Dutch family threatened with losing their children finds asylum in Poland

Source: Polish Ministry of Justice/YouTube.
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

A Dutch doctor and his wife who believe they have been victims of malicious rumors of child neglect have found safe harbor in Poland after Dutch and Belgian authorities threatened to take four of their children away.

A Polish court revoked the European Arrest Warrant issued against Dr. Leonard Hermans by Belgian police. Unlike officials in the Netherlands and Belgium, Poland did not see any grounds for handing the children over to Dutch authorities and arresting their father.

The family has found refuge in Poland, and their case was the subject of a press conference in Poland’s justice ministry. Speaking at the conference, Leonard Hermans said that Poland is a country that does not interfere in the lives of ordinary happy families. 

Deputy Justice Minister Marcin Warchoł said that the case was further evidence that Poland is a country that takes family policy seriously and protects it. It takes action against real abuse but it does not take children from their parents on the basis of spurious or anonymous claims nor because of financial problems a family may face. 

Hermans thanked the Polish authorities for their stance and said he and his family would be happy to stay in Poland. He observed that the Netherlands is a country that often accuses Poland of rule of law violations when it is the Netherlands that ruthlessly and persistently abuses citizens’ rights and breaks up families.

Leonard Hermans is an optician, and his wife is a lawyer. They run a real estate business and have four children aged from 7 to 15. The sister of Dr. Herman has become engaged in a conflict with her siblings over a family inheritance, and in retaliation, she informed on Dr. Herman’s wife to the Veilig Thuis organization, the Dutch equivalent of Germany’s child welfare agency, Jugendamt, alleging child neglect. The parents were not able to access the files of the case, but the authorities took a decision to place the children into foster care. 

The family migrated to Germany but were tracked down by the Belgian authorities. On receiving a court order, the father fled with the family to Poland. The parents were then tried in absentia and sentenced to 4 years in prison for kidnapping their children. 

A Polish court has waived the European Arrest Warrant issued on the Dutch doctor by Belgium. It dismissed the evidence provided by the Belgian authorities and allowed the family to stay in Poland. 

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