This paper focuses on the conditions under which dative–nominative alternations take place,mainly within the Germanic family, with a view to illuminate the nature of dative case cross-linguistically. In particular, we investigate the properties of bekommen/krijgen passives in different varieties of Dutch and German and compare these passives to other instances of Dat-Nom alternations attested in Icelandic. We consider two parameters of variation: (i) the environments where Dat-Nom alternations take place (monotransitives and ditransitives or only ditransitives) and (ii) the extent to which these depend on the organization of the Voice systems in the languages under discussion (passives or non-passives). The proposal we defend, within the generative framework, is that mixed approaches towards dative are correct. There are three types of languages: languages where dative is always structural, languages where dative is never structural and finally languages where dative qualifies as structural in some environments and as inherent/lexical in others.