We had a modern era baby hatch open up in Dordrecht back in 2013 and after that a few more opened up around the country, but now it’s the capital’s turn to have one, set to open in 2017.
Earlier this year Zwolle got a baby hatch in the Isala hospital, the first time a Dutch hospital has opened such a service.
It’s illegal to abandon a child as a foundling in the Netherlands, and can land someone four years of prison or a hefty fine of 20,000 euro. Making it punishable does mean babies are found in places like bins, the streets or a forest, some alive, but some dead as well. In 2014 a live baby was found in a container in Amsterdam whose parents were never traced, and a dead baby was found near Sloterplas in Nieuw-West in a sports bag not too long ago.
Child Protection Services in the past claimed that children have the right to know who their parents are. The government has no plans to close down, stop or pursue anyone who would abandon a baby in a baby hatch, so the government is still doing what it does best, which is nothing.
Tags: Amsterdam, babies, baby hatch, foudlings, Zwolle
About a year ago Dordrecht opened the first modern day baby hatch for women in dire situations to be able to drop off their unwanted babies safely as foundlings. Online news source Dichtbij.nl says that Groningen and Papendrecht each have one as well. The provinces of Zeeland and Noord-Brabant will soon be opening baby hatches, and there are plans to open some in more prominent places such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Maastricht.
Currently Dutch law forbids abandoning babies for them to be adopted as foundlings and Child Protection Services agrees, claiming children have the right to know who their parents are. The government has no plans to close down, stop or pursue anyone who would abandon a baby in these places, so the government will remain inert on the issue for now.
Sadly, an alternative that occasionally makes the news is when a child has been left in the forest or in a rubbish bin.
(Link: www.bbc.co.uk, Illustration by Leonardo da Vinci)
Tags: Amsterdam, babies, baby hatch
Planned for this year Dordrecht will have the very first modern day baby hatch where unwanted babies can be safely left for them to become foundlings. Modern day because it has been a practice since the Middle Ages and, depending on one’s beliefs, there’s also the Bible telling us about Moses who was adopted as a foundling by the Egyptian royal family.
The Netherlands currently does not have a place for mothers who do not want to keep their children, and the baby hatch in Dordrecht plans to fill that void. Since Belgium allowed baby hatches in 2000, three babies have been ‘dropped off’. During the same time span some 278 babies in Germany have been ‘deposited’. At the moment, Dutch law forbids abandoning babies for them to be adopted as foundlings.
On the one hand, more help could be given to these women for them to keep their infants, on the other hand, sometimes it is the father, step-father, other family members or even pimps that give away the baby for them. There must be a plethora of reasons why someone would give up a child, but considering the process is anonymous, actually finding out what those are is difficult, making way for much speculation and easily blaming the mothers for everything.
Although the UN claims opening baby hatches goes against the rights of children, even the Vatican has a baby hatch or ‘baby box’ as they are sometimes called.
(Links: www.trouw.nl, www.bbc.co.uk, Illustration by Leonardo da Vinci)
Tags: babies, baby hatch, Dordrecht