Could you help me discover if I have a chance to obtain a Dutch passport?

All four of my grandparents were born in Holland. They immigrated to Canada after WWII. Both of my parents were born in Canada. My mom's parents had naturalized before she was born. My father's mother naturalized after he was born (not sure about his father).

Neither of my parents ever held a Dutch passport, but I was told that my father may in fact have been born with Dutch nationality.

No one can seem to find the true answer tot his question. Would you know? My blood is 100% Dutch, yet it seems weird that I do not have authority to live there.

  • 1
    Dutch nationality law is pretty aggressive about limiting dual nationality, but it is possible in some circumstances. In what year was your father born? In what year were you born?
    – phoog
    Jan 25, 2016 at 20:15
  • My dad was born in Canada in 1955. I was born in Canada in 1982.
    – laura
    Jan 25, 2016 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


To start with, my knowledge of Dutch nationality law is based on my own research because my circumstances are similar to yours. My circumstances are not the same as yours, though, and I am not very active in keeping my knowledge up to date, so please take this as a starting point in your own research, and not as a definitive answer to your question.

To summarize, I'm afraid that the answer does not look good for you: You may have been Dutch when you were born, but, if so, you probably lost your Dutch citizenship on 1 April 2013.

To determine definitively whether that is the case, it is critical to determine whether your paternal grandfather ever became Canadian, and, if so, when. In general, voluntarily acquiring another nationality results in the automatic loss of Dutch nationality.

Your mother's parents most likely lost their Dutch nationality when they naturalized in Canada. Since they did this before her birth, she did not have Dutch nationality at birth.

If your father's parents were married, then his mother's naturalization is unimportant, as he would only be able to inherit Dutch citizenship from his father. If his father naturalized before he was born, he would not have been Dutch at birth. Otherwise, he was Dutch at birth. If your father's parents were not married, the situation is more complicated, but in such a case he could have inherited his mother's Dutch nationality.

The rest of this assumes that your father was Dutch when he was born. If he was not, then the following is not relevant.

Under this assumption, the next question is whether your father was still Dutch when you were born. Since he was born in Canada, he did not aquire that citizenship voluntarily, so he was a dual national at birth. However, since he was born outside the kingdom, under the 1892 nationality law he lost his Dutch citizenship by residing outside the kingdom for ten years after he turned 21. He was born in 1955, so this happened in 1986, after you were born. (Or, if the ten-year period was reset when the law changed in 1985, he lost his Dutch nationality in 1995; that's still after you were born, of course.) You were probably therefore Dutch when you were born.

(I also assume that your father never had a Dutch passport or other document showing Dutch nationality; if he did, that would have reset the 10-year clock, and things get fairly complicated in that case, because of the following.)

The provision for dual citizens losing Dutch nationality based on residence outside the kingdom was tweaked a few times, starting in the 1980s. From 1985, a dual national born in the country of the other nationality would lose Dutch nationality by living for ten years in that country. The ten years began when the person turned 18. This would have applied to you when you turned 28 in 2010, except for the fact that this law was changed in 2003. You were therefore Dutch in 2003, and we need to look at the changed rule.

The 2003 rule provides that a Dutch citizen who holds another nationality and lives anywhere outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or the EU for an uninterrupted period of ten years loses Dutch nationality. The ten year period starts on April 1, 2003, or on the 18th birthday, whichever is later. (The ten year period can be reset, however, by acquiring a passport or other nationality document such as a consular declaration of Dutch nationality.)

You turned 18 in 2000, so your ten year period started on April 1, 2003. If the assumption about your grandfather is true, and if my analysis concluding that you were Dutch on April 1, 2003 is correct, and if you never got a Dutch passport or lived in the EU or the Carribean Netherlands for a year or longer between 2003 and 2013, then I'm afraid you would have lost your Dutch nationality on April 1, 2013. (There is another exception that probably doesn't apply: marrying someone who is abroad in the service of the Dutch government or an international organization to which the Netherlands belongs, or being such a person's unmarried partner.)

Finally, there are several ways for former Dutch citizens to regain their Dutch nationality. Most of the simplified procedures appear not to apply to you, but it seems that if you can get a non-temporary residence permit in the Netherlands for one year, you can apply to regain your Dutch nationality without having to be naturalized. Follow the links below for more information.

To conclude, as you can see, this is all very complicated. If you want to be sure not to leave any stone unturned in your effort to become a Dutch citizen, you should probably do the following, and consider working with a Dutch lawyer:

  • Determine if and when your paternal grandfather naturalized in Canada
  • Read the law yourself to see whether there is some aspect of it that applies to you but which I might have glossed over under the assumption that it is irrelevant
  • Apply to the Dutch consulate for a declaration of Dutch nationality, to get an official ruling (rather than relying on this lay analysis)
  • If the Dutch authorities find that you are in fact a former Dutch citizen, investigate the options available to you to regain Dutch citizenship.



Official information about Dutch nationality and regaining lost Dutch nationality:


  • Wow!! This information is so in depth! Thank you so much for looking into it and answering my query. I will have to find out when my grandfather became a naturalized Canadian. My dad nor I ever had Dutch passports and never lived in NL. I married a British guy 6 years ago and am trying to get my marriage visa - I Just thought (hoped) this may be a quick and easy solution as the British visa process is not easy and I was rejected a year ago. For some reason I feel like I can plea of case of WWII. My grandfather was a prisoner of war and this is the reason why he left.If the war had never left
    – laura
    Jan 25, 2016 at 23:33
  • And if he hadn't left I would've been born in Holland.
    – laura
    Jan 25, 2016 at 23:35
  • 1
    @laura If your husband can live in another EU country for six months or more you can move there with him very easily and probably sidestep the British visa problem using the Surinder Singh route. That country could be the Netherlands, in which case you might be able to become Dutch more quickly than you otherwise would if you stay there a bit longer.
    – phoog
    Jan 25, 2016 at 23:44
  • 4
    @laura as to the WWII angle: if your grandfather hadn't left Holland would he have met your grandmother? Would your parents have met? Would you have been born at all? This kind of reasoning won't get you anywhere in terms of a citizenship application unless there's a specific provision of the law you can capitalize on. As far as I know, there isn't.
    – phoog
    Jan 26, 2016 at 3:24
  • That is true about the Surinder Singh...but he isn't wanting to go to another EU country as we are trying to put roots down here in UK.
    – laura
    Jan 27, 2016 at 20:17

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