Quick tip: Of Dutch descent? You may be a latent citizen

A Dutch law for latent citizens allow some children and even grandchildren of Dutch citizens to claim Dutch citizenship. Until 2003, ‘latent citizenship’ was only recognized for foreign-born children of Dutch male citizens. But current equality laws have broadened the eligibility so since 2003 foreign-born children of Dutch women have also been able to claim latent Dutch citizenship. In some cases, grandchildren of a Dutch woman also qualify. Please consult the links beneath for the details about eligibility and consult your consulate for details about your own specific situation.

Dutch woman in traditional costume

Dutch woman in traditional costume. Image credits: Nationaal Archief

More information

This article first appeared on 1 April 2014, when the article stated that anyone of Dutch descent was now eligible. This was an April Fool’s joke; eligibility is limited to children and in some cases grandchildren of Dutch citizens and not available to more distant descendants. The article has since been altered to show the correct information.
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Kathy Lisowski says:

    You got me there! I do not know about giving up my US citizenship, but it does look like a beautiful place!

  2. Eric Dunbar says:

    FYI The law that allowed latente Nederlanders (latent Dutch) to opt for Dutch nationality took effect on the 1st of October, 2010.

    “Latente Nederlanders” are people born before 1/1/1985 to a Dutch mother (who was a Dutch national AT THE TIME OF THE BIRTH) and a non-Dutch father.

    Prior to 1985 Dutch nationality law followed early 20th century convention and required children to take on the nationality of their father.

    From 1985 to 1987 there existed a window of opportunity for people under the age of 21 to opt for Dutch nationality, but, it wasn’t properly advertised, especially for people living in the Netherlands so many people lost out (I know my life would’ve been completely different and I would’ve made very different choices had I been a Dutch citizen).

    So, starting in the early 2000′s a decade long lobbying effort started. After years and years of lobbying (many thanks to Everaert Advocaten who devoted their professional resources to lobbying on our behalf) the law was finally changed. No thanks to the right wing VVD, the radical right (and xenophobic) PVV and a small ultraconservative Christian party who all sought to block the law (though, they were in the extreme minority in Parliament :).

    PS The opportunities to (re)gain Dutch nationality that were implemented in the 2003 revision of the nationality law expired last year (10 years from). There is now no expiry date for the process for latente Nederlanders, though, I would recommend that eligible and interested individuals complete the required paperwork sooner rather than later.

    • Karl Beardsley says:

      Hi Eric, who can I get in contact with to find out if I will be eligible for this. I have a Dutch Oma and Opa.

  3. Harrison Bateman says:

    Hello Eric,

    I too have an oma and opa and would like to know more about if having citizenship in the netherlands would be available to me. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    • chriszelle says:

      Hi Harrison

      Did anybody ever get back to you regarding citizenship through your grandparents. My grandmother was also born in the Netherlands so I would also like to get my EU passport.

      Please let me know if you managed to get any info.


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