Major increase of British citizens becoming Dutch, ahead of Brexit uncertainty

British citizens becoming Dutch

It’s no real surprise, but there has been a major increase in British citizens becoming Dutch since the UK voted for Brexit. The (still) incredibly uncertain event, has spooked some British citizens and they want to become Dutch in order to secure a definite residency within the Netherlands and other EU countries.

Although some have predicted that both British and Dutch nationals will be safe in either country, this still has not been properly negotiated, leading some to crave the certainty that they deserve. It is expected that the number of Brits applying for a Dutch passport will continue to rise. (Where do I sign up!?)

New figures from the immigration service IND show that before the UK voted to leave the EU (2015), 166 British citizens obtained a Dutch passport.  After the referendum (2016), 636 British citizens ‘went Dutch.’ (check here, and here all in Dutch) Numbers might be a bit out-of-context, with Dutch people living in the UK re-applying for Dutch citizenship. (out of the 86K British folk living in the Netherlands as you can find at the CBS).

Brits in the Netherlands as a whole dramatically went up as well, with an increase of 4.000 Brits living here (source). So the perceived trend with Brits fleeing the island in favor of the Netherlands (hi EMA!) is certainly spot on.


In other EU countries, approximately 17,000 British citizens applied for a foreign passport in the year following the referendum. 9,000 of these sought to become Irish – the highest number of any EU country.

Why is this a big deal?

Some British citizens claimed that losing their nationality was an emotional event. This is especially so, when some people have had to ‘trade in’ their nationality purely due to the Brexit vote. Losing your nationality is always going to be a pretty big deal.

Current procedures mean that people can apply for Dutch nationality if they’ve been living in the Netherlands for 3 years. (Only if they are married to a Dutchie). It is 5 years otherwise. This is subject to meeting all of the other conditions, such as integration exams etc. Currently, Dutch citizens living in the UK can apply for dual nationality. You wouldn’t get very far though, as Dutch law says that you can’t be a dual national anywhere else without giving back your Dutch passport (if you don’t meet the criteria).

In the Netherlands, this is also not possible for ‘first generation’ immigrants. This results in people having to completely renounce their nationality of birth. This is set to change, as the new coalition promised that it would modify and modernise this law. The chances of this happening any time soon though, is very slim, as nothing concrete has been discussed.

The Brexit s**tstorm continues.

Should the law be modernised ASAP? Any other rants? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.


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