not clarified if your biological parents were married in 2002 when your (biological) Dutch national mother naturalized.

          8. In any event, when your Dutch national (biological) mother naturalized voluntarily in South Africa in 2002, she automatically lost her Dutch nationality. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a. No formal renunciation was required.

          9. If your biological parents were married in 2002 when your mother naturalized South African (the nationality of her South African spouse/your biological father) during marriage, between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013, your (biological) mother could have her lost Dutch nationality restored by option statement made to the Dutch authorities and retain her South African nationality.

          10. If your biological parents were unmarried when your mother became a South African national by voluntary naturalization in 2002 (i.e., if your biological father was deceased), during the same period (1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013), your mother had the opportunity to have her lost Dutch nationality restored by option statement also, because she had clearly resided for at least five (5) uninterrupted years as a minor (under age 21) in South Africa before she acquired South African nationality as an adult (in 2002).

          11. In 1953, your mother was 11. Your mother turned 21 in 1963. In total, your mother resided for ten (10) uninterrupted years as a minor in South Africa, making her eligible for this one-time option possibility.

          PERTAINING TO YOUR SITUATION

          12. You state your (biological) parents were unmarried on your date of birth. Given your birth in South Africa, you acquired South African nationality automatically (iure soli).

          13. Your (biological) mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth. Your (biological) father was a South African. He is neither indicated on your birth certificate, nor did your (biological) father ever acknowledge you. (Even if your father’s name was mentioned on your birth certificate, this still would not necessarily be regarded as acknowledgement by your biological father under Dutch law at the time.)

          14. An illegitimate (onwettig), unacknowledged (niet-erkend) child is born a Dutch national automatically if the (unmarried) mother is a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1c (in effect from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984).

          15. Therefore, you were born a Dutch national pursuant to said WNI (1892) Artikel 1c. You are not Latent Dutch.

          16. At six weeks, you were adopted by (I shall presume) a South African couple.

          17. Had your (unmarried, biological) father legitimated (gewettigd) or acknowledged (erkennd) you at some time after your birth before you turned age 21, you would not have lost Dutch nationality either. You and your (unmarried, biological) father were both South African. You would have acquired no foreign nationality if your (unmarried, biological) father had ever acknowledged or legitimated you. Naturally, your biological father could not legitimate you (you had been adopted).

          18. But your father neither acknowledged you, nor legitimated you at any time, nor is his name on your birth certificate. As stated, you thus acquired Dutch nationality at birth through your Dutch national mother (WNI (1892) Artikel 1c; Points 13-14 above).

          19. Your adoption by a South African couple had no effect on your Dutch nationality either: you and your adoptive parents all had the same nationality: South African.

          20. Additionally, your adoptive parents were not “foreigners”: they were South African and had the same nationality as you: South African (a nationality you acquired at birth by virtue of your birth in South Africa (iure soli)).

          21. In the hypothetical your adoption would have been grounds for loss of Dutch nationality, the fact you were born in South Africa with South Africa nationality (iure soli) resulted in your retention of Dutch nationality anyway. Your adoption in South Africa did not result in your acquisition of any nationality you already did not possess. WNI (1892) Artikel 2ter, sub-paragraph 2.

          22. This jurisprudence has been confirmed by the Hoge Raad (Dutch Supreme Court) in several decisions in 1948 and 1996.

          23. Therefore, you simply remained a Dutch national after your adoption.

          24. However, you lost your Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law on 1 January 1995.

          25. As explained in the article, Artikel 15c of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (implementation date: 1 January 1985) stipulated that a dual adult Dutch national who was residing uninterrupted between age 18 and 28 in his/her country of birth, would automatically lose Dutch nationality at age 28, but no earlier than 1 January 1995.

          26. This provision would enter into effect on 1 January 1995, exactly 10 years after the 1 January 1985 RWN (1985) implementation date.

          27. You turned 28 in 1993. Under Artikel 15c, you thus automatically lost your Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 (age 29/30) pursuant to this (former) Artikel 15c (no longer in effect).

          28. Since you were born a Dutch national in 1965 under WNI (1892) Artikel 1c, you are ineligible for the Latent Dutch option.

          29. A Latent Dutchman is a person who was never born with Dutch nationality. If the individual was, there would be no need for the Latent Dutch option in the first place.

          30. The requirements for the Latent Dutch option are the following. All four (4) requirements must be met:
          a. The individual was born prior to 1 January 1985 without Dutch nationality; and
          b. The mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
          c. The father was a non-Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
          d. The child never acquired Dutch nationality by any other option period in the past (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality).

          31. As you were born with Dutch nationality, the Latent Dutch option does not apply to you. As explained, you were born a Dutch national automatically: i) Your (biological) parents were unmarried, ii) your (biological) mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth and iii) your (biological) father never acknowledged you (nor is he stated on your birth certificate). Under Dutch law, you would have acquired Dutch nationality automatically at birth in this case (WNI (1892) Artikel 1c).

          32. A child born out of wedlock from a Dutch national mother and whose father was unknown or who did not acknowledge or legitimate the child automatically acquired Dutch nationality at birth. This is one of the only instances prior to 1 January 1985 where a child acquired Dutch nationality at birth through the Dutch national mother. This WNI (1892) Artikel 1c applies to you.

          33. As explained under Point 27 above, you lost your Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 (RWN (1985) Artikel 15c (no longer in effect since 1 April 2003)).

          34. From the facts you have presented, it is also clear that from 1 January 1990 through 1 January 1995, you were not issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate.

          35. From 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005, you had the opportunity to have your Dutch nationality restored by option statement. Your Dutch nationality would have been restored with retroactive effect to its date of loss under the (former) Artikel 15c: 1 January 1995.

          36. Your son was born in 2000. You were no longer a Dutch national on his date of birth. If your son’s name was specifically mentioned in your option statement (your son was between the ages of 3 and 5 between 2003-2005, so still a minor), he would have acquired Dutch nationality when your Dutch nationality was restored.

          37. Your son is ineligible for the Latent Dutch option. It is not possible to acquire Dutch nationality if the parent is not Latent Dutch who fulfills the requirements for the Latent Dutch option himself/herself.

          38. The Netherlands does not recognize “ancestry” citizenship or “ancestry” visas through a Dutch national grandparent, for example.

          39. There are currently no possibilities for you to regain Dutch nationality by option statement or by naturalization as a former Dutch national whilst residing in South Africa.

          40. The quickest and easiest way for you to regain Dutch nationality would be to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (such as paid employment) in order to reside in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

          41. After at least one (1) full/uninterrupted year of residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, you may submit an option statement to have your Dutch nationality restored (but without retroactive effect). RRWN (2003) Artikel 6(1)f

          42. However, your re-acquisition of Dutch nationality in this manner would have no effect on your son: he is already over age 18.

          43. The only way for your son to acquire Dutch nationality would be by naturalization (not possible whilst residing in South Africa).

          I hope the above detailed explanation helps clarify your situation.

          Best regards.

          • Hi Paul
            Thanks so much for your answer, can I just say that in 2013 I did the Assessment through the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria and received a letter from them stating the following.

            Volgens uw opgave voldoet u aan bovenstaande voorwaarden.

            They quoted the Rijkswet of 1 Oktober 2010

            I have read your answer and it does make sense that my dutch mother lost her citizenship, just do not understand how they can then tell me that I do qualify for Dutch citizenship.

            Kind Regards
            Erna

          • Hello Erna.

            Was it disclosed in the facts for the assessment you submitted that your parents were unmarried, your (biological) father did not acknowledge you and that later you were adopted by (adoptive) parents with the same (other) nationality as you (South African)?

            Best regards.

          • Hello Erna.

            I have re-checked your situation. You are eligible for the Latent Dutch option, despite your adoption and the absence of a legal father at birth.

            Nevertheless, as already explained, you will be required to submit your biological father’s birth certificate if you apply for the Latent Dutch option pursuant to RWN Artikel6 (1)i. It is required that the identity of both parents on the child’s date of birth be confirmed by official documentation since it must be established your biological father was not a Dutch national on your date of birth. For the Latent Dutch option one of the requirements is that the father was not a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth and evidenced by official documentation.

            If your Latent Dutch option is eventually approved, then in turn your son may opt under the Latent Dutch option. RWN Artikel 6(1)k. It is necessary you obtain Dutch nationality through the Latent Dutch option first.

            Best regards.

  31. Hi Paul
    My grandparents emigrated to South Africa in 1953, my mother came with them and stayed a dutch national until 2002 when she naturilized to become a south african citizen. My mother was single and unmarried when I was born in 1965, my father was not dutch but south african . I have never applied for dutch citizenship under any option. I think and please help me here that I can qualify under the latent dutch option. Why is it nescessary to provide evidence of my father when my mother was unmarried at my birth. I also cannot find the application documents under the latent dutch option, if you can help please. If i do require will my son born in south africa 2000 also be able to aquire dutch citizenship under the option procedure.
    Kind regards
    Erna Muller

  32. Dear Paul,

    On behalf of all of us at The Indo Project, please accept our gracious thanks for answering all the inquiries with such skill and knowledge! It is amazing the number of people you have helped in clarifying a bedazzling array of issues relating to their Dutch nationality. We are grateful for your partnership with The Indo Project and consider you a valuable part of our Team.

