The Netherlands registers highest number of naturalisations since 1990s
Last year, over 49.000 people went through the naturalisation process to become Dutch citizens, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has reported - the highest number recorded since 1999.
The Netherlands records 49.000 naturalisations in 2020
2020 saw almost double the number of naturalisations as 2019, and CBS attributes this sudden and significant increase to the 2014 / 2015 migrant crisis. Six years ago, thousands of Eritreans and Syrian refugees settled in the Netherlands, with 2020 marking the year they had lived in the country long enough to apply for a Dutch passport.
In comparison to the late 1990s when most of the people who applied for Dutch citizenship were of either Moroccan, Turkish, or Yugoslavian descent, of the people who obtained Dutch citizenship in 2020, approximately 18.000 originally held either Syrian or Eritrean nationality. A further 4.000 came from Russia or India.
Applying to become a Dutch citizen
In order to be eligible for a Dutch passport, citizens must live in the Netherlands for at least five years and, unless granted an exception, pass their civic integration exams, which require them to study Dutch history, culture, and language. In addition to around 49.300 naturalisations, 7.000 people obtained Dutch citizenship through other means, such as legal adoption.
Few EU nationals living as expats in the Netherlands chose to adopt Dutch citizenship, as CBS argues a Dutch passport offers few benefits to those who are already able to benefit from free movement within the bloc.