Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

prof. dr. mr. B. (Betty) de Hart

  • Faculty of Law
    European Law
  • Visiting address
    REC A
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  1030
    1000 BA  Amsterdam

 Betty de Hart is professor in migration law at the University of Amsterdam. She focuses on European and national migration law, with a particular emphasis on the rights of aliens, nationality law and international private law. She pursues international comparative, empirical and historical research in these fields of law, in which the legal regulation of transnational families constitutes her special interest. 

In 2012, she published Een tweede paspoort. Dubbele nationaliteit in de Verenigde Staten, Duitsland en Nederland Amsterdam University Press, 2012). Earlier, in 2007, she received a Vidi-grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scietific Research (NWO) for het researchproject 'transnational families between Dutch and Islamic family law'. In 2003, she her doctoral dissertation Onbezonnen vrouwen. Gemengde relaties in het nationaliteitsrecht en het vreemdelingenrecht.

 Professor De Hart paricipated in various international researchprojects, among which those focusing on double nationalities,family reunification and nationility law in the 15 'old' Member States of the European Union. Currently, she works on the life stories of Dutch women who married before 1964 with a foreign man and, as a result of this marriage, automatically lost their Dutch nationality. 

 It deserves particular mentioning that the De Hart's professorship is made possible by the Ammodo Foundation. The professorship was established on account of the migration law foundation (Stichting Migratierecht), chairman prof. Mr. Jessurun d'Oliviera, who received funding from the Ammodo Foundation for this purpose.

Ammodo Foundation

B. de Hart, 'Regulating mixed marriages through acquisition and loss of citizenship', in: ANNALS, AAPSS, November 2015.

Mixed marriages have always had an ambiguous and often problematic relationship with the law. On one hand, mixed marriages have been seen as a key indicator of sociocultural integration into mainstream society. In terms of the law, this perception has been expressed, for example, as privileged access to citizenship status for immigrant family members of citizens. On the other hand, mixed marriages have been seen as a threat to society and social cohesion. In this article, I argue that these contradictory perceptions of mixed relationships have informed the development of citizenship law over time. Building on literature on the regulation of mixed marriages in law, as well as gender and citizenship law, I use the Netherlands as a case study to demonstrate how citizenship law has been used as a tool to prevent certain types of “undesirable” mixed couples and how this approach has informed Dutch citizenship law until today.

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B. de Hart, 'Superdads: Migrant fathers’ right to family life before the European Court of Human Rights', in: Men and Masculinities, October 2015. 

In discussions about multiculturalism, migration, Islam, and law, migrant and especially Muslim fathers have predominantly been discussed in terms of their overall power over women and children. The recurring question seems to be how much room they should be granted to have a polygamous marriage, keep their daughters out of school, and marry them off. This contribution argues that the sociolegal position of migrant fathers is much more complex and possibly more vulnerable than often perceived, as a consequence of the workings of family law and immigration law. Using (black) feminist critiques of family law, the question is to what extent migrant fathers’ weaker legal position is being caused by ideologies about fatherhood in family law and immigration law that exclude them from being “good fathers.” The argument is based on an analysis of European Court of Human Rights case law on affiliation, divorce, custody, visiting rights, and residence.

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B. de Hart, 'Unlikely Couples. Regulating mixed sex and marriage from the Dutch colonies to European Migration Law', (inaugural lecture, delivered 13 June 2014) University of Amsterdam, 2015.  

How did the state use the law in attempts to prevent ‘racially’ or ‘ethnically’ mixed marriages in earlier times? And what does this mean for contemporary migration law? These are the key questions that Betty de Hart discusses in her inaugural lecture as professor of Migration Law.

Download full version as pdf 

E. Besselsen & B. de Hart, 'Verblijfsrechterlijke consequenties van de Wet Inburgering', Wolf Legal Publishers 2014

Since 2010 the Dutch Integration Act attaches consequences of legal residence to the requirement for migrants to to integrate into Dutch society. Without having succesfully taken the integration exam, migrants coming from non-EU states will not be granted righs to permanent residence, nor rights to continued residency after five years of residence as a familymember. 

The Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG), funded by the municipality of Amsterdam and the Ammodo foundation, started a research project to investigate the possible effects the Integration Act has on migrants. The research was conducted by drs. Elles Besselsen, researcher ACELG, and Betty de Hart, Professor Migration Law.

The results shows that the integration requirement is an important factor causing, since 2010, a decline in the number of applications and grants of indefinate residence permits and residence permits for continued residence. This conclusion was drawn after quantitative research on the basis of data from the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) and a file research of declined applications. The most frequent consequence is the refusal of an indefinate residence permit. In respect of applications for continued residence after a broken marriage or relationship the right to legal residence seems to be non-existent altogether. 

Interviews with migrants showed that not every migrant is aware of the integration requirement under the Integration Act or the consequences attached to non-compliance with this duty. A combination of factors makes that migrants (still) do not meet the integration requirement: difficulties with learning the Dutch language, lack of time, financial impediments, health impediments or the combination of family and work. 

