Reacquiring Dutch nationality

Loss of Dutch nationality can have wide ranging effects on the rights an individual can enjoy in the European Union. Loss of the Dutch nationality often occurs automatically and without notification to the individual. This means that sometimes individuals are not aware of their loss of nationality until a later date. When an individual loses their Dutch nationality, they will be considered a ‘former Dutch national’. This article explains how loss of Dutch nationality occurs as well as how former Dutch nationals may be able to reacquire their former nationality and, subsequently, reacquire their rights.

Loss of Dutch nationality

There are several ways in which one can lose their Dutch nationality. For adults, Dutch nationality will be lost if they:

  • Voluntarily acquire another nationality (other than that of their spouse);
  • Renounce their Dutch nationality;
  • Have a second nationality and live outside of the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period of thirteen years; or
  • Do not renounce their existing nationality when going through the naturalization process.

Dutch nationality is lost for children if:

  • The child is adopted by a non-Dutch couple and acquires the nationality of that couple;
  • The child already has dual nationality and the child’s Dutch mother or father voluntarily acquires the non-Dutch nationality that the child possesses; or
  • The child already has dual nationality and the child’s Dutch mother or father renounces their Dutch nationality.

Reacquiring Dutch nationality

There are a number of ways of reacquiring Dutch nationality for former Dutch nationals. The easiest way is through an expedited procedure called “option”. The advantage of option over naturalization is that no Dutch language test is required and, in most circumstances, the individual will not be required to renounce their existing nationalities.

Chapter 3, Article 6(f) of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap states that (with limited exceptions) Dutch nationality will be granted through the option procedure to former Dutch nationals who have lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for one year on the basis of a valid residence permit.  

In order to submit an application for Dutch nationality under the option procedure, an individual will need to apply at his or her local municipality. The individual has to bring a valid passport and Dutch residence permit. After the appointment, a decision on the application will be made in 13 weeks.

Minor children of the individual opting for Dutch nationality can also be included in the application.

Eligibility for a residence permit

As previously explained, if one wants to reacquire their Dutch citizenship through option, they will first need to live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for one year on the basis of a valid residence permit. There are a few options for residence permit types in this case.

On the basis of article of the Vreemdelingencirculaire 2000(B), some former Dutch nationals may be eligible for a Dutch permanent residence permit. The conditions that must be met are that:

  1. the individual lost their Dutch nationality within the past two years;
  2. the individual continued to reside in the Netherlands since the loss of their nationality, and
  3. at the time they acquired Dutch nationality they had resided in the Netherlands for five consecutive years.

If the criteria cannot be met, individuals will need to pursue an alternative type of residence permit. Options could be an employment based permit, a Dutch American Friendship Treaty permit, a self-employment permit, or a family permit.


If you are uncertain whether you are eligibile to regain Dutch nationality, feel free to email Ashley Bruce at She can help assess your case.