I have just noticed that the linked page on the Dutch identification requirement has changed. I do not know when or why it changed. It now reads

Identificeren bij dubbele nationaliteit

Heeft u naast de Nederlandse nationaliteit een andere nationaliteit? Dan kunt u zich in Nederland identificeren met uw Nederlandse identiteitsbewijs. Dat is geen wettelijke verplichting, maar werkt in de praktijk voor de meeste situaties het makkelijkst.

Translation, with emphasis added to show changes from the earlier version:

Identifying yourself if you have dual nationality

If you have another nationality in addition to that of the Netherlands, you may identify yourself in the Netherlands using your Netherlands identification document. This is not a legal requirement, but is simplest in most situations.

Original question:

In the Netherlands, there is a legal requirement to be able to show identification. Dutch citizens who are dual nationals must use their Dutch identification to comply with the law.

Identificeren bij dubbele nationaliteit

Heeft u naast de Nederlandse nationaliteit een andere nationaliteit? Dan moet u zich in Nederland identificeren met uw Nederlandse identiteitsbewijs.


Identifying yourself if you have dual nationality

If you have another nationality in addition to that of the Netherlands, you must identify yourself in the Netherlands using your Netherlands identification document.

Source: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/identificatieplicht/vraag-en-antwoord/met-welke-identiteitsbewijzen-kan-ik-mij-identificeren

It's not clear to me whether the law is meant to include in its scope the inspection of passports on crossing external borders, but it is certainly possible to read it as such. Government examples of situations in which authorities can demand ID do not include border controls; see, for example, https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/identificatieplicht/vraag-en-antwoord/wie-mag-vragen-naar-mijn-identiteitsbewijs-en-wanneer.

But the file Informatieblad Identificatieplicht says that the "Marechaussee can ask for your ID in the course of their duties." The Marechaussee is the border control authority for the Netherlands.

So the question, as indicated in the title, is whether a Dutch national who also has another nationality can use the foreign passport to enter the Netherlands. If it makes a difference, consider that the traveler lives outside the Schengen area and the EU, and is visiting for a short time rather than immigrating.

  • Will you already be in the Netherlands when you talk to the immigration officer? My understanding is that in that case you'll be required to use your Netherlands ID. But I'm no lawyer. Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 8:27
  • 1
    Why the question? Don't you have a Dutch ID (yet)?
    – user40521
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 10:31
  • @JanDoggen The question is to determine whether identificatieplicht applies to passport control. If the Dutch citizen in question has a Dutch passport or ID, is it permitted to use the passport of the other country of nationality?
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 14:01
  • The nature of passport control is identification, by definition. So it would boil down to: when you're queuing for passport control, are you "in the Netherlands"? If so, you need to show a Dutch passport. But that's logical reasoning, not necessarily what's stipulated in law (if it is at all).
    – user40521
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 14:04
  • 1
    The bigger question is what punishment exists for breaking this law, if it exists. As they say, if you're willing to do the time, do the crime.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 19:57

3 Answers 3


I suppose I may be one of a few people who can actually answer this question from experience - me, some family members, and some friends have all experienced this. This is all assuming your foreign passport is one that you can travel to the Netherlands with.

If you are a Dutch citizen but have never been issued any Dutch identity documents, the border officers won't see anything out of the ordinary and will admit you to the Netherlands.

If you are a Dutch citizen but have been issued Dutch identity documents - even if these are no longer valid - the border officers will probably be able to see that you are a Dutch citizen. In this case, things get a bit messy. They will probably ask you a few questions about your citizenship and why you do not have any Dutch identification documents. Then they will let you through.

Officially, the law seems to be ambiguous on this point. I've heard Dutch government officials give both points. In practice, you will almost certainly be admitted to the country without any fines or legal issues, as the officials will see you are following the spirit of the law if perhaps not the letter.

If you need to be 100% certain, if you hate the legal gray area, or if you absolutely need to avoid any delays, the easiest option is to travel to an adjacent country and then enter over land, where there is no border inspection. For example, Brussels is just 30 miles from the Dutch border and two hours away from Amsterdam, and if you are in the east of the country then Weeze airport is literally within walking distance of the Dutch border. As an added benefit: Weeze and Brussels are both usually cheaper to fly into than Amsterdam.

I, as well as a handful of friends in the Netherlands, have been stopped by police and government officials who demanded IDs several times. In all of these situations I provided only my American driver's license and was completely fine - even when I mentioned that I was a Dutch citizen. In other situations my friends have used passports from other countries and they have been completely fine. The letter of the law obviously disagrees with these police officers and officials, but in reality Dutch police/officials are very reasonable and only interested in the spirit of the law. The chance of getting a grumpy officer that doesn't like your situation - and tries to not admit you to the country or send you to jail - are absolutely microscopic.

  • About the border officers being able to see that the traveler is Dutch: The population register no longer records dual nationality; are your experiences from before or after this practice stopped in 2014? (I suppose that the passport database might still record foreign passports, though; I last renewed my Dutch passport in 2014 so I don't know whether they've stopped asking about foreign passports in the application.)
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 2:41
  • @phoog: thanks for the accept! for more info on my exact situation, I'm a Dutch-American who first entered the Netherlands when I was young and was a Dutch citizen but the Dutch gov't was unaware of this fact. Dutch officials at first tried to figure out the law but eventually said "screw it" and tore up the paperwork. I believe I did enter the country in 2014 with only an American passport, but that may have been 2013. In the past 2 years however I have entered the Netherlands many times with only my Dutch passport. Dutch friends of mine have entered w/o Dutch passport but I'm not sure when. Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 2:53

