Danger of circumcision for almost one hundred girls in Arnhem

In Arnhem almost one hundred girls are in the picture who are or have been at serious risk of becoming victims of female circumcision. It is difficult to determine whether this has actually happened. That is what the mayor and aldermen of Arnhem say in response to questions from the SP.

The college bases itself on information from the youth health care sector about the past year and a half. This group has seen a serious threat of genital mutilation, a criminal offence in the Netherlands.

The at-risk group in Arnhem includes 36 girls under the age of 4. The group aged between 4 and 18 has 57 children, some of whom are known to have been circumcised. Because girls over the age of four are no longer fully examined physically, the municipality is often dependent on children or families who raise this issue themselves, reports Omroep Gelderland.


The alderman asks doctors and other healthcare workers to pay close attention to signs of possible circumcisions and to report them. The college speaks of “a gruesome form of mutilation, which is seen as a serious form of child abuse and honour-related violence” Other ways of reducing the problem and the cost of doing so are being explored.

Youth health care is keeping an extra eye on all children from Arnhem who come from a country where female circumcision is practised, according to the municipality. Parents are told that female genital mutilation is punishable. Teachers and other professionals are also trained in recognition.


SP councillor Sarah Dobbe finds the Arnhem numbers shocking. She wants a plan not only to prevent the mutilations, but also to help the victims. “It will have enormous consequences for these girls for the rest of their lives,” she says to Omroep Gelderland. The college sees nothing in reimbursing a recovery operation after a mutilation. That should be arranged by the health insurers.

In the Netherlands around 41,000 women and girls were circumcised in 2018, according to figures from the Pahros knowledge centre and the Eramus Medical Centre. Female genital mutilation is punishable in the Netherlands and has been prohibited by law since 1993.