    The Indo Project Team

  33. Hello Agustín.

    1. You state your grandmother was born in Chile in 1939. She did not acquire Chilean nationality at birth in that country. She was born with Dutch nationality only by virtue her father was a Dutch national on her date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a.

    2. The nationality law of a number of countries did not grant nationality to the woman with whom a national of that country married (prior to 1 March 1964): Chile is one of these countries. Your grandmother, therefore, retained her Dutch nationality after the marriage to her Chilean husband pursuant to WNI (1892) Artikel 5 in order to avoid statelessness. Please be aware that statelessness could result in decades past even if this concept is now basically prohibited under international law for the most part.

    3. Your father was not born Dutch at all. The fact his mother/your grandmother lost her Dutch nationality after he was born had no effect on your father: he never had Dutch nationality to begin with.

    4. The automatic loss of Dutch nationality for a dual Dutch national residing outside the Kingdom by not having made a mandatory declaration to the Dutch within 10 years after turning the age of majority (which was 21 at the time under Dutch law, which means the “cut off” date was age 31) had no effect on your grandmother. Was your grandmother a dual Chilean national on her 31st birthday? No, she was not from the facts you have presented. She only ever was a Dutch national.

    5. Your grandmother voluntarily naturalized Chilean at a much later date after your father’s birth in 1969.

    6. How important is the fact that a Dutch national had to make this mandatory declaration? I don’t understand your comment. If Dutch law stipulated that this mandatory declaration had to be made by age 31 if a dual Dutch national was residing abroad in the birth country with that country’s nationality, then Dutch law is clear. There are no exceptions.

    7. Your father was: i) born prior to 1 January 1985; and ii) his father’s nationality was known; and iii) his mother was still a Dutch national on his date of birth. Therefore, your father never acquired Dutch nationality through his mother/your grandmother. It was not possible at the time under Dutch law in your father’s situation. Therefore, the provisions for automatic loss of Dutch nationality by age 31 for failure to make a mandatory declaration under the WNI (1892) or by long-term residence abroad under RWN (1985) Artikel 15c had no effect on your grandmother. Those articles do not apply to your grandmother and are out of scope. The point is mute.

    8. What is key is that your grandmother/your father’s mother was still at Dutch national on your father’s date of birth in 1969. That she eventually lost her Dutch nationality after your father’s birth is irrelevant. It is not possible your father lose something he never had in the first place (in this case: Dutch nationality). Your grandmother’s subsequent loss of Dutch nationality by voluntary foreign naturalization is irrelevant to your father’s legal situation under Dutch law. As I have clearly stated, his mother/your grandmother is required to have been a Dutch national on your father’s date of birth. That’s all.

    9. You will not receive any information from the Dutch authorities that you wish to receive documented proof of the real date your grandmother lost her Dutch nationality. Dutch law is clear. I have explained the situation and timeline to you and cited the relevant legal provisions. Your grandmother automatically lost her Dutch nationality on her Chilean naturalization date in 1992. No formal renunciation of her Dutch nationality was required. The automatic loss of Dutch nationality occurred by operation of Dutch law on her Chilean naturalization date (not sooner, not later; but on that very Chilean naturalization day), which we call “van rechtswege” in Dutch. RWN (1985) Artikel 15a.

    10. Nevertheless, your grandmother was still a Dutch national on your father’s date of birth in 1969, not having voluntarily acquired Chilean nationality until after your father’s birth: in 1992 from the facts you have presented.

    11. The Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap entered into effect on 1 January 1985. The WNI (1892) ceased to have effect on that date. Under the version of the RWN (1985) that was in effect in 1992, your grandmother lost her Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law on her Chilean naturalization date, as I have clearly explained under point 9 hereabove [RWN (1985) Artikel 15a: voluntary acquisition of a foreign nationality].

    12. Disregard your notion your grandmother became stateless between 1980 and 1991. It is simply not true. You are confusing the issue. The automatic loss of Dutch nationality pursuant to WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5) — long-term residence abroad and failure to notify the Dutch authorities the individual wished to retain Dutch nationality — only affected: 1) a foreigner, born abroad, with Dutch nationality as well in addition to the individual’s other nationality by virtue of birth in that other country; and who 2) did not make a mandatory declaration to the Dutch authorities he/she wished to retain Dutch nationality within 10 years after turning age 21 (the age of majority at the time), which would make the “cut-off” date in which to make the mandatory declaration: age 31. I have explained this already under Point 4 above.

    13. Did this automatic loss of Dutch nationality for failure to make the mandatory declaration by age 31, and subsequently, every 10 years thereafter affect your grandmother? No, it did not. Why not? Your grandmother was not born in Chile with both Dutch and Chilean nationality. Your grandmother was born in Chile of a Dutch national father. She only was born with Dutch nationality. Your grandmother did not acquire Chilean nationality by virtue of being born in Chile. Your grandmother acquired Chilean nationality during her marriage to her Chilean national husband at a later date: 1992 (when the RWN (1985) was in effect, not the WNI (1892)!).

    14. Your father is eligible for the Latent Dutch option; provided, however, he is able to obtain recently-issued official copies of all the required documents. After he acquires Dutch nationality by the Latent Dutch option (if he is still alive), then you may apply for the Latent Dutch option, in turn.

    15. If your father is no longer alive, you may still apply for the Latent Dutch option, but will have additional documents to submit with regard to your father’s eligibility.

    16. Nevertheless, neither your father, nor you were born with Dutch nationality. If the Latent Dutch option is approved, your father will only acquire Dutch nationality on the option approval date and after he attends the mandatory ceremony. The same applies to you.

    17. The option will not have retroactive effect to his date of birth in 1969. The same will apply to you. The law only goes forward in time. This means that Dutch law cannot undue a situation that existed under Dutch law prior to 1 January 1985, namely, that a Dutch national mother was unable to transmit her Dutch nationality to her child if the father’s nationality was known.

    18. If the converse were true, then there would be no need for the Latent Dutch option at all, in effect since 1 October 2010 only and through today.

    I believe I have answered your questions.

    Best regards,

    Paul MUNSELL

    • Paul,

      Thank you very much for your response. I really appreciate your dedication and precision. The situation has become much clearer for me now. I am very pleased to have contacted you and to be able to acquire Dutch citizenship.

      Thank you once again.

      Best regards.

  34. Hi Paul, this article is so complete and much easier to understand than the information handled by Dutch authorities. I thank you for this.

    I sent a question by contact form and was told to post here, but then I read the article again and I got the answer. However, and just to be sure I have to ask for the difference between WNI and RWN on the matter of losing Dutch citizenship after residing 10 years abroad in the following case:
    My Dutch grandmother (born 1939 in Chile, yet not Chilean) resided in the NL until 1960, when she was deregistered from there in possession of Dutch citizenship. In that same year and back in Chile she married my Chilean grandfather (she did not acquire Chilean citizenship through this marriage). In 1969 my father is born. After my father’s birth and according to his memories (my grandmother died in 2004), my grandmother lost Dutch citizenship (I guess it happened by residing outside the Kingdom for more than 10 years and not notifying nor showing will to remain Dutch, according to WNI) probably between 1980 and 1991, she became stateless. Because of this ‘being stateless’ situation, my grandmother finally acquires Chilean citizenship by naturalization in 1992. I am currently contacting different Dutch institutions in order to have documented proof that she lost Dutch citizenship and the real date and reason why this could have happened, I thought it happened according to WNI, but then I read that goes against International Laws, and so I am now a little confused.

    I would really appreciate your help.

    • I also need to know how important it is that my grandmother remained Dutch until my father became 18 years old, or is the fact that she was Dutch at the time of his birth enough for him to be considered a latent Dutch and therefore apply through the option procedure?

      Kind regards.

      • Paul, thank you very much for your response and really appreciate your dedication. It is so much clearer for me now.

        I only got confused as you mention, in paragraph 6, that my grandmother was born in The Netherlands, but she was born in Chile and then moved to The Netherlands with her Dutch parents. What did you mean there?

        I apologize if I misunderstood.

        Kind regards

  35. Paul,

    Firstly, I commend you for providing this service to us. I and several others – Latent Dutch or those uncertain of their category – have used your website as a guide in their own journey to obtain Dutch citizenship.

    Thank you.

    To be clear, my own head is spinning a bit with all of the information. With that, I do feel reasonably confident I qualify as Latent Dutch:

    I was born in Canada in 1968 and obtained Canadian citizenship (born prior 1 January 1985)
    My mother was a Dutch citizen (she obtained Canadian citizenship in 1984)
    My father was a foreign national (born in The Netherlands in 1940, emigrated to Canada in 1954 and became a Canadian citizen in 1963)
    I have never held, nor applied for Dutch citizenship.