S. Bonjour and B. de Hart, 'A proper wife, a proper marriage: Constructions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in Dutch family migration policy', in: European Journal of Women's Studies, January 24, 2013. 

Migration policy is a product and producer of identities and values. This article argues that discourses and policies on family reunification participate in the politics of belonging, and that gender and family norms play a crucial role in this production of collective identities, i.e. in defining who ‘we’ are and what distinguishes ‘us’ from ‘the others’. Tracing the development of political debates and policy-making about ‘fraudulent’ and ‘forced’ marriages in the Netherlands since the 1970s, the authors examine how categories of gender and ethnicity interact with ‘other’ transnational marriages and the women who engage in them. These practices of ‘othering’ legitimize restrictive reforms of marriage migration policies. Also, and no less importantly, they serve the symbolic function of defining Dutch identity, and show that the government protects this identity. 

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B. de Hart, W. M. van Rossum and I. Sportel, 'Law in the Everyday Lives of Transnational Families' (Special Issue), Onati Socio-Legal Series, December 2013. 

In this special issue on “Law in the everyday lives of transnational families”, we argue that in the socio-legal literature on transnationalism and transnational legal process, ordinary people as actors are missing. On the other hand, what is missing from the abundant literature on transnational families, is law. In this special issue, we look at how transnational families as legal actors are part of transnational legal processes and how transnational families meet with different types of legal rules that mingle with and influence the personal and private sphere of family life. We specifically look at three issues that come up in this context: the power of law, how transnational family members use law and the role of networks and family.

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B. de Hart, E. Nissen and T. Strik, 'Family Reunification, Barrier or Facilitator of Integration?', Wolf Legal Publishers, 2013.  

The outcome of a comparative study on family reunification policies in six EU Member States: Austria, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The study examined the way in which family reunification policies have developed over the past decade regarding four main requirements: income, pre-entry test, age and housing. Furthermore, the study analyses the application of these requirements in practice and how their application is perceived by the family members. Based on statistics and interviews, the authors draw conclusions on the impact of the applicable requirements on migrants and their family members in the Member States included in this study. Considering the recognition at EU level that family reunification is regarded as beneficial to the integration of migrants, this study seeks to clarify whether or not national policies serve to promote or hinder family reunification and contribute to the integration of migrants and their family members. 

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Lovingday.NL is a working group which, inspired by an American initiative, aims to establish a platform for researchers and others interested in mixed relations and families in the Netherlands. Among others, it hosts a website and an annual event about the various aspects of mixed relations and families on the 12th of June (Loving Day) for both academics and a broader audience. 

Loving Day is the annual celebration of the 1967 judgment of the United States Supreme Court, in which all anti-miscegenation laws were declared unconstitutional. Loving is the surname of the couple Richard and Mildred Loving which brought the case before court. On Loving Day, contemporary issues and questions regarding mixed relations and families are raised and explored.  

For more information, see the Lovingday  website and  Facebook-page.


  • de Hart, B. (2015). Regulating Mixed Marriages through Acquisition and Loss of Nationality. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 662(1), 170-187. DOI: 10.1177/0002716215595390  [details] 


  • Bonjour, S., & de Hart, B. (2013). A proper wife, a proper marriage. Constructions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in Dutch family migration policy. European Journal of Women's Studies, 20(1), 61-76. DOI: 10.1177/1350506812456459 


  • de Hart, B. (2014). Unlikely couples: regulating mixed sex and marriage from the Dutch colonies to European migration law. Oisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers. [details] 


  • Schrauwen, A. A. M. (Author), & de Hart, B. (Author). (2016). Marrying someone from outside the EU = marriage of convenience?. Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, University of Amsterdam.
  • de Hart, B., & Oosterom-Staples, H. (2016). Gezinshereniging en gezinsvorming. In K. Zwaan, A. Terlouw , T. Strik, H. Oosterom-Staples, T. de Lange, P. Krop, B. de Hart, C. Grütters, ... R. Fernhout (Eds.), Nederlands migratierecht (pp. 167-237). (Boom Juridische studieboeken). Boom Juridische uitgevers.
  • Zwaan, K., Terlouw, A., Strik, T., Oosterom-Staples, H., de Lange, T., Krop, P., ... Fernhout, R. (2016). Nederlands migratierecht. (Boom Juridische studieboeken). Boom Juridische uitgevers.


  • Besselsen, E., & de Hart, B. (2015). De verblijfsrechtelijke consequenties van de Wet Inburgering: nu en vanaf 2016: Wet Inburgering belemmert integratie. Asiel & Migrantenrecht, 6(1), 4-8. [details] 


  • Besselsen, E., & de Hart, B. (2014). Verblijfsrechtelijke consequenties van de Wet inburgering. Een onderzoek naar de ervaringen van migranten in Amsterdam. Oisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers. [details] 


  • de Hart, B. (2015). Onwaarschijnlijke koppels: regulering van gemengde seks en huwelijken van de Nederlandse koloniën tot Europees migratierecht = Unlikely couples: regulating mixed sex and marriage from the Dutch colonies to European migration law. (Oratiereeks). Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam. [details] 
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