Citizenship is an important organizing principle of political life because it assigns individuals to a particular polity and endows those who qualify as ‘citizens’ equally with certain rights and obligations. Citizenship, however, becomes meaningful only within a concrete political situation, be it the contemporary Kingdom of the Netherlands or the seventeenth-century city of Leiden in the confederate Dutch Republic, to give just two examples. For the last 200 years or so, citizenship has been conceived primarily as a status of full membership of a national state. Yet national citizenship is closely linked to the modern state and, just like the nationstate itself, very much a historical construction (Schnapper 1997: 201). Citizenship is also a familiar concept within the setting of the Greek city-state or the medieval Italian city, and with the formal establishment of the citizenship of the European Union by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, we may well be witnessing a new era of European citizenship.
KeywordsLegal Status Political Community Civil Code Dutch Society European Citizenship
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