Vondelingen in Nederland | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 91, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816



The post-war political and public debate on the foundling issue concentrates on whether or not to provide special arrangements for children (such as baby hatches) and mothers (such as anonymous births). In this article, I explore three research questions to establish the present positions within the Netherlands in this respect. Firstly, which actors and factors gave substance to the foundling debate. Secondly, how public, political and other actors relate(d) to these factors and each other. And thirdly, how these positions and possible position changes can be explained. The results show the number of actors to have increased over the years. Initially, four key factors were identified, which mark certain periods and positions. These are the risks for children and mothers (from 1967 on), the importance of family descent information (1984), the establishment of baby hatches in neighbouring countries (1999), and the introduction of foundling rooms (2011). Following more extensive analysis, abortion legislation has been shown to be a crucial, fifth factor in the early days of the debate as well (1967-1984). Based on these developments, it is not unthinkable that the Dutch situation might come to resemble the German model: against the law but permitted in practice.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): anonymous birth; baby hatch; foundling; Netherlands; politics
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