    As write this, I am looking at my “Option” application beside my laptop. I am clear you cannot offer legal advice. With the facts above, is it worthwhile to apply for Dutch citizenship?

    Thank you and kind regards,

    Daniel

    • Daniel,

      1. You obtained Canadian citizenship given your birth in that country in 1968. Your father was also a naturalized Canadian national on your date of birth.

      2. Your mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth. She obtained Canadian citizenship after your birth. Thus, you were not born a Dutch national given i) your birth prior to 1 January 1985 when ii) only your mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth.

      3. Your father was born a Dutch national. However, he naturalized Canadian in 1963. In so doing, your father automatically lost his Dutch nationality. No formal renunciation was required. His loss of Dutch nationality occurred by operation of Dutch law.

      4. You have never acquired Dutch nationality by any option procedure in the past (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality).

      5. Based on the foregoing facts you have provided, you fulfill the requirements for Latent Dutch nationality.

      6. As set forth in my article, to qualify for the Latent Dutch the individual must fulfill the following four (4) criteria cumulatively:

      – the individual was born prior to 1 January 1985; and
      – the father was not a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
      – only the mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date birth (if the Dutch national mother lost her Dutch nationality after the child’s birth, this is irrelevant as the child was not born with Dutch nationality to begin with); and
      – the child never acquired Dutch nationality by any other past option procedure (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality).

      7. In conclusion, as your situation fulfills all four (4) requirements, you are eligible to acquire Dutch nationality by the Latent Dutch option in effect since 1 October 2010.

      8. There is no deadline by which you must apply for the option. You may do so at any time; provided, however, you submit all the required documentation with regard to your father, your mother and yourself. The Latent Dutch option is a permanent option possibility with no deadline by which you must apply.

      9. For more information on the required documentation pertaining to Canadian applicants, you can find that information on the official Dutch government website or contact The Netherlands Embassy in Ottawa or the Consulates-General in Toronto or Vancouver.

      Kind regards,

      Paul MUNSELL

      • Paul,

        Again, thank you for your thoroughness — and quick response.

        I’m so pleased it’s likely I’ll get my Dutch citizenship. I lost my father this past summer and my mother shortly after “our” 3rd place finish at the 2014 World Cup — I’ll always remember that tournament as it was filled with joy and sadness when it became clear my mother would pass away at any time.

        Becoming legally Dutch will help a bit with my wounded heart.

        Thank you.

  36. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for all the information you have outlined. I believe I have a strong case for my grandmother to become a Dutch Citizen through the Option Procedure, and using her acquisition my father could attain Dutch Citizenship, then finally myself.

    Background:
    My Great-great-great Grandfather was born 1850 in Amsterdam and moved to Australia in 1879, both his parent’s were Dutch Citizens. Therefore he could lose his citizenship only by Naturalisation in another country. However, I have a record of his Australian Naturalisation Certificate that is dated 1910 and his Daughter was born 1887 in Australia and therefore his daughter was a Dutch Citizen by birth.

    Each generation after was married (Australian Citizens the same Nationality as the women) and under 31 (the age of maturity) before the next generation was born. So from my understanding, my Great-Grandmother is a Latent Dutch Citizen (Dutch Nationality Act Article 6, Paragraph 1 sub section i) and my Grandmother is able to apply Dutch Nationality Act Article 6, Paragraph 1 sub section k).

    Dutch Nationality Act Article 6, Paragraph 8 states that Children share the acquisition and also the children’s child. Since my father is over 16 he would have to apply once my Grandmother was successful and then myself.

    The only problem I see is that my Great-great-great Grandfather lied about where he was born on Australia offical documents, said he was American. However on his marriage certificate he lists his parents full names spelt the same as the names on his Dutch birth certificate. I believe the argument is made that he changed his birth country as a way to get a job in Australia and he is still a Dutch Citizen as his birth certificate and his marriage certificate prove his parentage/birth country.

    I have searched my family tree for any ancestors that I could claim citizen by descent since I was 15 and feel relieved that this might be my chance. I am glad the Dutch Government have tried to make more gender inclusive Citizenship rules.

    • Hello Andrew.

      1. You state your great-great-great grandfather was born in 1850 in the Netherlands. He emigrated from the Netherlands and immigrated to Australia in 1879. He would have been age 29 in 1879.

      2. Starting in 1838, Dutch nationality was regulated by the provisions of the Dutch Civil Code (BW: Burgerlijk Wetboek). The BW determined who was and who was not a Dutch national.

      3. Pursuant to Artikel 9, sub 3 BW, the establishment of residence abroad resulted in automatic loss of Dutch nationality if the person concerned had the evident intention (“kennelijke oogmerk”) not to return to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. An exception to this provision was made when the individual concerned maintained a trading arrangement from abroad with the Netherlands (“by the establishment of one’s residence abroad with the evident intention not to return to the Netherlands”).

      4. Subsequently in 1850, an additional law regarding Dutch nationality entered into effect. Pursuant to Artikel 10, sub 3 of The Law of 28 July 1850, a similar provision for automatic loss of Dutch nationality was provided if the individual concerned established residence abroad for five (5) years without the intention to return to the Netherlands, unless by residence abroad a connection to trading activities with the Netherlands was maintained (“by means of five years of residence in a foreign country with the evident intention not to return”). This automatic loss would occur five (5) years after the person concerned attained the age of majority (23 at the time).

      5. Therefore, between 1850 (your great-great-great grandfather’s year of birth) and 1893 (i.e., the second half of the 19th century), two legal provisions were in effect governing Dutch nationality law. Accordingly, it is considered the person concerned lost Dutch nationality if both provisions under the Dutch Civil Code/BW and Law of 28 July 1850 applied concurrently to that individual, and that individual had attained the age of 23.

      6. Your assumption regarding the fact your great-great-great grandfather could not lose his Dutch nationality, because in so doing he would become stateless is unfortunately incorrect. The current prohibition against statelessness is a rather recent phenomenon under Dutch nationality law (and international law). This prohibition did not always exist. It most certainly did exist in multiple situations under Dutch nationality law in effect between 1838 and 1985.

      7. Hence, it is incorrect to state “he could lose his citizenship only by Naturalization in another country.”

      8. Statelessness could very well result under Dutch nationality law in many instances prior to 1 January 1985, and whether this outcome was known or unknown to the person concerned as explained under the provisions of the BW (1838) and the Law of 28 July 1850 (and even under the WNI (1892)).

      9. Your great-great-great grandfather could very well have been considered stateless by applying the aforementioned laws (and whether he and/or the Australian authorities were aware of these provisions for automatic loss of Dutch nationality that existed at the time). Nevertheless, Australian law, based on British law in effect at that time, would have been of no consequence to what Dutch nationality law maintained.

      10. Your great-great-great grandfather emigrated from the Netherlands in 1879 at age 29 (6 years after he turned age 23) and immigrated to Australia. From the facts you have shared, it could be logically assumed by the Dutch authorities he did not have the evident intention to return to the Netherlands. This could also be supported further by the fact he misstated to the Australian authorities where he was born and by his subsequent Australian naturalization.

      11. It is therefore not completely accurate in this situation to state that his daughter (your great-great grandmother), born in 1887 in Australia, was born a Dutch national. This cannot be assumed given the events of your great-great-great grandfather’s life and his emigration from the Netherlands in 1879 in order to establish himself in Australia with the evident intention not to return to the Netherlands.

      12. If emigration to Australia occurred in 1879 at age 29, your great-great-great grandfather’s Dutch nationality would be lost five (5) years thereafter even if such resulted in statelessness: 1884 at age 34 pursuant to the laws cited. He had attained the age of majority under Dutch law in 1873 at age 23.

      13. In turn, his daughter, born in 1887 in Australia, would not have been born a Dutch national at all. Whether your great-great-great grandfather was aware of this would be irrelevant.

      14. It was only commencing on 1 July 1893 that the provisions of the BW and the Law of 28 July 1850 pertaining to Dutch nationality were codified into the former Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) in effect from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984.

      15. Nevertheless, as explained under Point 5, two (2) separate, but complimentary laws were in effect that governed Dutch nationality law through 1 July 1893.

      16. This could also be the reason why your great-great-great grandfather stated to the Australian authorities he was American and not Dutch. It is quite possible he knew he had lost his Dutch nationality years before under the legal provisions cited. That automatic loss would have occurred prior to 1 July 1893 and 1887, even if it resulted in statelessness.

      17. There have been past cases regarding automatic loss of Dutch nationality that resemble yours where it was determined the person concerned had lost Dutch nationality after five years of residence abroad prior to 1 July 1893.

      18. In conclusion, it is not definitive your great-great-great-grandfather or his daughter were Dutch nationals in 1887.

      Best regards.

  37. Hi,

    My spouse comes from a family with two siblings born before 1985 with the same married Dutch mother and foreign father. However, the Dutch mother took out the citizenship of the father between the birth of the first child and the second child. The first child would be latent Dutch but not the second. It seems very unfair and inequitable to the second child. Is there any flexibility in Dutch or EU law that you have seen for the case of the second child?

