Cabinet: liberating the Dutch from second nationality tricky

The cabinet sees no possibilities to help Dutch citizens with dual nationality to get rid of this. Under international law, it is not possible to force countries to renounce their nationality.

A group of twelve Moroccan Dutch people in a manifesto asked the Dutch government and society for support in their struggle for the abolition of dual nationality. People of Moroccan origin automatically receive Moroccan nationality, even if they were born here.

Today, the House of Representatives is debating the issue.


Around 400,000 people of Moroccan origin live in the Netherlands. Not only the first generation of guest workers will always remain Moroccan, but all subsequent generations will also be attached to it.

โ€œ The group of Dutch people with a Moroccan nationality in addition to a Dutch and Moroccan nationality only gets bigger. You have to think about the future, too. These are full Dutch people,โ€ says Mohammed Amesses, one of the signatories of the manifesto.

Amesses is pleased that it has succeeded in getting this issue on the agenda of the House of Representatives. But he sees little change yet. โ€œEconomic interests are too great for the Netherlands to appeal to Morocco on assigning Moroccan nationality,โ€ he fears.


According to Amesses, it was clear in this corona period that Moroccan nationality is annoying for Moroccan Dutch people. People who were on holiday or family visits in Morocco were stuck there when the borders closed in the first wave. People with only Dutch nationality were allowed to leave the country after interference from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to Amesses.

At that time, Ab Taheri, who also signed the manifesto, received many calls from Morocco with requests for help. โ€œThey said they want to go home, but Morocco said: Youre already at home. They were not seen by Morocco as Dutch people,โ€ says Taheri.

According to Taheri, the majority of Dutch Moroccans are not involved in the debate on dual nationality. They only see advantages. โ€œUntil it hits you, for example because you are critical of how Morocco copes with the protests in the Rif areaโ€. According to Taheri, you can have problems with customs or with the police when you are in Morocco.

Independent international law advice

The Cabinet now promises to ask a special international committee (CAVV) for an independent opinion on the right to renounce nationality. Because there are no unambiguous rules on this, such an opinion makes sense, writes the Minister responsible for Great Tit to the House of Representatives.

The cabinet does not feel like a proposal by D66-MP Jan Paternotte to introduce a special register of Unwanted Nationality. According to him, this could be a handing out to people who want to get rid of their innate nationality.

But the Cabinet doesnt think thats an effective solution. โ€œThe problem lies mainly in the fact that the other country considers the person concerned to be his national. A Dutch register of Unwanted Nationality, which only applies to the Dutch situation, will not change that much,โ€ says Koolmees.

The authors of the manifesto are in favour of such a register and also of an international register. According to them, this puts pressure on countries to change their policies.

Dual nationality bill

The discussion on the second nationality of Moroccans in particular is regularly reflected in the political and public debate. Especially the PVV, but also the VVD repeatedly questioned the loyalty of people with dual nationality.

PVV leader Wilders believes that Dutch people who do not distance from their dual nationality should lose their voting rights. Nor should they be allowed to run for political positions. He submitted a bill in February 2019 with a request for advice from the Council of State. That opinion has not yet been made public by Wilders, the Raad van State will inform you if requested.

Moreover, it is not only impossible for Moroccan Dutch people to get rid of their original nationality. The same applies to people with a background in Algeria, Angola, Argentina, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic. Ecuador, Eritrea, Greece, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Mexico, Nicaraqua, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Tonga, Tunisia and Uruguay.

According to the Cabinet, a large proportion of the people who come from there do not seem to regard second nationality as problematic and undesirable.