Government backs special naturalisation day

24th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 June 2005AMSTERDAM — The government has agreed to a proposal by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to introduce a special ceremony day for all newcomers who become Dutch citizens.

24 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — The government has agreed to a proposal by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to introduce a special ceremony day for all newcomers who become Dutch citizens.

During the year other smaller ceremonies will be held to mark the completion of the citizenship procedure by newcomers in their local municipality.

Verdonk will now discuss what form the ceremonies should take with local government body VNG.

When her department announced on Friday morning that the proposal was going before the Cabinet it was presented as a "national holiday". But the press release confirming the government's acceptance of the idea referred to a "ceremony day" and did not mention a "national holiday".

The proposal was one of the ideas from Parliament that Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk feels would add some splendour to the naturalisation process. "Integrating and naturalisation should become a big party," she told MPs last year.

Parliamentarians argued last year the current naturalisation process lacked grandeur and should be replaced by an official ceremony in which the local mayor would present Dutch passports to newly naturalised citizens.

MP Mirjam Sterk likened the way it is done now to the collection of a parking permit.

The Immigration and naturalisation Service (IND) handles 30,000 to 40,000 applications every year from people who want to become Dutch citizens.

Foreign nationals who want to become Dutch nationals must have resided legally in the Netherlands for 5 years or more and hold a valid residence permit for an indefinite period of time or for a residence purpose that is not temporary.

The newcomer must be sufficiently integrated and must be able to speak, read, write and understand Dutch and must be prepared in some circumstances to give up their own nationality.

Applicants must not have spent any time in prison — or have been fined extensively in the past four years.

Several other countries have already take steps to recognise newly naturalised citizens. Australia has 'National Australia Day' and Canada marks the event every year.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news + naturalisation

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