    Thanks

    • Hello George.

      1. There is no flexibility here for Child 2 to obtain Dutch nationality under the Latent Dutch option.

      2. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained and lost are clearly stipulated in the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap.

      3. It is not possible to acquire Dutch nationality in this case if the mother — previously Dutch prior to the birth of Child 2 — was not in possession of Dutch nationality on Child 2’s date of birth.

      4. The “Latent Dutch” option requirements are definitive as set forth under RWN Artikel 6(1)i. All four (4) requirements must be met:

      – the child was born prior to 1 January 1985; and
      – the mother was a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
      – the father was not a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth; and
      – the child never obtained Dutch nationality by option at any time in the past (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality).

      5. If all four (4) of these requirements have not been fulfilled cumulatively, the child is not Latent Dutch and, hence, ineligible for the Latent Dutch option given the mother was not a Dutch national on the child’s date of birth prior to 1 January 1985.

      6. Child 2’s application to obtain Dutch nationality as Latent Dutch will be denied as the law does not permit any deviation from the requirements. Otherwise, the law would not be applied equally. A Dutch court will confirm the legality of the denial.

      7. The European Union Court of Justice gives great deference to the nationality laws of the individual member states. A member state may stipulate in its nationality laws who is and who is not considered a national of that member state pursuant to the legal provisions of that member state’s nationality laws.

      8. The current Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap makes no provision that Dutch nationality may be acquired by another child in the same family just because one child in said family fulfills the four (4) of the requirements for the Latent Dutch option cumulatively, but the other child does not. The mother must have been in possession of Dutch nationality on the child’s date of birth. That is the specific reason the Latent Dutch option was passed into law in the first place.

      9. The specific language of the Latent Dutch option is: “Na het afleggen van een daartoe strekkende schriftelijke verklaring verkrijgt door een bevestiging als bedoeld in het derde lid het Nederlanderschap: de vreemdeling die vóór 1 januari 1985 is geboren uit een moeder die ten tijde van zijn geboorte Nederlander was, terwijl de vader ten tijde van die geboorte niet-Nederlander was.”

      [“After making a written statement to that effect, the following individual shall receive a confirmation as referred to in subsection 3 and acquire Dutch nationality: the foreign national who was born prior to 1 January 1985, to a mother who was a Dutch citizen at the time of his birth, while the father was a non-Dutch citizen at the time of that birth.”]

      Best regards.

  38. Hi Paul,

    Thank you very much I appreciate the detailed explanation.
    It’s sad to hear that I’ve lost my Dutch nationality, but I have to accept it.

    Take care and stay safe.

    Kind regards,
    Diana

  39. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your article and efforts to maintain an incredibly useful page.

    According to all the information and feedback given, can I say with certainty that I have lost my Dutch citizenship.
    I just want to know how / where / what do I need to regain my citizenship.
    My parents are both deceased and I do not have copies of their passports.
    Both my parents were born in the Netherlands.
    Father – Zeist 1930
    Mother – Zeist 1935
    They immigrated to South Africa in 1964.
    I was born in 1965 in SA, where I still live.
    I have a Dutch passport, but it expired in 1989.

    Thanking you in advance.
    Kind regards,
    Diana

    • Hello Diana.

      1. You state your father was born in 1930. Your father and your mother (born in 1935) emigrated from the Netherlands and immigrated to South Africa in 1964. You were born in 1965 in South Africa. You acquired South African nationality automatically at birth given your birth in that country under South African law.

      2. You were also born a Dutch national automatically because: i) your father was a married Dutch national, AND ii) you were born before 1 January 1985. Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) [WNI (1892) Artikel 1a [in force from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984]

      3. Before 1 January 1985, Dutch nationality was acquired solely through the married Dutch national father and not the Dutch national mother, unless the father’s nationality was unknown or he was stateless. Therefore, in the legal sense, your mother’s Dutch nationality is irrelevant in your acquisition of Dutch nationality at birth.

      4. Place of birth and any other nationalities acquired at birth are also irrelevant in this acquisition of Dutch nationality.

      5. On 1 January 1985 the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) [RWN (1985)] replaced the WNI (1892).

      6. Under the RWN (1985) Artikel 15c, any dual Dutch national would automatically lose Dutch nationality if cumulatively since 1 January 1985:

      i. he/she was born abroad before 1 January 1985 with another nationality; AND
      ii. he/she was between age 28, but not yet age 41, on 1 January 1995 (10 years after the RWN (1985) entered into force; AND
      iii. he/she was living continuously in his/her country of birth of which he/she was a national from 1 January 1985 through and including 31 December 1994 (an exact 10-year period).

      7. Whether you were unaware or did not wish to lose Dutch nationality would not have prevented this automatic loss under the RWN (1985) Artikel 15c. A valid Dutch passport on 1 January 1995 in your case also would not have been a safeguard to maintaining your Dutch nationality if you were residing uninterruptedly in South Africa since 1 January 1985/age 20.

      8. You were age 30 on 1 January 1995. I shall assume you were living continuously in your country of birth—South Africa—commencing on 1 January 1985. Hence, loss of Dutch nationality by operation of law on 1 January 1995.

      9. This Artikel 15c was revised in February 2000. It is no longer in effect.

      10. Commencing on 1 February 2001, these amendments provided for the eventual restoration of Dutch nationality for certain categories of former Dutch nationals, and depending, on how the former Dutch national lost Dutch nationality. The time period was temporary and limited in duration. These amendments would enter into effect in stages.

      11. You state your last Dutch passport expired in 1989. As you had not been issued with either a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or after 1 January 1990, you had the opportunity to have your lost Dutch nationality restored via option statement and retain your South African nationality.

      12. The time period for this option was 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005.

      13. Between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005, in this case, it was required to submit an option statement for restoration of Dutch nationality between those dates. Dutch nationality would have been restored with retroactive effect to the day you automatically lost Dutch nationality: 1 January 1995 at age 30 pursuant to the former Artikel 15c, as explained.

      14. Unfortunately, this temporary option period of 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 is now closed.

      15. The quickest and easiest way for you to re-acquire Dutch nationality would be to be issued with a long-term visa for a non-temporary purpose (such as paid employment or immediate family reunification) in order to reside in the European part of the Netherlands.

      16. After one (1) year of uninterrupted residence under such a visa, you could opt to have your Dutch nationality restored via option statement and retain your South African nationality.

      17. As from the facts you present you acquired Dutch nationality by birth abroad but through descent by your married Dutch national father, you are ineligible for the special Wedertoelating (Re-Entry ) visa: you were not both born (geboren) and raised (getogen) in the Netherlands.

      18. Being raised in the Netherlands is equivalent to having received at least one-half of primary education (“basisonderwijs”) in the Netherlands itself.

      19. In the Netherlands, basisonderwijs is between ages 4 and 12.

      20. This Wedertoelating visa is only issued automatically to former Dutch nationals irrespective of current country or residence and nationality who, indeed, were both born and raised in the Netherlands.

      21. However, this visa is not automatically issued irrespective of current country of residence and nationality to former Dutch nationals: a) born abroad; and b) raised abroad with another nationality and who are living in their current country of nationality.

      22. As you are living in South Africa, your country of birth and of which you are a national, you are currently ineligible for this visa to be issued to you in South Africa.

      23. This visa could eventually be issued to you if you were residing in a country other than South Africa provided, however, you fulfill certain additional criteria.

      24. Moreover, as Dutch nationality law distinguishes former Dutch nationals born and raised in the Netherlands from Dutch nationals born abroad and raised abroad (or born in the Netherlands, but who were not raised there), you would need to demonstrate “effective ties” to the Netherlands, such as: education in a school system abroad that mirrored the Dutch school system and with Dutch language instruction during schooling, employment abroad in the Dutch civil service and/or other criteria that could constitute “effective ties.” This list is not exhaustive. Being a former Dutch national born and raised abroad is, however, not an “effective tie” criterion in itself.

      25. Nevertheless, there are no possibilities to re-acquire Dutch nationality either by option statement or by naturalization whilst residing in South Africa. Additionally, it is against Dutch public policy to naturalize Dutch when residing in your current country of nationality.

      26. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained or lost are clearly stipulated in both the WNI and the RWN. Not having been aware or not having wished to lose Dutch nationality is not a way in which Dutch nationality is retained under the law according to case law on the subject. The loss was automatic under the former Artikel 15c that affected your situation. No formal renunciation was or is required. The loss occurs by operation of law (“van rechtswege”).

      27. Here is the official text of the (former) 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 internationaal orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van een persoon met een zodanig dienstverband.”

      [“An adult shall lose Dutch nationality when the individual concerned has his permanent residence for a period of ten (10) years outside the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, respectively, in his country of birth and of which he is also a national, except if he is employed in the civil service of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles or by an international body in which the Kingdom is represented, or as the spouse of an individual having such employment.”]

