This article explores Dutch history and current political and academic debates in relation to citizenship and gender. It notes a change in the citizenship discourse from communitarian citizenship virtues in the 1950s via citizenship rights in the 1980s to labour market participation as a condition of citizenship in the 1990s. The latter period also sees a flirtation by academics and some politicians with civic republicanism, emphasizing the importance of political participation. In this debate, however, the issue of the low participation of women in decision-making organizations and processes is usually not addressed. Recently, a return to a communitarian discourse can be noted with the question of social cohesion as its central focus. © 1998 Critical Social Policy 56.