20 Dutch people lose citizenship over terrorism, national security concerns

So far, the Netherlands has permanently revoked 20 people’s Dutch citizenship due to a conviction for a terrorist crime (6) or in the interest of national security (14), Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz reported in a letter to parliament. The State has had this administrative authority for several years, based on two different articles of law.

The number will increase in the coming time because the State has made more decisions to withdraw Dutch citizenship, but the court or Council of State is still considering the decisions. Dutch citizenship can only be revoked if the person involved also has another nationality.

So far, 25 people who have been irrevocably convicted of a terrorist crime have had their Dutch citizenship revoked. Six of them are now definite, eight are still pending in court, and four have an appeal at the Council of State. The other cases are still in the objection phase. The Minister reports that for some of those convicted of terrorism who are now definitely no longer Dutch, it is not yet possible to let them leave the country voluntarily or forcibly.

In addition, in 24 cases, the Netherlands decided to withdraw Dutch citizenship in the interest of national security. These involve people who went to join a terrorist organization in Syria or Iraq. In addition to the 14 definite withdrawals, the State itself scrapped five decisions, and a court annulled or is still appealing the other cases.

A remarkable cancelation of revoked citizenship happened in December 2022. The government wanted to revoke a person’s citizenship for national security. But the Council of State ruled in the complainant’s favor because the group to which the person was affiliated was not correctly formulated on the list of terrorist organizations.

It involved a person who joined a group affiliated with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). HTS itself was third on the list of terrorist organizations, after AL Qaeda and ISIS. But unlike the first two groups, the phrase “and organizations that are affiliated to…” was missing. The Council of State found that a reason to scrap the withdrawal. The phrase was later added to HTS.

Reporting by ANP

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