The Dutch home birth culture




Creators: Jet Homoet en Ane C.Ose


The project is taking place under the umbrella of the Foundation Ziezo:



The life stories, the oral history, of the midwives, maternity nurses and gynaecologists give an insight into who and what formed them, how they came to choose their profession and what experiences they had in practising it. The story is told from the perspective of personal experience, allowing us to understand them both in their actions and in their emotional lives. The collected stories give an insight into our home birth culture.


Why this project?

  • Giving birth to your child at home, in your own familiar surroundings; in the Netherlands that is a real option for most women. And still is. Because the percentage of women who give birth at home has fallen dramatically in 30 years, from 35% in 1990 to 13% in 2020.
  • Birth care in the Netherlands is unique; care providers from all over the world come here to see how we do it – with those strong midwives and tough women.
  • 6 November 2021 The Dutch home birth culture was given official status as Intangible Heritage.
  • Inextricably linked to our history, it arose and is rooted in a culture of ‘just act normal’ and no fuss, and is based on the premise that women decide for themselves where and how they want to give birth.
  • Due to a wide range of causes and far-reaching reforms in birth care, home birth is under pressure. How do midwives, maternity nurses and gynaecologists see the future of home birth?


1954: Call the midwife: Apprentice midwife on bicycle to childbirth. In background the Nursery School for Midwives in Camperstraat, the side facade in Ruijschstraat can be seen.

Only in the Netherlands is a pregnant woman asked whether she wants to give birth at home or in hospital.