EDIT: ...als je door de douane gaat, zit je op internationaal grondgebied. (...) Dit heeft echter weinig te maken met rechtspraak. In het Verdrag van Tokyo is vastgelegd wie en wanneer jurisdictie heeft. In het geval van Schiphol heeft de Nederlandse wetshandhaving de jurisdictie, welke kan lopen tot in het vliegtuig zelf. Meaning: the law, if any, also applies to passport control at the border. END EDIT

So you are saying the law states that if you have dual citizenship you are required to show the Dutch ID. I have not been able to pin down the law that states this requirement. The link you posted to an information leaflet of the Dutch government states clearly that you should show your Dutch ID if you have one, but that doesn't mean it's the law. The law that deals with the requirement to be able to identify oneself does not say anything about dual citizens. http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0006297/2014-01-20

On the other hand, on https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/nederlandse-nationaliteit/inhoud/dubbele-nationaliteit it is stated that the Dutch government does not keep track of dual citizenship of its citizens anymore (since 2014). This would explain why the information leaflet tells you to use your Dutch ID: it saves time, for the people that have to make sure you are not breaking any laws for being in NL. If you show the police your US passport and there is no mention of an entry date to Schengen in their system, they have to check that you are not staying in NL illegally and that could just be prevented if they knew that you are a Dutch citizen.

So my answer to your question: you do not get a fine for showing your foreign passport at the border, because you do not break any law by doing that. However, you will be asked your estimated length of stay. If you do not intend to stay any longer than is allowed for any other US citizen, there is no problem. Possibly they recognize you in their database as a Dutch citizen and then if you cannot explain why you didn't show your Dutch ID, you will have to explain. That's all. The same goes for ID controls in the country, for example if you commit a traffic offence. There is no law that states that you get fined for showing a foreign ID as dual citizen, but police does have the mandate to control your right to be there. If you cannot prove that you are staying legally they have to hand you over to the "alien police" (yes, that's what they call it in NL). If you happened to enter for say 30 days, but then stay on for a year because you changed your mind you might get in trouble with the police if you do not show your Dutch ID (because you are not carrying it on you). It has probably happened before and that's why they don't like it: it's a huge waste of time and resources. I'm judging this all based on my experience of living in the Netherlands for 10 years in my youth: There are many rules that you have to follow, but if you do not behave you will only get punished or fined for breaking the law, not for breaking a rule. Of course you don't make many friends if you break too many rules...

  • The law doesn't expressly mention dual citizens, but it doesn't enumerate foreign (non-EU) passports among the acceptable documents. Instead, it makes reference to the Vreemdelingenwet 2000 for aliens. But a dual national isn't an alien, so those documents don't apply for dual nationals. I assume that this is the source of the requirement. But my real question is whether the law applies at the border. (The 10-year rule is not new; it's been in place since at least the 19th century, but has been modified several times. In its current form it dates from 2004; where do you get the 2013 date?)
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:19
  • I found the 2013 date here, but I misread, it is since 2003, doesn't make much sense like this though: mens-en-samenleving.infonu.nl/internationaal/… I guess what is new is the requirement to live a year in the Netherlands to renew this period: "Deze tien jaar zijn ingegaan in 2013. Je kunt voorkomen dat dit gebeurd door tussen 2003 en 2013 minimaal een jaar in Nederland te wonen en hier dus je hoofdverblijf te hebben." Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:31
  • But on ind.nl/nederlander-worden/Paginas/… I read that there is also the possibility to renew your passport on time, so the final note seems to be based on flawed information. I'll remove it from the answer. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:43
  • Actually, moving back to the Netherlands would also avoid the loss of nationality under the 1984 law (effective 1/1/1985, modified in 2003 and most recently in 2011), but what was new was the ability to forestall the loss of Dutch nationality by renewing the Dutch passport or getting a "Bewijs van Nederlanderschap" from the consulate.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:45
  • And to your question whether it applies at the border: if it's a rule and not a law, that would mean: "yes, it applies at the border as they need to determine if you can legally stay in NL", but you can get away with it if you behave like a foreign citizen and leave in time like a foreign citizen. Of course, if there's a law that I couldn't find my answer could be wrong :) Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 21:48

Basically, if you have a Dutch passport, it will not be a problem entering the Netherlands. If you use a foreign passport you might get some additional questions about why you are using that passport and not your Dutch passport. So, Jan Doggen is right, but i think you might get away using your American id, but i wouldn't count on that. Just bring your Dutch passport or ID card. Doesn't cost much extra space but it will make things so much easier.

  • 7
    This doesn't answer the question.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 9:40
  • How do you mean? I think i gave a quite clear answer in the first paragraph, last sentence. If you are already a dutch citizen, and thus have the dutch nationality, you must have a dutch passport or id card because of the identificationlaw we have(You must be able to show proof of Dutch citizenship, e.g. a ID card or passport when asked by the authorities). So in short: Yes, he needs to have a dutch identification.
    – Marco
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 9:56
  • 3
    Welcome to the site and thanks for trying to help! But @phoog is also a Dutch citizen (I think) and knows quite a bit about immigration, s/he is looking for authoritative information about that specific question.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 9:57
  • 2
    Welcome to the site. I think @Relaxed sums it up fairly well. Also, the site goal is to have a huge Q&A database. We want someone to google this question and use the answer. As such, we want questions to not be guesswork if possible. Personal experience is fine, authoritative references are best, but "I think you need it" isn't exactly what we're looking for. To improve your answer, can you elaborate on what the second part of your answer has to do with the question and add some references?
    – Belle
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 10:53
  • @Relaxed is correct. Consider also that the Dutch citizen lives outside the EU and the Schengen area, and wishes to enter the Netherlands for a short visit. The question is whether identificatieplicht or any other law requires the traveler to show Dutch documents to the passport control officer.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 14:06

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