Opinion: Dutch PassportsPOSTED: 03/12/14 6:09 PM
We saw somewhere a comment on the price for a Dutch passport in St. Maarten. The question was: why is it more expensive here than in the Netherlands? Good question.
The prices for Dutch passports are detailed on the website rijksoverheid.nl.
There we learn that a passport in the Netherlands costs €50.35 (at the current rate $69.99). This is the maximum price municipalities are allowed to charge, but they are free to charge less.
In the Caribbean Netherlands (Statia, Saba and Bonaire) the maximum price for a passport with a validity of 5 years is $96.37; a passport with a validity of 10 years is $117.28.
Dutch citizens who obtain a passport abroad from a consulate or an embassy pay €115.20 ($160.13) for a passport with a 5-year validity and €131.11 ($182.24) for one with a 10-year validity.
The Government of St. Maarten just published the prices it will charge for passports. For citizens 18 years and older the price is 210 guilders ($117.28), and for those 17 years of age and younger it is 150 guilders ($83.80). These passports are all valid for 10 years.
One could obviously argue that a price difference of $47.32 (67.9 percent) between a passport obtained in the Netherlands and one obtained on Pond Island is unreasonable, if not downright ridiculous. Daylight robbery is a term that comes to mind as well. But things could be worse. According to the government information on the website rijksoverheid.nl the prices given for Saba, Statia and Bonaire are maximum prices. For passports in St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba there is no maximum price.
The price in St. Maarten corresponds with the one on the BES-islands, so there is some justification for the price the government is charging. But the question remains: what is the reason for the price difference with the Netherlands? Do Dutch citizens not have the right to equal treatment, wherever they are in the Kingdom?