03 Februar 2022

Shifts in Historiography 

Today, there appears to be more consensus about the unjust nature of the Dutch/Indonesian war. As a scholar who has studied the evolution of the discourse on this topic, being asked to contribute to a symposium about the relation between decolonisation and human rights, is the perfect occasion to look back. Continue reading >>
29 Januar 2022

The Dutch Family Reunification Procedure

Being able to reunite with family from abroad falls under the right to family life, one of the fundamental rights every individual is entitled to. Despite this, some Dutch family reunification requirements are potentially at odds with international human rights law standards and the EU Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification. This problematic state of affairs reflects the ongoing racialization of European borders, and that of Dutch borders in particular. Continue reading >>

The Racialized Borders of the Netherlands

The principal function of borders in immigration law is to distinguish between persons and goods which are permitted to enter a territory and those which are not. I call this the filtering function of the border. In this short contribution, I enquire into how this filtering function of the border operates in the context of border controls in the Netherlands. More specifically, I argue that the way border controls are performed in the Netherlands structurally produces racialized subjects. Continue reading >>
28 Januar 2022

Postcolonial Migration and Citizenship in the Netherlands

Can formerly colonized subjects and their descendants be full and equal citizens of the former metropoles – and if so, what would that look like? In this blogpost, we explore these politics of belonging in European postcolonial polities by looking at different conceptualizations of the relationship between the Dutch state and Surinamese-Dutch citizens and immigrants. While Dutch government discourses tend to represent Surinamese-Dutch as too different to belong to the Dutch Nation, Surinamese-Dutch organisations claimed postcolonial citizenship as different and equal. Continue reading >>
27 Januar 2022

Rights for Others, Firing Back?

Colonialism and decolonization have importantly shaped the constitutional trajectories of not only the colonized states, but also those of the colonizers. For the Netherlands, decolonization did not only dictate the pace of various constitutional reforms in the mid-20th century that were ‘needed’ to erase Indonesia (1948) and New Guinea (1963) from the text of the constitution, but also introduced new constitutional documents, such as the 1949 Dutch-Indonesian Union Charter and the 1954 Charter of the Kingdom. While it is necessary to critically analyze the impact of these postcolonial arrangements on former colonies, it is equally urgent to fill the profound gap in knowledge about the impact of colonialism and decolonization on domestic constitutional arrangements. Continue reading >>
26 Januar 2022

The European Convention of Human Rights’ Colonial Clause and the End of Empire

In this post, I would like to shed light on an important, yet generally overlooked aspect of the European Convention of Human Rights, namely that it was drafted at a time when many of the member states of the Council of Europe were still important colonial powers. While European empires in Asia were in decline and the Netherlands was in the process of withdrawing from Indonesia, this was not the case in what was then called New Guinea, Surinam or the Antilles. Colonial empires in Africa, for their part, were still well established and the question of the territorial application of the Convention was hotly debated in the drafting process. What were the implications of this link between human rights and empire? Continue reading >>
25 Januar 2022

Aggression, War Crimes, and the Indonesian Revolution

The specter of the Indonesian Revolution is still haunting our understanding of Dutch imperial violence. In this blog post, I want to highlight two central issues regarding the conflict’s legal history – one involving the alleged non-application of the laws of war to the conflict which has been a mainstay argument in Dutch official narratives, and the other regarding the ways in which we delineate today our legal-moral reasoning with respect to Dutch transgression. Continue reading >>

The Grotian Myth and Dutch Modern Imperialism

The self-image of The Netherlands as a nation with a legalist (or Grotian) approach to international affairs has turned a blind eye to how Grotian legal reasonings and arguments have been used to legitimize Dutch colonialism and to shape the post-colonial structure of international law. Continue reading >>
24 Januar 2022

Decolonization and Human Rights: The Dutch Case

Human rights and decolonization have a complicated relationship. From their inception in the mid-20th century as normative features of the nation-state, human rights co-existed with imperial colonial systems. As aspirational values molded on the Western philosophical tradition, human rights also served as empowering tools in the moment of decolonization while simultaneously hampering claims to national independence. This is why, in the engagement with the ongoing legacies of colonialism, we have embarked on this symposium to examine human rights both as a language of critique and as a constitutive part of the imperial legacy. Continue reading >>
23 November 2021

