Cabinet: silent diplomacy on second nationality

The Cabinet sees most in silent diplomacy to help people get rid of their second nationality. That was what Minister Koolmees said in a Chamber debate about an own-initiative note by D66-MP Paternotte. He has attracted himself to the fate of Dutch people who have a second passport besides a Dutch and actually want to get rid of that second passport.

Several countries make it virtually impossible to waive a second nationality. In the Netherlands, this problem affects people with Moroccan backgrounds, for example, but Syrian refugees can also face it.


Paternotte mentioned in the Chamber as an example that last spring many Moroccan Dutch people who visited family in Morocco were not allowed to leave that country because of the corona measures. The argument was that they were “at home anyway”. People without Moroccan nationality could travel to the Netherlands.

Paternotte also referred to applicants with dual nationality who want a security position. With them, the procedure often takes longer, because the examination by, for example, the AIVD is more complicated.

D66, and in fact the vast majority of the Chamber, believe that people should have freedom of choice in this respect. But almost everyone also sees the practical problems: countries themselves deal with their own rules and they cannot be obliged to change them.


The Cabinet also understands the need of people to make their own choice and decide for themselves whether they hold their second nationality. Great tit acknowledged that some may experience second nationality as oppressive, as is also evidenced by a 2019 manifesto of a number of Dutch with Moroccan descent. But he also stressed that nationality laws are the competence of states. The Cabinet would like to call on other countries to reconsider their laws. “But you cant force them,” said the minister.

According to Great Mees, the Cabinet has brought the subject to the attention of Morocco, for example, in the context of a broader dialogue. But he didnt want to go deep into that. “Its hard to talk public about silent diplomacy. And if it only comes from one side and only calls you loud, you will not get much further and there is a great risk that you will not achieve anything at all.” Since 2014, no second nationalities have been included in the Basic Registration Personal Data.

Register unwanted nationality

Paternotte has also proposed the creation of a register in which Dutch people can indicate that they consider their second nationality undesirable. If many people do so, that would be a signal and could serve as a crowbar in the direction of other countries is the reasoning of the D66.

The Cabinet sees nothing in such a register as it is managed by the state. “A Dutch register applies to the Dutch situation and does not change the second nationality”, said Secretary of State Broekers-Knol. She wants to think about a register like that kept by a private party.