When a foreign national chooses to become a Dutch citizen, this calls for a celebration.
In the Netherlands we celebrate this on Naturalisation Day. This is the day on which people who naturalise as Dutch citizens are presented with an official certificate showing that they have become Dutch citizens. Naturalisation Day is held on 15 December of each year. The IND processes about 25,000 naturalisation applications per year.
The very first Naturalisation Day took place on 24 August 2006. Up till then the naturalisation decisions were sent by post. In 2008, it was decided to celebrate Naturalisation Day on 15 December, the same day as Kingdom Day. Kingdom Day commemorates the signing of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1954. This Charter defines the relations between the Netherlands and the other countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
As of 2007, all municipalities must each year organise a naturalisation ceremony on 15 December. The naturalisation ceremony is the final part in becoming a Dutch citizen. For people of 16 years and older who wish to become a Dutch citizen, joining the ceremony is mandatory.
Apart from the ceremony held on Naturalisation Day, municipalities may also organise additional ceremonies on other days.
The naturalisation ceremony focuses on the significance of Dutch nationality and solidarity with Dutch society. It also focuses on the rights (for example the right to vote) and obligations (for example to be sufficiently integrated) that come with Dutch citizenship.
All 'new' citizens make the declaration of solidarity during the naturalisation ceremony. There are 2 versions of the declaration of solidarity. The oath, for those who are religious:
'I swear that I will respect the constitutional order of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, its liberties and rights and I swear that I will faithfully fulfil the duties which this citizenship imposes on me.' Followed by: 'So help me God.'
And for those who so choose, the solemn affirmation:
'I declare that I will respect the constitutional order of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, its liberties and rights and I declare and promise that I will faithfully fulfil the duties which this citizenship imposes on me.' Followed by: 'This I declare and promise.'
The Mayor thereby issues the decision of Dutch citizenship to which that person then officially becomes a Dutch citizen.
Mansour Karboub left his parents' home when he was 12. After many detours, the Moroccan butcher came to the Netherlands in 2004 for love. He became a Dutch citizen on Naturalisation Day.
Read his story.
Geysa Heyer became a Dutch citizen on Naturalisation Day. Read her story.