Das Cannabis-Dilemma

Die zukünftige deutsche Bundesregierung will Cannabis legalisieren. Wie das alles konkret umgesetzt werden soll, wird sich zeigen. Worüber erstaunlich wenig diskutiert wird, ist die Frage, ob die Legalisierung rechtlich überhaupt realisierbar ist. Europa- und völkerrechtlich bestehen hohe Hürden, die eine vollständige Legalisierung von Cannabis sehr schwierig, wenn nicht sogar unmöglich machen. Continue reading >>
02 November 2021

Grinding the Orange Axe

On October 18th, 2021, the Venice Commission adopted its opinion on the Dutch childcare benefit scandal and highlighted, albeit reluctantly, several shortcomings regarding the Netherlands’ adherence to the rule of law: A lack of parliamentary scrutiny, a disrupted flow of information in bureaucratic bodies and the need for constitutional review. Despite the opinion’s inherent potential to provide a thorough substantive addition to the rule of law conversation, it fails at doing so due to its evasiveness and its hesitance to address complicated Dutch customs, such as the current caretaker cabinet. Continue reading >>
25 Oktober 2021

Constitutional Review in Sight?

On 18 October, the Venice Commission published its first ever opinion on the Netherlands dealing with the Childcare Allowance Scandal. It includes a list of rather detailed recommendations for the legislator, the executive and the judicial branch, also pointing at the prohibition of constitutional review which is one of the hallmarks of the Dutch Constitution. While its conclusions are not groundbreaking, the opinion of the Venice Commission must be welcomed for highlighting the crucial connection between individual justice, proportionality and fundamental rights. Continue reading >>
15 Juni 2021

The Courts Strike Back

The Shell case, decided by the Hague District Court on 26 May 2021, is part of a growing body of climate cases. What the Shell case does is that it liberates the political-decision maker from the suffocating grip of investor state dispute settlement mechanisms, in particular the mechanism under the Energy Charter Treaty. Continue reading >>

The Power of Open Norms

In a judgement of 26 May, the District Court of the Hague found that Royal Dutch Shell has an “individual responsibility” to limit its carbon emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030. Notable about the ruling is the unwritten standard of care functioning as an open norm, facilitating the accountability of private power. The openness of legal categories not only entails a potential to drive forward social change, but it also implicitly highlights the political role and nature of private law. Continue reading >>
09 Juni 2021

Shell’s Climate Obligation

On 26 May, the District Court of The Hague ruled that the fossil fuels company Royal Dutch Shell needs to reduce its emissions by 45 percent by 2030, compared to 2019. Precisely, the court held Shell responsible for its entire production and supply chain. The ruling will greatly advance the implementation of Article 2 of the Paris Agreement and climate-related human rights. Continue reading >>
28 Mai 2021

Shell’s Responsibility for Climate Change

On 26 May 2021, the District Court of the Hague rendered a judgment  in the case Milieudefensie v Royal Dutch Shell that can rightly be called revolutionary. This is the first judgment of its kind in which a multinational corporation is held responsible, in part based on international law, for its contribution to climate change. Continue reading >>
22 April 2021

COVID-19 in the Netherlands: of Changing Tides and Constitutional Constants

Along with Covid, the Government’s response, and the growing public unrest, came a continuing string of constitutional questions and developments, that is unlikely to diminish anytime soon. Building on the abovementioned Verfassungsblog post, we will discuss the main constitutional Covid-19 highlights, largely chronologically. Throughout we will pay particular attention to three recurring and interrelated themes: the evolving role of Parliament in shaping the political and legal response to Covid-19, the relevance and varying intensity of judicial control in pandemic times, and the omnipresence of fundamental rights concerns. Continue reading >>
02 März 2021

Judges vs the Executive Branch

Last Friday, the Dutch Appeal Court of The Hague overturned a judgment of the District Court of the Hague which had made headlines in the Low Countries and beyond by enjoining an immediate end to the curfew imposed by the government to curb coronavirus infections. The case illustrates in dramatic fashion the tensions arising from the necessity to balance freedom and public health while tying into the more institutional question of the separation of powers between the judicial and executive branch. At the same time, the case casts light on the growing assertiveness of Dutch courts on matters of general policy-making. Continue reading >>
24 Juni 2020

