Naturalization Ceremony Address by The Governor of St. Maarten Eugene B. Holiday

PHILIPSBURG - Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning and welcome to this naturalization ceremony.

At the end of this morning the people of St. Maarten will be welcoming 109 new Dutch citizens; of which 58 are female and 51 are male ranging in ages from 3 to 78 years young.

In this group we have

 

# persons

Female

Male

Nationalities

Ceremony 1

54

31

23

16

Ceremony 2

55

27

28

10

But before that I shall share a few words with you.

Obtaining the Dutch nationality, commonly referred to as naturalization is a special moment in a person’s life. A moment following a long legal and administrative process. A process of meeting a number of statutory requirements, including those related to residency, parental ties, "good conduct"; a process of demonstrating an attachment to the social and cultural values of Sint Maarten and a process of proving knowledge of the constitutional principles upon which the Dutch Kingdom and St. Maarten is based. Your presence here today is testimony of your completion of that process.

Having completed the process my question to you is what does being on Dutch Citizen mean to you? I sure would be interested to hear the respective answers from each of you. Interested because today you appear in this room with varying backgrounds and nationalities. However, in a short while you will all leave this room with one common nationality and one common bond: you will be Dutch Citizens. Thus whatever your individual answer or answers, it is – in the context of our Sint Maarten community – my hope that your citizenship transformation today will result in the embrace of the social and cultural customs and traditions of your new country, our country. It is my hope for each of you that your citizenship transformation will be a multi-dimensional journey of individual and broader societal growth towards a stronger St. Maarten.

As you begin this journey I advise each of you:

  • To respect and hold dear the St. Maarten Song, 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; 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 each 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 of you, and your family and friends here at this beautiful location to officiate and celebrate this special occasion.

However, to launch your journey we have some official business to finalize. As I said at the beginning of my address the presence of all of you here 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 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”

Or

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 some refreshments.

Having said that I hereby wish you a pleasant and enjoyable naturalization ceremony.

Thank you and God bless you!

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