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From Liberal to Restrictive Citizenship Policies: the Case of the Netherlands

Author(s): Ricky Van Oers

Journal: International Journal of Multicultural Societies
ISSN 1817-4574

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 40;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Dutch citizenship | citizenship tests | migration | Netherlands

In the Netherlands, on 1 April 2003, a four-hour, partiallycomputerised naturalisation test was introduced. This formalisation of the language and integration tests for naturalisation coincided with a rise in the level of language proficiency required and the introduction of questions on knowledge of Dutch society. This test significantly raised the barriers to becoming a Dutch citizen. In the first year after it was introduced, the number of applications for naturalisation decreased by 70 per cent. How can this restrictive turn in Dutch citizenship policy be explained? Have the goals of the test been attained in practice? These are the main questions addressed in this paper.

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