If the Message Doesn’t Suit, Shoot the Messenger

The attack on Dimitry Kochenov for being involved in "passport trade" raise a question of academic freedom: When do an academic’s views or actions put them beyond the pale? Continue reading >>
08 Juni 2020

“Passport Trade”: A Vicious Cycle of Nonsense in the Netherlands

“How can you justify the fact that your work was translated into Russian? This goes against the claim that you engage in academic work. Is Russian not the language of billionaires interested in getting another citizenship?” Following the persistent repetition of this question by a four-person independent investigation committee installed by my home University, my lawyer, seeing that I have no words – indeed, am unable to speak – asks for a break and leads me out of the room. We sit on the steps in front of the beautiful Academy building. This is Groningen, January 2020, I am a Dutch professor of European Constitutional Law and Citizenship here and Russian is my mother tongue. Continue reading >>
08 Mai 2020

The Netherlands: Of Rollercoasters and Elephants

The Dutch authorities take a quasi-legal, quasi-rhetorical approach to shape their intelligent lockdown and try to tame the pandemic beast, with questionable constitutional practices as a result. While the reliance on medical and other expertise might be a welcome difference compared to some other countries, overreliance on experts in communication may hide real political and legal choices that have been made. Continue reading >>
04 Februar 2020

Fact Check: Is there a ‘Muzzle Law’ for Dutch Judges in the Making? No!

A few days ago the suggestion was made that a draft law is in the making in the Netherlands to prevent Dutch judges from ruling on politically sensitive issues. Should we worry about this? I think not. Continue reading >>
21 Dezember 2019

Urgenda III: Die Niederlande als Modell richterlichen Klimaschutzes

Mit dem Klima-Urteil des Hohen Rats ist die niederländische Gerichtsbarkeit endgültig zum weltweit bestaunten und umjubelten Vorbild einer Bewegung geworden, die unter dem Schlagwort der „Climate Justice“ bemüht ist, die dritte Gewalt für die Durchsetzung einer entschiedeneren Klimaschutzpolitik zu aktivieren. Im Kern der rechtlichen Auseinandersetzung geht es um die Frage nach der Entscheidungsmacht der Gerichte in der gewaltenteiligen Demokratie. Dürfen oder müssen Richter für sich in Anspruch nehmen, zwingende Vorgaben für den Klimaschutz zu entwickeln? Continue reading >>
19 Oktober 2018

The Dutch Climate Case Judgment: Human Rights Potential and Constitutional Unease

The Dutch climate case has reached a new high. Last week, The Hague Court of Appeal upheld the 2015 verdict which ordered the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. The Court did so on the ground that the current actions of the Dutch government to combat climate change are insufficient in the light of the state’s human rights obligations. Has the Court gone too far? Continue reading >>
13 Juli 2018

Wozu muss der Verlust der Unionsbürgerschaft verhältnismäßig sein?

Als Bürger der Europäischen Union darf mir die Bundesrepublik Deutschland nicht einfach meine deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft wegnehmen, ohne dabei zu prüfen, ob das zu den Folgen, die das für mich hat, in einem vernünftigen Verhältnis steht. Davor schützt mich europäisches Recht, dass mein Staat das mit mir macht. Das hatte vor acht Jahren im epochalen Fall Rottmann der EuGH entschieden.  Wird der Luxemburger Gerichtshof diese Rechtsprechung jetzt wieder relativieren? Continue reading >>
07 Mai 2018

The Right to Fair Trial and the Rise of Sensitive Intelligence Evidence: Responses from the Dutch and UK Courts

Writing extra-judicially, Lord Justice Brown once described the typical court […] Continue reading >>
02 März 2017

Wilders vs. the Dutch Constitution: Constitutional Protection against Discriminatory Policies

Geert Wilders' Freedom Party stands a fair chance of becoming the largest party after the elections next week. His political programme is blurry at best, but parts of it - such as a ban of the Quran - are clearly unconstitutional. Will the constitutional system in the Netherlands be robust enough to withstand this challenge? Continue reading >>
16 Dezember 2016

Towards a Solution for the Ratification Conundrum of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement?