      In conclusion, I regret to inform you that since 1 January 1995, you have not been in possession of Dutch nationality. Were you not residing in South Africa between 1 January 1985 (your country of birth and of which you were also a national) and 1 January 1995 (10 exact years), you would not have lost your Dutch nationality by operation of law on said date: 1 January 1995.

      This former Artikel 15c affected tens of thousands of dual Dutch nationals born abroad with the nationality of their country birth and who were residing in that country when Artikel 15c was still in effect. Your case is entirely classic.

      I hope this very detailed explanation helps shed light on your situation.

      Could you be so kind to let us know here at The Indo Project you have received this information?

      Kind regards.

  40. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the article, it’s so much easier to follow than the various Dutch government articles.

    I have had a slightly different upbringing and I was wondering if you could shed some light if I qualify for Dutch Citizenship or not.

    – My mother was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch mother and father ~1957
    – My parents immigrated to New Zealand in the late 1980’s
    – I was born in New Zealand in 1990 (acquired New Zealand Citizenship at birth)
    – My (British) father took out New Zealand Citizenship, my mother did not.
    – We all immigrated to Australia in 2001 (my mother as a Dutch citizen using her NL passport) and subsequently took out Australian citizenship. My mother and I took it out at the same time (2003 or 2004, would need to track down the certificate) and my father took it out in ~2005
    – I stayed in Australia until 2014 (24 years old) at which point I moved to the United Kingdom and have resided there since (apart from a small stint where I considered living in the Netherlands for a few months when I was ~27, assuming irrelevant).
    – My mother restored her Dutch citizenship through the option procedure by living in the Netherlands for 12 months. She did the ceremony in late 2018/early 2019 (not sure exactly when)

    If I understand all the laws/articles correctly. I may have lost my Dutch nationality when I took out Australian citizenship with my mother in 2003, however there is an exemption I am unsure on;

    https://www.government.nl/topics/dutch-nationality/documents/publications/2017/10/05/minors-and-loss-of-dutch-nationality

    Section 2 – “Exceptions: situations in which minors will not lose their Dutch nationality”
    Part f – “has lived or lives (has his main residence) in the country whose nationality he is obtaining for an uninterrupted period of five years or more. Exceptions to this include points 1, 11 and 12: in that case, the child will lose his Dutch nationality”

    Since I lived in Australia for more than 5 years before I turned 18 (in total, but not before I took out Australian citizenship) am I exempt from the loss?

    In addition, I have not lived outside the EU since I turned 18 for an uninterrupted period of 10 years (having been in the United Kingdom from 24)

    Thanks so much,
    Mike

    • Additionally, various people I have spoken to have also discussed the restoration of my mothers citizenship as been retrospective and “as if she had never lost it”. Would this mean I also never lost it?

      • The statement of these individuals is erroneous.

        As explained in my initial response above, your mother’s re-acquisition of Dutch nationality was not restored to the date she lost her Dutch nationality to begin with: her Australian naturalization date. Not at all.

        Your mother re-acquired her Dutch nationality on the date her option was approved.

        It then entered into force with retroactive effect to said approval date on the day she attended the mandatory ceremony.

        Do not confuse the 1 April 2003-31 March 2005 and 1 April 2003 -31 March 2013 temporary option periods with the option for which your mother was eligible for re-acquisition of Dutch nationality.

        These individuals should be mindful that only in one occurrence was Dutch nationality restored with retroactive effect “as if [they] had never lost it” in the following case only:

        A former Dutch national who lost Dutch nationality pursuant to the former RWN (1985) Artikel 15c (detailed in the article), because CUMULATIVELY:

        1) he/she was born abroad; AND
        2) at age 28, he/she was residing in the country of birth and of which he/she was also a national; AND
        3) he/she had been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate (Verklaring omtrent bezit van het Nederlanderschap) on or after 1 January 1990 before he/she lost Dutch nationality under said former Artikel 15c.

        This restoration of Dutch nationality would be considered never to have been lost with automatic effect on 1 February 2001 only if he/she had been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on 1 January 1990 or thereafter.

        I have explained this concept in detail in the article.

        Therefore, the individuals are issuing a blanket statement that is simply erroneous and is causing confusion.

        In conclusion and as already explained in my initial response, this does not mean that you “also never lost it.”

        Given the facts you have shared, you have not been a Dutch national since you and your mother naturalized Australian together in 2003/2004. Your mother’s subsequent re-acquisition of Dutch nationality from the day her option was approved (and only after she attended the subsequent mandatory ceremony did said re-acquisition take effect from said option approval date) had no effect on you: you have not re-acquired Dutch nationality to date.

    • Hello Mike.

      1. You were born in 1990. Therefore, you were born a Dutch national pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 3(1) given: i) your mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth, and ii) you were born on or after 1 January 1985.

      2. Any other nationalities acquired at birth and place of birth are irrelevant in this automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality.

      3. RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2) a provides that a minor (i.e., a child under age 18) retains Dutch nationality as long as at least one parent retains Dutch nationality.

      4. If such is not the case, and the child has another nationality in addition to Dutch nationality, then the minor-age child shall lose Dutch nationality by operation of law on the date the Dutch national parent does.

      5. Such automatic loss does not occur if the minor-age child has resided for at least five (5) uninterrupted (i.e., continuous) years in the country whose nationality the parent (and the minor-age child) subsequently acquire voluntarily by naturalization in that country. RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2)f. As you can see, residence must be continuous prior to the foreign naturalization date.

      6. You have stated you and your mother naturalized Australian together in 2003 or 2004. Since you did not reside as a minor in Australia for at least five (5) uninterrupted years before your mother and you acquired Australian nationality, you have not retained Dutch nationality since your Australian naturalization date. The terms of the exception have not been fulfilled here.

      7. In turn, this means that you are presently not a Dutch national, and have not been since 2003/2004.

      8. Your mother’s re-acquisition of Dutch nationality via the specific option for which she was eligible as a former Dutch national pursuant to RWN Artikel 6(1)f does not apply to you. You did not re-acquire Dutch nationality along with her, and hence, as stated, you are not a Dutch national presently.

      9. The various people with whom you have discussed your mother’s situation are incorrect when they state your mother’s Dutch nationality was restored with retroactive effect to 2003/2004.

      10. Your mother’s re-acquisition of Dutch nationality did not have retroactive effect to her date of loss: the day she naturalized Australian voluntarily in 2003/2004. Your mother re-acquired Dutch nationality only on the day her option was confirmed/approved.

      11. Only after your mother attended the mandatory ceremony did restoration of her Dutch nationality enter into effect from said option confirmation/approval date.

      12. The exact language on her option confirmation will state: “Deze bevestiging treedt in werking op de dag waarop zij is bekendgemaakt en WERKT TERUG TOT DE DAG DER DAGTEKENING.” [“This confirmation takes effect on the date it is proclaimed and has retroactive effect to the date it was signed”], therefore not to the date she lost Dutch nationality because she naturalized Australian.

      13. My supposition is that the individuals with whom you have spoken are confusing the terms of your mother’s re-acquisition of Dutch nationality with the terms of certain specific temporary option periods that were in effect from 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 and 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013.

      14. Some of those options during those time periods did provide for restoration of Dutch nationality with retroactive effect to the date of loss. This is not the case with the option for which your mother qualified in 2018/2019. Therefore, their statement is unfortunately erroneous under law with regard to the effective date of your mother’s restoration of Dutch nationality in the Netherlands.

      15. In conclusion with regard to your situation, you lost Dutch nationality in 2003/2004 along with your mother due to voluntary naturalization in Australia. You did not fulfill the specific criterion under RRWN (2003) Artikel 16(2)f that provided for the exception to retain Dutch nationality as a minor: that you were required to have resided for at least five (5) uninterrupted years in Australia before the date you acquired Australian nationality along with your mother.

      16. There are currently no possibilities to re-acquire Dutch nationality by option statement abroad as a former Dutch national, i.e., neither in the UK, nor in New Zealand, nor in Australia, nor in any other country. It may only be in the Netherlands here.

      17. To become eligible for any option for restoration of Dutch nationality as a former Dutch national, in your case, you would be required to take up residence in the Netherlands for at least one (1) full year under a requisite visa category.

      18. Indeed, your brief stay in the Netherlands when you were 27 is irrelevant in establishing any long-term residency there at that time.

      I hope this information has cleared up the situation.

      Could you please let us know here at The Indo Project that you have received this explanation?

      Best regards.

      • Hi Paul, I read your article with much interest but am still a little unclear about whether I have actually lost my Dutch Nationality. I’m hoping you might be able to help before I submit any application to the Dutch authorities. Briefly, I was born in 1965 in the UK to a Dutch father and English mother. From birth to age 2 I lived in the UK, from 2-9 in Belgium, and from 9 to the present day in the UK. I have only ever had a UK passport, no Dutch passport or Nationality certificate. I have had two different (non official) opinions. One that I lost my Dutch Nationality in 1996 (1965 + 21 + 10). The other that I still have Dutch Nationality on account of the UK being in the EU (until recently). Kind regards Andrew

        • Hello Andrew.

