Thank you to Dutch prison visitors in the UK

Volunteers who pay regular visits to Dutch nationals imprisoned in the UK came together at the Dutch Embassy in London on 11 December 2020. They had their biannual meeting with staff of the Embassy's consular department and with coordinators of the probation services in the Netherlands. Of course, Ambassador Simon Smits wholeheartedly thanked the volunteers for their invaluable assistance. He received all of them at his residence for lunch.

Voluntary prison visitors at the Dutch Embassy
©Dutch Embassy in the United Kingdom
Voluntary prison visitors at the Dutch Embassy

Deportation to the Netherlands

At any given time there are between 150 to 200 Dutch convicts imprisoned in the UK. About half of them have grown up in the UK, but often they are not allowed to stay in the country once they've served their sentence. Instead, they get deported to the Netherlands as soon as they get out of jail.

"Many of them have no social network in the Netherlands and no place to stay", a probation worker tells the volunteers. "So we need to prepare them - while they are still incarcerated - for what is to come. It is very important to have that contact with them, because it enables us to keep an eye on them once they are in the Netherlands. We cannot force former prisoners to stay in contact with us, but if we have that relationship with them, then hopefully we can keep the communication going and we won't lose sight of them."

More information via Embassy's consular department

There are currently 19 volunteers spread all over the UK. Together they have visited around 170 prisoners this year. Most volunteers make six prison visits per year. They are in close contact with the Dutch Embassy in the UK and with the probation services (reclassering) in the Netherlands.

Want to know more about the work of our volunteers? Please contact LON-CONS@minbuza.nl.

Prison visitors gather for their biannual meeting at the Dutch Embassy, December 2019
©Dutch Embassy in the United Kingdom
Prison visitors gather for their biannual meeting at the Dutch Embassy, 11 December 2019