The ratification process of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement has been stalled following "No" victory in the Dutch referendum of 6 April 2016. Yesterday, the EU heads of states have adopted a decision addressing the Dutch concerns. The option which is currently on the table is by far the easiest to solve the ratification conundrum while responding to the arguments of the ‘no-camp’ in the referendum campaign. Any alternatives, such as the inclusion of formal reservations or a procedure leading to a Dutch withdrawal from the agreement, entail the risk of long-term legal uncertainty which would only be detrimental for the EU, the Netherlands and Ukraine. Continue reading >>
07 November 2016

Geert Wilders’ “Incitement to Discriminate” Trial

Months before the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party and election favorite Geert Wilders finds himself before a criminal court. He is charged with insulting and inciting discrimination against residents of Moroccan descent by promising his supporters "fewer Moroccans" in 2014. Wilders and his defence seem to invoke the theory of the ‘marketplace of ideas’, which is a common line of thinking in United States First Amendment law. The principal standard for Dutch courts however, the European Convention of Human Rights, takes a somewhat different stance. Continue reading >>
23 Februar 2016

Lokale Zuzugssperren für Arme: für Straßburg kein Freizügigkeitsproblem

Das Recht auf Freizügigkeit hat es schwer in diesen dunklen Tagen in Europa. In der EU sowieso, wo die Freiheit, sich grenzüberschreitend in Europa frei zu bewegen und niederzulassen, massiv unter Beschuss ist. Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) hat heute ein Urteil veröffentlicht, das die innerstaatliche Freizügigkeit betrifft – das ganz normale Recht von Staatsbürgern, im eigenen Land überall hinziehen zu dürfen, wo man hinziehen möchte, ohne dass der Staat sagen darf, dich wollen wir hier nicht. Mit diesem in Art. 2 Prot. 4 EMRK verankerten Grundrecht, zu dem es bislang nicht viel Judikatur gibt, weiß der Straßburger Gerichtshof offenbar nicht viel anzufangen. Continue reading >>
10 Februar 2016

What will happen if the Dutch vote ‘No’ in the Referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement?

On 6 April 2016, a referendum on the approval of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will be held in the Netherlands. This is the direct result of a new law that gives citizens the right to initiate a so-called ‘corrective’ referendum to refute decisions taken at the political level. If the "No" camp prevails, as polls suggest it will, that would not be a victory for democracy as proclaimed by the Dutch initiators of the referendum but rather the opposite. Allowing a relatively small part of the population in a relatively small member state to block the entry into force of an agreement which is approved by the national parliaments of 29 countries and the European Parliament would be very cynical. It would also undermine the consistency and legitimacy of the EU’s external action taking into account that other, largely comparable agreements would remain unaffected. Continue reading >>
18 Juli 2014

„Ich bin nicht Stiller!“: Sexuelle Identität lässt sich nicht amtlich feststellen

Homosexuelle, denen in ihrer Heimat Verfolgung droht, können in der EU Asyl beantragen. Aber was, wenn die Behörden ihnen die Homosexualität nicht glauben? Dazu ist ein Verfahren beim EuGH anhängig. Generalanwältin Sharpston nimmt in ihren Schlussanträgen die Praxis, Homosexualität amtlich feststellen zu lassen, nach allen Regeln der Kunst auseinander. Continue reading >>
07 November 2013

Asylschutz gilt auch (und gerade!) für offen auftretende Homosexuelle

Ein Leben als Closet Gay ist keine Fluchtalternative. Wer in […] Continue reading >>
15 November 2012

EuGH korrigiert strikte Linie der ersten Instanz zu Anti-Terrorlisten

Der EuGH hat heute zwei Entscheidungen veröffentlicht, an denen Eric […] Continue reading >>
26 April 2012

EuGH nimmt sich der Rechte von Drittstaats-Ausländern an

Unser famoser Innenminister findet es gemeinsam mit seinem französischen Kollegen […] Continue reading >>
19 Januar 2012

Ne Bis in Idem: Manchmal hält doppelt tatsächlich besser

Darf man einen Mörder nicht mehr bestrafen, wenn er im […] Continue reading >>
06 November 2011

Menschenrechte: Die Niederlande setzen ihre Glaubwürdigkeit aufs Spiel

Von ANJA MIHR Es fing vor genau einem Jahr an, […] Continue reading >>
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