Council of State judgment on former Dutch nationals’ EU rights

On 12 February 2020 the Council of State issued a judgment on the case centring on whether loss of Dutch nationality, as laid down in the Netherlands Nationality Act, is contrary to European Union law. The case relates to a specific group of former Dutch nationals.

Examples of rights under EU law include the right to free movement and residence within the EU, or the right to consular assistance outside the EU from another member state. Individuals have these rights when they hold the nationality of an EU member state.

The Council of State's judgment relates to former Dutch nationals who, under the current provisions laid down in the Netherlands Nationality Act, have automatically lost their Dutch nationality and, with it, their rights as EU citizens.

Which former Dutch nationals does the judgment relate to?

If a Dutch national lives outside the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba or St Maarten or in a non-EU country for more than 10 years, they may automatically lose their Dutch nationality. The case brought before the Council of State specifically relates to former Dutch nationals who, since 1 April 2003, have:

  • lived for more than 10 consecutive years outside the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten or outside the EU;
  • have not held a valid Dutch passport, identity card or nationality certificate for 10 years or more; and
  • during that entire 10-year period, held another non-EU nationality in addition to Dutch nationality.

If a parent loses their Dutch nationality in these circumstances, their minor children can also lose their Dutch nationality.

What does the judgment mean for this group?

The Council of State's judgment is currently being looked at in detail by central government. Central government believes it is important to clearly set out what this judgment means for the group of former Dutch nationals in question. More information on what this judgment means and its impact will be set out as soon as possible on and

You can also find more information on the Council of State's judgment in the Council's press release (in Dutch).