The four-year period between the 2016 referendum and now saw three times as many apply as the four years before then
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Between the 2016 Brexit referendum and the present day, 72 Frisian Britons have applied for Dutch nationality, and according to research by the Omrop Fryslân, this is three times as many as the equivalent four-year period 2012 to 2016. In that period only 23 British people wished to get Dutch nationality.
The municipalities of Leeuwarden, Smallingerland (Drachten), and Heerenveen had the largest numbers of applications. In Friesland as a whole 16 people applied for Dutch nationality in 2018, and the number rose to 30 in 2019.
“We want rid of our British passports”, is the most-often given reason, according to Hillegard Hazelhoff from Burgerzaken in Leeuwarden. “They [British people] are uncertain about their residency rights”, she added.
After Brexit but in 2020 everything will remain eerily similar to the current situation, but, says Hazelhoff: “after 2020 it is uncertain. Could you, for example, switch a driving license? Or would you first have to take new driving lessons? These are the sorts of areas that are very uncertain.”
After large amounts of movement back and forth, the United Kingdom will cease to be a member state of the European Union at midnight (Brussels time) on Friday. After this, the UK will be in a ‘transition period’, and all British citizens in the Netherlands will have to obtain a residence permit. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will begin asking British citizens to attend an appointment to give their biometric information in the near future.
British (and other) citizens who would like more information about Brexit can follow the IND’s regularly-updated information page here. The International Welcome Center North is also available for information and questions with no appointment needed.