Dutch, at 70% go ‘shared parenting mad’

by Peter Tromp  &  Robert Whiston   23rd Dec 2012

The Dutch term for shared parenting is ‘verblijfsco-ouderschap’ (or co-residential parenting) which broadly translates as shared or co-parenting.

In a poll of the Dutch public 71% said they agreed with co-parenting after divorce. And despite feminist protests against the concept of shared or co-parenting, Dutch women more than men favoured the newer regime – 76% as opposed to 67% of men.

One of the many surprising results found that women , at 52%, were significantly more in favour than men (at 39%), in believing that ‘residential co-parenting’ after a divorce or separation in principle should start immediately after childbirth, i.e. is not child-age-restricted or limited to older children.

The poll, undertaken in Sept 2012 by the opinion research firm IPSOS Synovate (“The Political Barometer“), in conjunction with the Dutch based ‘Father Knowledge Centre’ asked a series of inter-related questions probing the preferences and opinions of the Dutch general public.

See also,  http://motoristoppression.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/16/Belgians like their shared parenting laws.”

The main results of opinion poll commissioned by IPSOS Synovate and the Father Knowledge Centre found that a two-thirds majority (7 out of 10) of the Dutch think that co-parenting is the best solution after a divorce. In addition:

  • Almost half (45%) of the Dutch think that co-parenting (shared care and accommodation) after a separation should be possible – even immediately after birth.
  • 8 out of 10 (80%) of respondents believes that schools and agencies dealing with their children should keep both parents equally well-informed and involved in the development of their child after divorce or separation.
  • Slightly more than half (53%) believed that parental and access arrangements which have been ordered by the court should be complied with.

Sample size

The survey was conducted on-line by IPSOS Synovate on behalf of the Father Knowledge Centre among a representative sample of 1,243 Dutch people aged 18 years and older. The results are subsequently weighted by age, gender, education and region, so that the group surveyed a good reflection of Dutch society.

Further analysis

This particular survey is significant in that it generates information not only about the respondee’s gender (male / female), and age, but also their intended voting preferences. [1]

There are far more Political Parties in Holland than we are accustomed to in the UK and with apparently similar names it would be helpful to list them for the reader.

Political Parties in the Netherlands
SP    (Dutch Socialists) PVV   (Dutch Social Conservatives)
D66  (Dutch Liberal Democrats) VVD   (Dutch Liberal Conservatives – now in government)
CDA  (Dutch Christian Democrats) PvdA  (Dutch Social Democrats – now in government [Labour] )

Some of the disaggregated results based on gender (male / female), region and age, etc, are shown below:

  • Co-parenting was chosen as the best solution after a divorce by 74% of respondents who had a secondary education and 75% by those with a higher education. The figure in support of co-parenting among less well-educated Dutch respondents was lower at 64%.
  • Dutch women have a significantly stronger preference for co-parenting after divorce than men (Women: 76% Men: 67%).
  • The majority of Dutch women (52%) believed that residential co-parenting after divorce or separation in principle could start immediately after childbirth, i.e. is not child-age-bound and limited to older children. A significant minority of men (not necessarily fathers) agreed, i.e. women: 52%, men: 39%).

Small generational divide

  • The older Dutch generation of (those aged over 50) were significantly more in favour, at 76%, of residential co-parenting after divorce and separation as the best post-separation parenting solution, than the middle-aged generation of the 35 and 49 year olds, at 66%.
  • It was also found among the Dutch survey that the older generation (aged 50 + and by a margin of 84%) were significantly more likely to favour schools and institutions informing both parents equally after separation and be involved in the development of their child. The younger generation, i.e. those aged 18 to 34 supported this slightly less, at 75%).

Political analysis

  1. Respondents belonging to the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and the Social Liberal Party (D66), strongly supported shared and co-parenting after divorce, at 79% and 80% respectively.
  2. The Christian Democratic (CDA) and the right-wing PVV party preferred the shared /co parenting option by over two-thirds, at 66% and 69% respectively.
  3. Dutch voters who at the last Dutch national elections of September 12th, 2012 preferred to vote for Dutch Social Democratic Party (PvdA), which is now in the government coalition supported co-parenting in 79% of cases.
  4. Among D66 voters, the Dutch Liberal Democratic Party, 80% of respondees found residential co-parenting significantly more often the best solution for parenting arrangements after divorce or separation,
  5. The Dutch who preferred to vote for the Dutch Christian Democratic Party (CDA), in 66% of instances preferred co-parenting for custody arrangements after divorce.
  6. Those who voted for the Dutch Social Conservative Party (PVV), at the last Dutch national elections of Sept 12th 2012 expressed a 69% preference in favour of shared/co-parenting for custody arrangements after divorce.

The implications for all British politicians and electoral success is clear.



A similar study has previously taken place in Belgium and was published in the largest French-speaking Belgian newspaper ‘Le Soir’ on 25 June 2012:

See the original Le Soir article about the Belgian research: 

  • Divorce: la garde a la cote alternee (Le Soir Belge – DORZEE, HUGUES – Page 7 – Lundi 25 June 2012).
  • Une majorité the Belges preconise la garde alternee (Le Soir Belge – Page 1 – Lundi 25 June 2012).

Dutch translation of the Le Soir article:

And in collaboration with the partner organizations of the Father Knowledge Centre within the Platform for European Fathers (PEF), these surveys also in other European countries still take place.



[1] The breakdown was by a). gender (male / female), b). region, c). age, d). training / education and e). political voting preference as at the last Dutch national elections of Sept 12th  2012.

4 responses to “Dutch, at 70% go ‘shared parenting mad’

  1. Why is the UK so far behind in considering and acting on this?? Makes me sad and mad.

    • Thanks Hamilton. It was ever thus. The legal profession seem mentally averse to something they have not thought up for themsleves is the only ratinale I can come up with. its not as if the UK has never experienced ‘joint custody’ – we had lots of it in the 1980s (see “20 Wasted Years”). Then there is, I suspect, the ‘gender politics’ that has erupted since the 1980s.

  2. Pierre Van Halteren

    Hi ! would you know were I could get a copy of the results of those polls ? I would need it to improve my lobbying here in Luxembourg in favor of shared residency. My email address: pierrevanhalteren@swann.lu
    Many thanks in advance for any info you might provide !!

  3. I would first try the Dutch Father Knowledge Centre (VKC), see URL above.

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