Safe haven rooms open in Amsterdam and Rotterdam for abandoned newborns

Safe haven rooms open in Amsterdam and Rotterdam for abandoned newborns

Safe haven rooms have been opened in Amsterdam and Rotterdam to help safeguard newborn babies whose mothers are unable to care for them. The rooms are located in the academic hospitals of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. 

Dutch law prohibits child abandonment

Under Dutch law, it is illegal to abandon a child. Despite this, there are many women who are unable to care for their children for numerous reasons. In this case, the Dutch government now tolerates such safe havens, which are run in cooperation with the Beschermde Wieg Foundation. 

A number of Dutch cities have already opened safe rooms, where women can safely and anonymously leave their babies after giving birth. In Amsterdam, discussions have been taking place for many years on the controversial issue of opening safe rooms, but only now have the facilities become a reality. 

High-profile child abandonment incidents have raised the profile of safe haven rooms

According to NL Times, the discussions about the safe haven rooms gained even more traction three years ago when a live baby was found in a trash can in Holendrecht. Five years before that, a baby was found dead near a lake in Amsterdam and the remains of another baby were also found at the port of Rotterdam in 2022.

“We want to offer every woman and her child care that is appropriate,” gynaecologist Christianne de Groot of Amsterdam UMC said. “This makes a safe birth possible for the mother and her child. We work together with Beschermde Wieg and many other agencies in the country and Amsterdam region to ensure that the mother and child maintain contact with each other if possible. This is how we create quality of life.”

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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