There are believed to be 200 – 300 'hidden' women living in Amsterdam. A new report called Living in forced isolation describes this number as a cautious estimate and says the actual figure could be much higher.
Researchers from the Verwey Jonker Institute carried out the study commissioned by the Amsterdam city council. They sketch a picture of women shut in at home against their will by husbands or family. These women have virtually no contact with society and rarely go outdoors.
The report identifies two separate groups. The 'oppressed hidden woman' group is mainly women from a strict Islamic or Christian culture. They are carefully monitored by their families and community and often resigned to their situation, meaning violence or the threat of violence are less often involved. These women also tend to accept their isolation more because they speak no Dutch and are unaware of their rights in the Netherlands.