2018-05: The 1000 Euro Dutch Passport renewal

This story happened to myself this year (mid-2018), is a good demonstration of how government savings are directly impacting the financial well being of their national citizens. And basically how much governments don’t give about you.

Situational facts

  • I have been living in München for 6 years now
  • I have renewed my passport here once before
  • A Dutch passport used to be only valid for 5 years
  • Renewal of a passport ‘only’ cost 100 euro (every 5 years)

Story

So as you have learned from the facts above, I live in München and I am a Dutch national. In fact, I used to live and work (and pay taxes) in the Netherlands all my live before 2007 when i decided to travel the world and explore new opportunities. that means, I’m not someone who was born into the Dutch nationality as part of a multi-national marriage or something, I contributed to my country including many years worth of monetary support in the form of tax as well as serving in the army.

When arriving in Germany, I had to renew my passport which, as any other citizen of any other Nationality, I was conveniently able to do at my closest consulate in München.

Sure it’s a bit crappy that we have one of the shortest passport validity in the world, only 5 years, but ok: so be it. I’m aware i soon will have to renew this, but since I work only 5min walking distance away from the consulate, I’m lucky and this is not a big deal for me. The 100 euro renewal cost are also not nice, but hey, only the sun comes up for free, so what do I want, right?

Now 5 years later i’m again up for renewal, so lets start this process.

Renewal fun

As I still knew from last time, I would need an appointment instead of just being the walk-in customer. So being a good boy, i go to the website and register an appointment to renew my passport. Somewhere (almost hidden) it mentions that this appointment will be in the Berlin embassy. So just to be sure that i’m doing the right thing, I again open the website of the München specific consulate and click the button again to make an appointment. It again in the small print mentions Berlin.

Hmm, ok, lets give them a call just to be sure i’m doing the right thing. Result: sorry sir, as of 2016 we no longer offer this service from that location. Eeeeh what?? Let me make sure i’m hearing you right: The Dutch government is paying to keep a building open in my city, in Germany, especially to service people that live abroad, BUT i am unable to renew my passport there? Yes sir, that is basically the bottom line. You will need to go to the Netherlands, OR the generic embassy in Berlin to renew your passport.

Ok, so that sounds a bit stupid, however not too obstructive, right? Lets see what this actually means for me.

Pure cost

  • 0.5 days off to obtain ‘erweiterde meldebescheinigung’ = ~100 euro
  • 2x day off to travel back and forth to Berlin: ~200 euro Net per day = ~400 euro
  • Return trip with the ICE (I cannot fly) = ~250 euro
  • 1x Hotel in Berlin = ~100 euro
  • Transport and other small cost in Berlin (pictures for passport etc..) = ~50 euro
  • The actual passport renewal itself = 100 euro

So i’m paying a total of 100+400+250+100+50+100=1000 euro (!!) to get my passport renewed instead of just going to the local consulate.

Personal efforts

Of course, the biggest pain is the actual hassle of organising all of this travel etc.. and the utter boredom of sitting in a train for 4hours only to get a new passport (and than 4hours return trip).

How to stop this?

As this apparently is the case for all foreign countries the Netherlands has consulates and embassies, this policy change actually impacts a lot of people. In case you are one of these people you can actually do something to try to reverse this crazyness!

  • Send an email to the ‘Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken’: bln-ca@minbuza.nl
  • Clearly state you are making an official complain and explain your personal situation including any additional cost for you
  • They are than obliged to reply to you inside 2 weeks.
  • The reply will of course state that they are sorry (they always are) but this cannot be changed
  • Than you forward the original complaint & the reply to the Ombudsman https://www.nationaleombudsman.nl/

I’m hoping that if enough people complain, they might actually revert this non-sense policy.