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Customs

Births

About half of Dutch women choose to give birth at home and not in the hospital, without anesthesia or medical help. They don’t organize baby showers, but when a baby is born, the parents will send a birth announcement. Sometimes you will find a display of a wooden stork in the front garden, or there will be an announcement in the newspaper. This is more or less an invitation for you to come and admire the newborn child (kraambezoek.) They will serve a traditional treat: Dutch rusks spread with butter and topped with pink or blue (depending upon if it is a boy or girl) sugar coated anise seeds (beschuit met muisjes).

It is normal for families to receive eight days of in-home maternity care through the health system after the birth of the baby. The home help aid can do shopping and light cleaning, cook, help with the baby or other child minding, and many other tasks. A considerable assistance in the first week for the new mother!

The Netherlands has the largest percentage of part-time workers, as the mothers like to spend more time with their children. The children may go to day care for several days in the week. When they turn four, it is compulsory to go to school. An average family will have two children.