the Governor's Speeches

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Naturalization Ceremony Speech

Delivered by His Excellency Eugene B. Holiday at Naturalization Ceremony March 2011

Good afternoon and welcome to this naturalization and option ceremony; A special welcome to the 18 persons and in particular the 16 children or minors among you who are about to obtain the Dutch Nationality today.

Obtaining the Dutch nationality, commonly referred to as naturalization is a defining and special moment in a person’s life. I would therefore like to take a moment to stand still with you to consider what naturalization means.

Legally naturalization is the process under Kingdom law whereby a non-citizen may be granted Dutch Citizenship. In order to qualify for naturalization or option, a person must meet a number of statutory requirements, including those related to residency, parental ties, "good conduct" and a demonstration of an attachment to and knowledge of the constitutional principles upon which the Dutch Kingdom and St. Maarten is based. The presence of all 18 of you here this afternoon is testimony to your compliance with the legal requirements, which means that after today you can proudly say: “I am Dutch”

Community wise, naturalization is more, it has psychological social, economic and cultural dimensions to name a few. In the context of the St. Maarten community it is the start of a new chapter in your life. For the younger ones among you St. Maarten may be all you know and this day will be a confirmation of your relation with the St. Maarten Community. For the older ones among you, today is a truly new beginning. It is my hope that for all of you it will be a multi-dimensional journey of growth towards a stronger St. Maarten.

As you begin this journey I advise each of you:

  • To respect and hold dear the St. Maarten Anthem, oh Sweet St. Maarten land;
  • To salute the St. Maarten Flag;
  • To observe and celebrate St. Maarten’s day;
  • To acquaint yourself with St. Maarten’s history and customs, by  for example reading the National Symbols of St. Maarten; and
  • To seek to serve your new country


This journey may not always be smooth but by embracing your new country as advised it will be easier and no doubt a rewarding experience. I wish all 18 of you success as you embark on your individual journeys as Dutch Citizens in the Community of St. Maarten.

As you embark on your new and individual journeys I am pleased to join all 18 of you, and your family and friends here at this beautiful location to officiate and celebrate this special occasion.

Today you appear in this room as 8 different nationalities. However in a short while you will all leave this room with one nationality and one common bond: you will be Dutch Citizens.

In that regard the people of St. Maarten will, at the end of this ceremony, be welcoming 18 new and young Dutch citizens, 10 of whom and thus more than half, born on Sint Maarten. Of this group, 10 are female and 8 are male.

A further analysis of this group shows that:

  • A) Sixteen (16) are minors (children);
  • B) Two (2) are adults;
  • C) The youngest person was born in 2007; and
  • D) The eldest was born in 1954.

However, to launch your journey we have some official business to complete this afternoon. As I said at the beginning of my address the presence of all 18 of you here this afternoon is testimony of your compliance with the legal requirements to become a Dutch citizen. In that regard I can conclude my address by inviting you to come forward so that I, in my capacity of Governor of Sint Maarten, can hand you the Decree which states that you are Dutch. This after you, insofar mandatory, make your pledge of allegiance. 

The pledge of allegiance reads as follows:

  • Ik zweer (verklaar) dat ik de grondwettelijke orde van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, haar vrijheden en rechten respecteer en zweer (beloof) de plichten die het staatsburgerschap met zich meebrengt getrouw te zullen vervullen.

In doing so, you declare

  • that you will respect the constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • that you will respect the freedoms and rights thereof, and that you will comply with the obligations which the Dutch citizenship brings with it.

For the 2 adults, for whom the declaration of allegiance is a mandatory part of this ceremony, you will be required to make your pledge of allegiance in Dutch before me in my capacity of Governor of Sint Maarten.

You can do so by ending your declaration with the words;

  • “zo waarlijk helpe mij God allemachtig”

You can choose to make your declaration of allegiance with the words;

  • “dat verklaar en beloof ik”

To conclude, the end of this ceremony will as such mark a moment of transformation for each of you, one in which you declare allegiance to your new country.

I am pleased that all of you could be present at this ceremony so that you can receive your Dutch citizenship. To celebrate this moment we shall after taking a group photo, in good Sint Maarten tradition, get together along with your guest to have a snack and a drink.

Having said that I hereby pass the floor to the master of ceremony and hope that you have a pleasant and enjoyable naturalization ceremony.

Thank you and God bless you!