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Citizenship denied to ‘Dutch’ children

Published on August 03, 2006

3 August 2006

AMSTERDAM — Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has turned down a request to grant citizenship to a group of children of Dutch mothers.

Lawyer Stans Goudsmit of the Amsterdam-firm Everaert, who is representing the 250 adults, said she will now consider taking court action. Her decision will be dependent on the outcome of a debate in parliament later this month on Verdonk’s proposal to further restrict dual citizenship.

The issue relates to children born before 1985 to a Dutch mother and a foreign father. Until that time children from a mixed marriage were automatically granted Dutch citizenship only if the father was Dutch.

Mothers in such relationships could not transfer their nationality on to their children even though their offspring often felt Dutch. They faced difficulties when trying to visit their families in the Netherlands or come here to live.

The inequality was abolished in 1985 and there was a three-year transition period during which the children could opt to become Dutch. Verdonk contends that there was sufficient knowledge about the scheme for 47,000 people to avail of it and she sees no reason to re-open it now.

Members of the group claim it was not well publicised. Goudsmit said on Thursday that many people, particularly those living abroad, did know about the arrangement and only heard about it after 1988. She estimated 30,000 people could be in this situation.

The lawyer noted that other European countries, including the UK, Denmark and Hungary, have recently changed similarly discriminatory citizenship laws. 

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news