Inspectorate knew about forced castrations

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

The health authorities in the predominantly Catholic provinces of Brabant and Limburg apparently knew that institutions for the mentally handicapped  were involved in forcible castrations in the 1950s.

Regional newspaper De Limburger published a report on Monday based on minutes taken at board meetings during that period. Parents were reportedly never informed of the castrations - or at best only later.

The paper writes that representatives of the provincial health authorities regularly attended board meetings of the Limburg and Brabant Catholic psychiatric institutions. Castration was openly discussed. Minutes from these meetings show that, although adult patients had to give their permission for the procedure, in practice there was nothing voluntary about it.

At the weekend, a number of MPs announced they wanted to hold a parliamentary hearing with Wim Deetman, chair of the commission who investigated sex abuse at Catholic institutions.

They met with him before but the MPs say that recent reports in national paper NRC Handelsblad about forced castrations are reason to meet again. The NRC report alleges that at least one sexually abused boy was castrated to "cure him of his homosexual tendencies."

In a reaction, the church-installed Deetman Commission says it did not publish any findings on the castration of abused minors in the 1950s in its final report because it had "too few leads for further investigation."


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide


Read more: Forced castrations reportedly found in Roman Catholic care