After a recent vacation to the United States, I decided to start seeking Dutch nationality again.
(Willem ten Broek)
This isn't to say that I had any revelations about America while I was there. It just really doesn't feel more like home than Holland does anymore.
I tried to become Dutch once before, and actually was naturalized, but I was later stripped of my Dutch passport after refusing to renounce my U.S. citizenship.
While I was back, I was talking about such matters with a lady who was camping near us in the Sierras. She asked "but isn't the U.S. the greatest country on Earth? Why would you want to live anywhere else?"
Questions like that don't bother me. I think quietly to myself
-I can't rank a country any more than I can rank a friend
-Wasn't the central lesson of the 20th century to distrust nationalism?
And then I smile and say "there are things about the Netherlands that I love, just like there are things about the U.S. that I love."
And I leave it at that. It's not like me to be so diplomatic. Must be old age.
But then, there are also things about both countries that depress me ...
Back in March, the City of Amsterdam summoned me up for citizenship (inburgering) classes. This bothered me a bit, since I was already forced to take citizenship classes here once before. Yes, I passed the first time around.
Anti-immigrant sentiment remains strong in the Netherlands, despite Geert Wilders having fallen off the foreign media map for the time being.
So I decided to try to give the bureaucrat in front of me a hard time.
It was much harder to speak Dutch, hold the camera and be cool and collected at the same time than I expected!
After a formal appeal, I was allowed to skip a second round of inburgering and language classes.
Hopefully I'll get that Dutch passport and then I won't have to jump through these hoops, ever again.
There is one final hurdle, though, if they agree.
In order to be granted citizenship, I must attend a 'citizenship ceremony,' which is a kind of party attended by a local politician (some party) where I will be required to swear an oath (in Dutch):
"Ik zweer dat ik de grondwettelijk orde van het Koninkrijgk der Nederlanden, haar vrijheden en rechten respecteer en zweer de plichten die het staatsburgerschap met zich meebrengt getrouw te vervullen."
"I swear that I respect the constitutional order of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, her liberties and rights, and swear to faithfully fulfill the obligations that citizenship brings with it."
This oath is new, they didn't have it back in 2006 when I was naturalized the first time around.
Also, only immigrants have to swear it, not natural-born Dutch.
Anyhow, it's not a problem for me.
If I'm naturalized, I'll be a loyal subject to both countries, reminding Holland that immigrants are a desirable asset, and encouraging Americans to look beyond their own borders.