One divorce leads to another

Thirty-five thousand Dutch marriages ended in divorce last year. This number has grown from 5.5 thousand in 1960, via twenty thousand in 1975, topping thirty thousand for the first time in the eighties. Since then the number of decrees absolute made by the Dutch courts has been between 30 and 35 thousand annually.

Marriages ending in divorce
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Over two million Dutch people have experienced a divorce at first hand

Taking stock of the situation, we can see that in the space of a quarter of a century two million people in the Netherlands have been directly involved in a marriage break-up.

In the period 1976-1979 some 177 thousand partners and 110 thousand underage children experienced a divorce at first hand. In the eighties these figures rose to 600 thousand partners and 325 thousand children, and one decade later, in the nineties, 650 thousand partners en 275 thousand children went through a divorce.

Children of divorced parents are more likely to break off their own relationships

The upward trend in the number of divorces is an important contributing factor to the increase in the number of single Dutch people. Up to 2025 another million single people will join these ranks, a significant proportion of whom will have been formerly married.

Divorced parents and daughters’ relationship behaviour

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Not all these ex-husbands and wives see their children regularly. One quarter of children of divorced parents no longer have any contact with their fathers, and another quarter have a difficult relationship with their fathers.

In the long run, the experiences of these children are expected to lead to less durable relationships. Children of divorced parents are more likely to break off their own relationships than children who grow up with both biological parents. There are no differences in this respect between those who are married and those who live together without being married.

Jan Latten