          1. The individual who stated to you that you did not lose your Dutch nationality is incorrect. Dutch nationality law changed most significantly in February 2000. It was only commencing on 1 April 2003 that Artikel 15(1)c of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (the “RRWN (2003)”) stipulated that a dual Dutch national residing within the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union would not lose Dutch nationality for failure to be issued with a Dutch passport, national identity card/NIK or Dutch nationality certificate every ten (10) years from the age of majority. The law goes forward in time only. Since this provision entered into effect on 1 April 2003, it logically cannot apply to any situation that existed prior to 1 April 2003.

          2. The individual has entirely overlooked the specific provisions of the RWN (1985) in effect between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 March 2003, especially the former Artikel 15c RWN (1985) that applies to your situation.

          3. You lost your Dutch nationality by operation of Dutch law on 1 January 1995 when you were 30 years old. Here’s why.

          4. You state you were born with a Dutch national father on your date of birth. You were born a Dutch national automatically through your father. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a in effect from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984.

          5. Any other nationalities or place of birth are irrelevant in this automatic acquisition of Dutch nationality. Additionally, the fact your Dutch father may never have obtained a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate for you in the past does not change your situation: you were born a Dutch national regardless.

          6. As clearly explained in the article, commencing on 1 January 1985 when the RWN (1985) entered into effect, thereby replacing the former WNI (1892), the RWN (1985) clearly stipulated the following in its Artikel 15c: A dual Dutch national, i) born abroad, AND ii) who was a residing in his/her country of birth AND iii) of which he/she was also a national, would iv) automatically lose Dutch nationality if, v) upon reaching the age of 28 years, vi) he/she was residing uninterruptedly since age 18 in the country of birth.

          7. This Artikel 15c would enter into effect on 1 January 1995, which is exactly ten (10) years since the RWN (1985) implementation date: 1 January 1985.

          8. You state you were residing since age 9 and through today in the United Kingdom, your country of birth and of which you are also a national.

          9. Thus, commencing on 1 January 1985 (when you were age 20) you fell under the provisions of this Artikel 15c.

          10. You therefore automatically lost your Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 at age 30. Remember: this Artikel 15c would not enter into effect any earlier than 1 January 1995. It is irrelevant you turned 28 in 1993.

          11. You can see that since 1 January 1985 at age 20 (you would have been considered an adult under the RWN (1985), you had been living in the United Kingdom: loss of Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995 at age 30.

          12. You may wish to draw the attention of the individual who informed you otherwise—namely that you did not lose your Dutch nationality because the United Kingdom was a member state of the European Union—that that information is incorrect. For this to have been true, that provision commenced on 1 April 2003 only and no earlier. [RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c]. See Point 1 hereabove.

          13. The age of majority in The Netherlands was 21 until 1 January 1988 for civil law purposes under the Burgerlijk Wetboek (Dutch Civil Code).

          14. However, the age of majority in The Netherlands under the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) was set at age 18, and such, commencing on 1 January 1985.

          15. What does the RWN (1985) Hoofdstuk (Chapter) I, Artikel (Article) 1b specifically state with regard to the age of majority for Dutch nationality purposes? Age 18.

          “Voor de toepassing van deze Rijkswet wordt verstaan onder meerderjarige: hij die de leeftijd van achttien jaren heeft bereikt of voordien in het huwelijk is getreden.”

          [“For the application of this Kingdom Act, the age of majority shall be understood to mean he who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years, or he who has previously entered into matrimony.”]

          16. You turned 18 in 1983 (you were still considered a minor; the RWN (1985) did not yet have force of law).

          17. On 1 January 1985, you would have been 20 years old (you would have been considered an adult on 1 January 1985 for purposes of the RWN (1985)).

          18. Artikel 15c took effect on 1 January 1995. Under the RWN (1985), you were considered an adult if you were age 18 or over on 1 January 1985 (see Point 15 hereabove).

          1 January 1985/age 20 + 10 years/implementation date of Artikel 15c = 1 January 1995/age 30/loss of Dutch nationality pursuant to RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

          19. The individual who indicated to you that you lost Dutch nationality only in 1996 at age 31 is incorrect. The individual has overlooked the simple fact that, as explained under Points 15-18 hereabove, it was commencing on 1 January 1985 that the legal age for purposes of the RWN (1985) was dropped to age 18 (it was no longer age 21). [RWN (1985) Artikel 1b]

          20. This is why a 10-year period was set in the RWN (1985): this 10-year period concerned dual Dutch nationals such as yourself who turned age 18 prior to 1 January 1985 and who, thereby, fell within a certain “grace period” between 1 January 1985 through and including 31 December 1994 (an exact 10-year period).

          21. If an individual turned age 18 on 1 January 1985, when would this individual turn age 28 and be subject to loss of Dutch nationality if he/she was residing in his/her country of birth uninterruptedly since age 18 pursuant to Artikel 15c? 1 January 1995.

          22. In your case, you turned age 28 in 1993. On 1 January 1995, you had already reached age 28 two (2) years prior in 1993: loss of Dutch nationality on 1 January 1995/age 30 as you were residing in your country of birth on 1 January 1995 AND on 1 January 1995 you were age 28 or older.

          23. Even if you had a valid Dutch passport in your possession on 1 January 1995, the legal situation would be no different. The loss of Dutch nationality occurred by operation of law (“van rechtswege”). A valid Dutch passport would NOT have been a safeguard that Dutch nationality would have been retained; you still would have been subject to the provisions of the former Artikel 15c: you were residing in the UK, and such, as an adult age 18 or over since 1 January 1985 for a period of ten (10) uninterrupted years.

          24. When the RWN (1985) was amended in February 2000, its amendments provided for certain former Dutch nationals who lost Dutch nationality in the past under certain situations (such as Artikel 15c) to regain Dutch nationality, as explained in the article.

          25. These provisions would enter into effect in stages commencing on 1 February 2001.

          26. You stated you have never had either a Dutch passport or a Dutch nationality certificate issued to you in the past.

          27. Given this fact, between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005, you had the opportunity to have your lost Dutch nationality restored via option statement as (cumulatively): 1) you lost your Dutch nationality under the provisions of the (former) Artikel 15c; and 2) you had not been issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990.

          28. Had you submitted this option statement during the 1 April 2003-31 March 2005 temporary option period, your lost Dutch nationality would have been restored with retroactive effect to the date you lost it by operation of Dutch law (pursuant to Artikel 15c): 1 January 1995/age 30.

          29. For your convenience, I am providing you with the exact language of the former Artikel 15c, no longer in effect since 1 April 2003. See Point 30 herebelow.

          30. 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 internationaal orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van een persoon met een zodanig dienstverband.”

          [“An adult shall lose Dutch nationality when the individual concerned has his permanent residence for a period of ten (10) years outside the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, respectively, in his country of birth and of which he is also a national, except if he is employed in the civil service of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles or by an international body in which the Kingdom is represented, or as the spouse of an individual having such employment.”]

          In conclusion, I regret to inform you that since 1 January 1995, you have not been in possession of Dutch nationality. Were you not residing in the UK (your country of birth and of which you were also a national) on 1 January 1995, you would not have lost your Dutch nationality by operation of law.

          I hope this very detailed explanation clears up any questions you have had with regard to Dutch nationality in your case.

          Could you be so kind to let us know here at The Indo Project you have received this information?

          Best regards.

      • Sounds like the loss could have been avoided if my family delayed or made slightly different decisions. Such is life. Good to know the an option procedure is available to me if I was able to get a requisite visa.

        Appreciate the detailed reply and your knowledge. Thank you!

  41. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for this insightful page. Hope you had a wonderful holiday season so far.

    I am kind of in a pickle in contrast to my sisters…
    OK my story in a nutshell is as follows:
    Oupa was born 1895 in Bitterwird Netherlands 1895
    Ouma was born 1907 in Netherlands
    Oupas went to South Africa in 1928
    Oupa and ouma Married 1928 in South Africa
    6 childern were born out of this union: 1929; 1930; 1933; 1935; 1937 (my mother); 1941
    All the above children have since passed away.

    Before Oupa obtain SA citizenship in 1949 all his children were already born (in South Africa).

    My mother got married to my father a South African man and out of this union 5 children were born
    1964; 1966; 1968; 1969 & 1974 (this child has passed away)

    October 2020, I have submitted an optieverklaring op grand van artikel 6, eerste lid, onder i, RWN (Rijkswet op het
    Nederlanderschap d.d. 19 december 1984 zoals deze luidt vanaf 1 april 2003)
    ingediend.

