Netherlands - Council of State (Raad van State), ECLI:NL:RVS:2016:735

The applicant naturalised in the Netherlands in 2003, but the naturalisation was withdrawn in 2013 when the authorities found out she had a criminal conviction in Belgium in 2000 that she failed to mention in her naturalisation application. The applicant argued that the decision depriving her of her Dutch nationality is disproportionate, among others in light of EU law and Rottmann judgment, in particular due to her becoming stateless as a result, and the difficulties she may face re-acquiring her original Ghanaian nationality. The Court rejected the appeal and upheld the decision denaturalising the applicant. 

Case name (in original language)
Case status
Case number
Date of decision
Court / UN Treaty Body
Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Language(s) the decision is available in
Applicant's country of birth
Applicant's country of residence

The applicant naturalised in the Netherlands in 2003, but her nationality was withdrawn again in 2013 because on her naturalisation application she failed to mention that in 2000 she was convicted to seven months prison sentence and a fine for selling drugs. If the applicant had mentioned this conviction, she would not have qualified for naturalisation. 

Decision & Reasoning

The Court reasoned as follows:

"3. The applicant has argued that the withdrawal of her Dutch nationality is not justified because of the consequences related to loss of EU citizenship rights. [She argued that she] did not deliberately conceal the offence referred to [above]. She did not specify the offence on the application, because she was under the impression that offences committed outside the Netherlands were not relevant to the naturalization procedure. Furthermore, she did not fully understand the questionnaire because she had insufficient command of the Dutch language. The criminal conviction does not constitute a permanent obstacle to naturalization as a Dutch citizen. After the rehabilitation period, she would be able to naturalize without any problems. She has been convicted only once. The loss of Dutch citizenship results in statelessness. She has not been granted some additional time to attempt to regain her original Ghanaian nationality. The residence rights of her children depend on her nationality. Due to the withdrawal of her Dutch nationality her children will lose their right of residence in Belgium. Moreover, the time between granting and withdrawing her Dutch nationality was ten years, as the applicant submitted." 


"The authorities rightly took the position that the applicant has not has not demonstrated that she cannot regain Ghanaian nationality and will therefore become stateless. The applicant has not yet taken any concrete steps to regain that nationality. Insofar as the applicant has stated that she needs a birth certificate to submit an application, and that it is difficult for her to obtain, the authorities rightly considered that this should be for her own responsibly, that is without even considering that the applicant has not substantiated this assertion."


The court upheld the administrative decision withdrawing naturalisation of the applicant, leaving her stateless as a result.