Increased likelihood of losing Dutch citizenship

Minister Opstelten (Security and Justice) wants to be able to revoke Dutch citizenship in more cases, after prior criminal conviction for giving or following terrorist training. The Minister submitted a proposal for amendment to the House of Representatives, which satisfies a request from The Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

According to the legislative proposal which was submitted to the House of Representatives in September 2014, Dutch citizenship can only be revoked if the criminal offence was committed after the bill entered into force. This limits the possibilities of revoking the citizenship of jihadists who are currently participating in a terrorist training camp in Syria or Iraq, for example. This is undesirable, according to Opstelten, in view of the number of travellers leaving for these countries and the latest international developments. He is therefore amending the legislative proposal, so that the Dutch citizenship of the current group of travellers to Syria can also be revoked, on condition that a final conviction was not yet handed down prior to this bill coming into force.

This once again emphasises the fact that Dutch citizenship may not in any way facilitate anyone in committing foreign terrorist acts or in preparing individuals to commit terrorist acts, says the Minister.

The decision to revoke Dutch citizenship is reserved for the Minister of Security and Justice, and is an administrative measure which follows a final criminal conviction. Revocation will always be checked for proportionality, in accordance with European case law, and may not lead to statelessness. There is a possibility to object to the decision to revoke Dutch citizenship, and thereafter there is a possibility to appeal to the courts.