After 16 years of living in the Netherlands as expat I decided to become 100% Dutch. Practically it means applying for Dutch citizenship. As I have been living here for a relatively long time, speak fluent Dutch, etc. it turned out to be mostly a question of money. I can become indeed subject of His Royal Highness William-Alexander for a scarce 950 euro! Because my son is under 18 I can take him with me on this adventure, all included.
The only question I was asked was about Staatsexamen Dutch (which does not only test your knowledge of Dutch but also the ability to function in the society). Since I passed this exam 11 years ago there was no further hassle. I could pay at the counter and then wait for a letter from the Dutch authorities inviting me to the citizenship ceremony.
Detail: in order to be able to keep my new Dutch passport I need as well to get rid of my Polish one (see above). It is not that easy, involves a lot of bureaucracy and costs quite a lot of money.
Conclusion: switching passports is a complicated and costly endeavor. Why would I bother?
My consideration had been the future of my son who has been born here but also my own. I am looking forward to be able to vote and feel I can participate fully in the social and political scene.
Another reason: as my own surname is very difficult to pronounce for a Dutch person I could consider to change it.
New citizenship, new passport, new name.
Somewhere in the background it feels very painful that in order to do that I need to give up my Polish passport.
Thoughts like identity, roots, belonging, loyalty zoomed in my head. A paper does not make me who I am; it mainly facilitates travel and regulates practical aspects of living here. Yet this little booklet has some more unspoken value to me. As I am asked to get rid of it in order to apply for a new booklet absurdity of it all struck me today. As an old song goes: Imagine there is no countries, it’s easy when you try….
Looking forward to my new Dutch booklet? Not really…..The price I am paying seems high not only in monetary terms.