Ten years after the maastricht treaty came into force, it is still unclear what we should make of the so-called ‘citizenship of the european union’. Some commentators have celebrated it as an unmistakable step away from the nation-state paradigm: european citizenship as ‘postnational’ membership in its most elaborate form. Others, however, point towards the largely symbolic nature of the new status and argue that it was only introduced to cover up the union's legitimacy problems. Creating too high expectations could even run the risk of only strengthening the prevalent scepticism about the ongoing process of european integration. After a brief historical introduction, this paper deals with symbolic aspects and identity, with the practical meaning of european citizenship for people's daily lives, and concludes with some tentative remarks on the outlook for the future.