Dutch families have old-fashioned parental roles, says first fatherhood professor

Young girl transporting children in the cart . Amsterdam. NetherDutch families have a old fashioned division of roles between parents, says the first Dutch professor of fatherhood in Wednesday’s Trouw.

‘Here women spend twice as much time on their children as men do, while in Scandinavian countries the roles are almost equal,’ says Renske Keizer who is based at Amsterdam University.

Keizer expects to publish the results of her first two research projects next year. One looks at the role of fathers on language development in children. The second looks at behavioural problems in children and the importance of attachment to a father figure.


Keizer says that compared with other Western countries the Dutch are very traditional, with mother working part-time and father as the breadwinner. It is a division of roles which everyone works to maintain, from politicians to the dominant mores, she told Trouw.

‘A father gets two days of paid leave when a child is born. One day for the birth itself and one day to register the child,’ she points out. Women, by contrast, get 16 weeks.

Foreign research indicates that children whose fathers are more involved do better at school, are better behaved and have better relationships, she points out. ‘But if this is due to having an involved father is not clear. That is the core of my research,’ she said.