    The reply to my application was as such:
    Your mother was born 30 Dec 1937 , op 30 december 1968 —
    haar 31 verjaardag – volgens artikel 7, sub 5 van de Wet op het Nederlanderschap
    en het Ingezetenschap van 1892 het Nederlanderschap heeft verloren. Zij heeft
    namelijk na het bereiken van de meerderjarige leeftijd (haar 21 verjaardag) 10 jaar
    ononderbroken woonplaats gehad buiten het Koninkrijk terwijl zij naast de
    Nederlandse tevens de Zuid-Afrikaanse nationaliteit bezat. Zij had het verlies kunnen
    voorkomen door voor afloop van de tienjaartermijn een kennisgeving tot behoud van
    het Nederlanderschap af te leggen of door zich binnen het Koninkrijk te vestigen.
    Dit betekent dat op de dag van uw geboorte, 29 september 1969, uw moeder niet
    langer in het bezit was van de Nederlandse nationaliteit.

    Meaning my three elder sister are automatically covered by my mothers’ dual citizenship status by date of birth, and my mother was still in age, however I fall short by 9 months.
    My mother had no idea that she had dual citizenship, let alone that it was valid until December 1968 (her 31st birthday).
    The new legislation was signed into law 19 Dec 84 – and came into play 1 Jan 1985, by that time my mother was already terminal ill to bring about any changes to her citizenship status, At the time of her death March 1985 I was still a minor and could not act on that type of information even if I had it to my disposal (which I did not had.)

    Is there any way or avenue that i can explore to make a valid appeal the the Optie-application to secure the same privilege to myself being born 1969, as I fall just outside of the required parameters.
    What are my options to get this decision turned around?

    • Hello Alida.

      1. As stated in the article, the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap (1892) entered into effect on 1 July 1893. The WNI (1892) had force of law from 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984.

      2. On 1 January 1985, the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap entered into effect.

      3. The decision with regard to the denial of your option “Latent Dutch” application to acquire Dutch nationality under the “Latent Dutch” option is correct.

      4. Since 1 July 1893, any Dutch national, born abroad and residing in his/her birth country, and who acquired another nationality in addition to Dutch nationality at birth was required to make a declaration to the Dutch authorities within 10 years after reaching the age of majority that he/she wished to retain Dutch nationality.

      5. The age of majority at the time your mother was born was 21.

      6. Your mother had until 10 years after her 21st birthday (i.e., by her 31st birthday on 30 December 1968) to make this mandatory declaration to the Dutch authorities in South Africa that she wished to retain her Dutch nationality. WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5).

      7. After said declaration, your mother was obligated to make this same declaration by the time another period of ten (10) years had elapsed since her last declaration. Failure to do this would result in automatic loss of Dutch nationality.

      8. Your mother was born on 30 December 1937. If we analyze the timeline: 30 December 1937 (born in South Africa with South African nationality as well) + 21 years (age of majority) = 30 December 1958 + 10 years (to make the mandatory declaration) = 30 December 1968/age 31/Loss of Dutch nationality by operation of law pursuant to WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5).

      9. You were born on 29 September 1969, which is almost one (1) year after your mother lost her Dutch nationality on 30 December 1968/age 31.

      10. I regret to inform you that although your heritage is Dutch, your mother was no longer in formal possession of Dutch nationality on your date of birth, contrary to your siblings, all born before your mother turned age 31.

      11. Therefore, the decision is correct that you are ineligible to acquire Dutch nationality under the “Latent Dutch” option in effect since 1 October 2010 only. I’ll repeat: the Latent Dutch option entered into effect on 1 October 2010 only.

      12. Your siblings — all born before your mother’s 31st birthday — were not born Dutch nationals at all. If they were, there would be no need for the “Latent Dutch” option now.

      13. If your siblings have applied for acquisition of Dutch nationality under the “Latent Dutch” option, they are only Dutch nationals from the day their Latent Dutch option was approved provided they attended the mandatory ceremony.

      14. The Latent Dutch option does not have retroactive to their dates of birth as prior to 1 January 1985, your mother was unable to transmit her Dutch nationality to them under Dutch nationality law, since your father’s nationality was known and he was not stateless.

      15. You have also misstated that your mother was “unable to bring about any changes to her citizenship status.”

      16. This is incorrect. Your mother lost her Dutch nationality under the WNI (1892) and not the RWN (1985). The RWN (1985) does not apply to your mother or to you (both born prior to 1 January 1985 under the WNI (1892)). It is irrelevant to your mother and your situation as the law does not have retroactive effect. It only goes forward in time. There is nothing your mother could have done to re-acquire her Dutch nationality simply because the RWN (1985) entered into effect on 1 January 1985.

      17. Had you been born prior to your mother’s 31st birthday (i.e., prior to 30 December 1968), you would qualify for the Latent Dutch option now as: 1) your father was not a Dutch national (he is South African) and 2) you have never acquired Dutch nationality by any other option possibility in the past (and subsequently lost Dutch nationality).

      18. As “ignorance (i.e., unfamiliarity) of the law” (as the legal adage goes) is no excuse (i.e., it is not an affirmative defense), your mother (were she alive today) would be unable to assert in court that because she was unaware of Dutch law, that she should be able to re-acquire her Dutch nationality now. The WNI (1892) had already been in effect for over seventy (70) years and published in the Staatscourant in December 1892, over 100 years ago.

      19. The ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired, retained and lost are clearly stipulated in the WNI (1892) and in the RWN (1985). Having been unaware of the declaration obligation that still had force of law between 1 July 1893 through and including 31 December 1984 cannot be asserted to have Dutch nationality re-instated now or in the past. Having been unaware to make the mandatory declaration is not one of the ways in which Dutch nationality is acquired or retained .

      20. There is no way in which you could have asserted acquisition of Dutch nationality in the past, neither in 1969 (when you were born) or at any time thereafter for the reasons explained: your mother was no longer a Dutch national on your date of birth. It is not possible to acquire a nationality now that your mother unfortunately no longer had on your date of birth.

      21. Lastly, your mother would have been unable to have her Dutch nationality restored via option statement during the temporary option periods that were in effect from 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 and 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2013 and open to certain categories of former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality in the past (and depending on the manner in which they lost it prior to 1 April 2003).

      22. Why not? Because your mother lost her Dutch nationality for failure to make the mandatory declaration whilst the WNI (1892) was still in effect [WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5) supra]. Loss of Dutch nationality pursuant to this specific situation was not one of the categories by which former Dutch nationals could have applied for restoration of Dutch nationality during those two specific option periods if they had lost Dutch nationality in this manner.

      23. You fall outside of the “parameters” to acquire Dutch nationality now by the Latent Dutch option. The law cannot make an exception in your case as to make this exception based on your having been born nine (9) months after your mother lost her Dutch nationality would be inequitable to others. The law cannot make an exception.

      24. As the statute of limitations to appeal the negative decision is quite brief (normally approximately 6 weeks from the notification date), the statute of limitations to appeal the negative decision has already run out. A Dutch judge would reaffirm the decision taken: loss of Dutch nationality on 30 December 1968 pursuant to WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5) as cited, so ineligibility for the Latent Dutch option given your birth on 29 September 1969 [nine (9) months thereafter].

      25. For your convenient reference, here is the text of WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5):

      “Nederlanderschap wordt verloren door, behalve ter zake van ‘s lands dienst, woonplaats te hebben buiten het Rijk en zijne koloniën of bezittingen in andere werelddelen gedurende tien achtereenvolgende jaren, tenzij de afwezige vóór het verstrijken van dien termijn aan den burgemeester of het hoofd van het plaatselijk bestuur zijner laatste woonplaats in het Rijk of zijne koloniën of bezittingen in andere werelddelen of aan den Nederlandschen gezant of een Nederlandschen consulairen ambtenaar in het land, waar hij woont, kennis geve, dat hij Nederlander wenst te blijven. Van den dag waarop die kennisgeving ontvangen is, begint de tienjarige termijn opnieuw te lopen.”

      26. As you can see, the declaration obligation for your mother explained to you in the negative decision and in my explanation hereabove is confirmed.

      I hope this detailed explanation has clarified the decision you have been given.

      Best regards for the New Year.

  42. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all your efforts maintaining an incredibly useful page – honestly the best source of information on Dutch nationality law I have found.

    Based on my reading of what is above, I believe I am a former Dutch national as:
    – My Opa (and Oma) were Dutch nationals that moved to New Zealand in the late 1940s and married shortly after
    – My mother was born in New Zealand in 1955, automatically a Dutch national as she was born to a Dutch father who was married to my Oma, and also automatically a New Zealand citizen by virtue of her being born there
    – At some point, my Oma and Opa naturalised as New Zealanders and lost their Dutch nationality (I think when my mother was about 18) but this did not impact her because even though she was still a minor, she was already a New Zealand citizen by birth so did not share in the naturalisation and in turn, the loss of Dutch nationality under WNI
    – My mother was issued a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap in 1976 when she was 20, then proceeded to move to the Netherlands where she lived for around two years before moving back to New Zealand
    – Her 10 year period living out of the Netherlands started in 1978 (or thereabouts – she can’t remember the exact dates) but then was “reset” when the RWN came into force in 1985
    – In the 80s she met my dad, got married and gave birth to me in 1989
    – In 1995, under Article 14 my mother lost her Dutch nationality by virtue of having lived outside the Netherlands for 10 years following the introduction of the RNW. As I was a minor at the time, I also lost my Dutch nationality.

