NOS on 3, 11 December 2015: 'No ID card with you? Ask officer to walk with you'
"More than 20,000 people were fined in the Netherlands last year for not carrying ID or refusing to identify themselves. Young people (18 - 30 years old) in particular are often fined. They were fined 4.5 times more often than those over 30.
But how exactly does this identification requirement work?
When do you have to show your ID card and when do you go on the ticket?
You are not formally obliged to carry an ID card. This is because in the Netherlands we have a duty to show, not a duty to carry. "This choice was made deliberately, because since the Second World War there has been a lot of resistance against having to carry a personal ID card with you," says Privacy First lawyer Vincent Böhre. "During the war, everyone was obliged to be able to identify themselves."
Böhre, on hearing the news of the number of fines this morning, was the first to wonder how many people had protested against their fines. "It often happens that people live nearby and don't have an identity card with them. You can then just say: just walk with me and I'll show it at home. That's how the duty to show works, after all."
Postscript Privacy First: In addition to the distinction between duty to show and duty to carry, Privacy First had also pointed out to NOS that the police may not ask people for their identity documents without reason. There should always be an objectively justifiable reason for this, such as a reasonable suspicion of a concrete criminal offence. After all, in principle, everyone in the Netherlands has the right to anonymity in public spaces. The government may not simply infringe on this. In addition, in practice, discrimination ('ethnic profiling') and arbitrariness in the application of compulsory identification by (in particular) the police often appear. This constitutes a violation of the ban on discrimination and fuels feelings of insecurity and stigmatisation of population groups. This is not to mention the risks to everyone from remotely readable RFID chips in passports and ID cards, identity fraud with lost or stolen identity documents, etc. Privacy First's advice therefore remains: leave passport or ID card at home and challenge any fine in court!