June 18, 2012

Back Into the Fold (On Being Dutch Again)


The Dutch have recently introduced a rather controversial law. It’s about dual nationality. Actually, it is a law that has been in place for quite some time, but this time it is serious. As a Dutch, you are not allowed to have a second nationality. This does not apply to those Dutch that had another nationality before they became Dutch, for those Dutch whose native country does not permit its citizens to ‘ondo’ themselves of their previous nationality, such as the Moroccans,  for refugees, or for those that are jewish, as being jewish automatically makes you eligible for an Israeli passport.

To all the other suckers, you are either Dutch, or you’re not. For most Dutch living in Lebanon, this has been a royal pain in the you-know-what. The bureaucracy that comes with not carrying Lebanese papers is this place is so mind-boggling, that every Dutch in this place has gone for Lebanese papers.

Equally mind-boggling, a bright mind at the Dutch embassy in Beirut has made it a mission to make sure that nobody, and I mean NOBODY, gets away with this horrendous crime against humanity. And so quite a few of us have lost our Dutch nationality at one point or another. To get it back (which is only possible until somewhere in 2013, so make haste) is again quite a mind-boggling procedure. Mine took a good year, with weekly trips to the religious court where I had to prove I had never divorced and remarried the man who was the father of all my children.

This law, by the way, is meant to make sure that we do not mistake where we place our loyalties. You should have seen us during the Dutch soccer match last night, talking about loyalty. Unfortunately, what side you are on during a soccer match does not guarantee the Dutch nationality.  

And it is just too ridiculous for words in most cases.  People with names like ‘Jantje Smit’, whose families have lived in Holland for centuries, who were born and raised in Holland, whose first language is Dutch, risk being ‘un-Dutched’. All in the name of the law.


For instance, the case of this Dutchie (who was not a Dutchie anymore when this photo was taken); She has 7 family members (husband, 4 children and 2 grandchildren; hence the 7 fingers) who all carry the Dutch nationality. None of them have Dutch names, nor did they ever live in Holland. She is actually the only REAL DUTCH in the entire family, born and bred in the Netherlands. Yet she lost her Dutch nationality, while the other 7 are still legally Dutch.   

But she got it back today! So please, welcome (back) this lost soul back into the Dutch community.

3 comments:

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Sami O said...

Hi Sietske

My Danish wife and I (I'm Lebanese) are moving to Lebanon this summer and since Denamrk has the same dual citizenship regulations as Holland, I was a bit worried when you said "The bureaucracy that comes with not carrying Lebanese papers is this place is so mind-boggling,that every Dutch in this place has gone for Lebanese papers. " !!

Would you mind giving me some clarfiications on that? What are the main problems that she might face as a foreigner here? Are you talking about work, pension, university degrees etc? Or more about residence, driving licence and every day life?

Sorry If I'm asking for too much, I don't need any details just the main points (u can answer by email if you prefer). Thanks!!