    (Please do feel free to correct me if any of this is incorrect)

    I am now strongly considering a move to the Netherlands on a Highly Skilled Migrant visa, and living there for at least a year in order to satisfy the requirements of the option procedure. But my question is, does the law or any other guidance exist that clarifies what documentary evidence needs to be provided to the IND/Municipality in order to prove that I was a former Dutch national?

    I see you have detailed this for those who are Latent Dutch, but was wondering if you knew anything about what would be required if applying for the option procedure based on being a former national.

    Thanks very much for your help.
    Paul

    • (And sorry, I should clarify that my mother did not apply to reinstate her Dutch nationality during the temporary window in 2003-2005. She also never applied for another Beweijs van Nederlanderschap, passport or ID card following that issued in 1976.)

      • Hi Paul.

        Thank you for the detailed facts.

        1. To be clear: Your mother was obligated to declare to the Dutch authorities in New Zealand she wished to retain her Dutch nationality as a dual Dutch national born abroad by age 31, i.e. within 10 years following her 21st birthday in 1976 (as 21 was the age of majority at that time). WNI (1892) Artikel 7(5) .

        2. I state this so there is no confusion with the 10-year renewal requirement for dual Dutch nationals residing outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or any other member state of the European Union starting at age 18 or older in effect since 1 April 2003 only. RRWN (2003) Artikel 15(1)c.

        Furthermore, your mother and you did not lose Dutch nationality under Artikel 14 (you had referenced Artikel 14).

        3. Therefore, starting on 1 January 1985 when the RWN (1985) entered into effect, this 10-year requirement no longer existed (contrary to its existence prior to 1 January 1985 under the WNI (1892)). Point 1 supra. A similar requirement only was put into effect commencing on 1 April 2003 and through today.

        4. The above is a clarification given you had mentioned the clock was “reset” on 1 January 1985. That is incorrect to state without further clarification/nuance.

        5. As explained in the article, a dual Dutch national, born abroad, who was living in his/her country of birth and of which he/she was a national would automatically lose Dutch nationality upon reaching age 28 if he/she was living in that country. RWN (1985) Artikel 15c.

        6. The provisions of this Artikel would only enter into effect commencing on 1 January 1995 (i.e., 10 years after the implementation date of RWN (1985) on 1 January 1985).

        7. If your mother had been in possession of a valid Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on 1 January 1995, this would not have mattered. Your mother was residing in New Zealand, her country of birth, on 1 January 1995 and she was age 28 or older on that date.

        8. Your mother was age 30 on 1 January 1995. This is how she lost her Dutch nationality, and not because she had not “renewed” her Verklaring issued in 1976, or that she was never issued thereafter with a Dutch passport. As stated, this “renewal” obligation ceased to be in effect on 1 January 1985.

        9. Your mother’s automatic loss of Dutch nationality occurred by operation of law. Had your mother been living in any other country but New Zealand on 1 January 1995, she would not have lost her Dutch nationality. In turn, neither would you have.

        10. It is easy to prove having Dutch nationality in the past: an official copy of her parent’s birth certificate on which the father’s name appears, copy of a Dutch passport or a Verklaring (such as the one issued to your mother in 1976) valid before your birth and after your birth, an official copy of her de-registration certificate (uitschrijving) from the Netherlands when she returned to New Zealand in the late 1970’s, an official copy of your maternal grandfather’s birth certificate from the Netherlands, an official copy of your grandparents’ New Zealand naturalization certificates, an official copy of your father’s birth certificate. These are some of the documents that show your mother was a Dutch national on the date she was born, when she resided in the Netherlands and through 1 January 1995. They also show that your father was not a Dutch national (because the Dutch authorities will also want to have evidence of your father’s identity and nationality).

        11. Your maternal grandmother’s Dutch nationality on your mother’s date of birth is irrelevant to the extent your mother acquired Dutch nationality under the law because: 1) she was born prior to 1 January 1985; and 2) her father was a married Dutch national on her date of birth. WNI (1892) Artikel 1a.

        12. You are correct in stating your mother did not lose her Dutch nationality when her parents naturalized in New Zealand. Your mother already was a New Zealand national. Your mother retained her Dutch nationality as a minor under age 21 even if your grandparents lost their Dutch nationality upon naturalization by operation of Dutch law.

        13. As your mother was not issued with a Dutch passport or Dutch nationality certificate on or subsequent to 1 January 1990, the temporary option window between 1 April 2003 through and including 31 March 2005 would have given her the opportunity to have her Dutch nationality restored with retroactive effect to the date her Dutch nationality was lost: 1 January 1995. Had your name been indicated in your mother’s option (as you were a child under age 18 during this temporary window), you would have re-acquired Dutch nationality as well.

        Could you be so kind to confirm to the TIP you have received this explanation?

        Best regards.

        • Hi Paul,

          Many thanks for this comprehensive response – very helpful. I understand the clarifications about the law, but great to know the actual position is still as I thought it (i.e. that, based on this information, I was a former Dutch national until 1995 and therefore am eligible under the Option procedure provided I meet other requirements).

          Two clarification questions in your point 10. Firstly, you say “copy of a Dutch passport or a Verklaring (such as the one issued to your mother in 1976) valid before your birth and after your birth”. The document that I have does not mention an expiry date – does that mean it remained valid in 1989 at the time of my birth and also after then?

          Secondly, you mention the need to send my maternal grandparents’ New Zealand naturalisation certificates. Why would these be required?

          Thanks again,
          Paul.

          • Paul,

            1. A “Verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap” has no statutory validity across-the-board. Different Dutch authorities may request one at any time, i.e., they may request a Verklaring that has been issued more recently.

            2. For Dutch nationality purposes, this specific certificate is valid for ten (10) years from date of issue AND provided the individual did not lose Dutch nationality AFTER the certificate was issued.

            3. This document is NEVER a safeguard one has always kept Dutch nationality. Just like a Dutch passport which is a travel document only and not evidence of nationality, the Verklaring only proves the individual had Dutch nationality on the date the Verklaring was issued.

            4. You need to understand that one must always build a case file: you want to assemble as many documents as possible that prove your mother was a Dutch national on your date of birth and how she herself acquired her Dutch nationality (through her married Dutch national father only, and not from her married Dutch national mother) and how she did not lose her Dutch nationality the day her parents naturalized New Zealand.

            5. The more documents you have that pre-date your birth and post-date your birth so that Dutch nationality can be established at your birth, you need to assemble as many documents as stated.

            6. Your mother was born a Dutch national abroad. That is why you must establish how her father/your maternal grandfather was a Dutch national on her date of birth. His birth certificate from the Netherlands would prove how he himself acquired his Dutch nationality, once again, at birth, through his married Dutch national father.

            7. I have broken down the timeline for you of when your mother lost her Dutch nationality by operation of law. In turn, I have explained how you lost yours the day she did. Usually, the Dutch authorities understand these laws and will determine the same thing I did. However, some may not. The more documents you have, the better.

            I believe I have answered all your questions. The rest is up to you.

            Regards.

  43. Hello Irene.

    Did your father re-acquire his Dutch nationality during the 1 April 2003 – 31 March 2013 option period?

    A passport is a travel document only. Passport and nationality are not synonyms.

    One either has the nationality of the country in order to request a passport or one does not.

    A valid passport does not mean one has retained the nationality of the country in question if that country’s laws provide for automatic loss of nationality under that country’s laws due to certain life events.

    Dutch nationality operates in this fashion: if there are certain life events that occur which would result in automatic loss of Dutch nationality, then Dutch nationality will be lost by operation of law.

    Please confirm whether your father re-acquired Dutch nationality during the above mentioned option period, because he qualified for its re-acquisition as he had resided for at least five (5) uninterrupted years in the country whose nationality he acquired as an adult. If he did not submit an option statement, then by which Dutch authority was it re-instated?

    Between 1905 and 1 January 1985, the age of majority under Dutch law was 21. If your father was age 21 on the day he acquired South African nationality, he would have been considered an adult under Dutch law. Your father did not have to give up his Dutch nationality. The loss occurred by operation of law.

    Best regards.

  44. Hi there
    I wonder if you could comment on my case?
    My father was born in the Netherlands in 1938 and came to South Africa when he was 13. He acquired citizenship in South Africa at age 21, in order to get a university bursary. He had to give up his dutch citizenship to do so.
    he fought to get it back around 10 years ago (aged 72)and won the case, on the basis that he was not considered an adult /had not achieved age of reason when he gave it up, and was given back his passport and citizenship around 2010.
    My brother and I were born in 1962 and 1964 after he had given up his dutch citizenship (later revoked), and were not able to apply for dutch citizenship.
    We sought advice as soon as he received his citizenship back and were told that we did not qualify for citizenship.
    Surely if we were unable to apply as children due to an invalid revocation of his citizenship, we should not be prejudiced by this situation?
    Could you comment?
    Thanks very much
    Irene Schuurmans

  45. 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.

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment