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The 2023 Dutch Debate Over Youth Transitions

Medical, legal, and cultural debate over the practice of youth gender transitions has come to the birthplace of the Dutch Protocol

The Netherlands, like the rest of the Western world, has experienced an unprecedented increase in the number of youth seeking to undergo gender transition. Like the rest of the West, this sharp increase has been driven largely by adolescent females. Unlike the rest of the Western world, where this dramatic epidemiological shift has led to scientific debate about the practice of youth transition, the Netherlands practice has been insulated from scrutiny—until now.

However, three recent events in 2023 — a medical publication in a prominent Dutch-language medical journal, a legal publication in the Dutch legal weekly journal, and a two-part documentary by BNNVARA, a liberal Dutch public broadcaster — suggest that the debate about the practice of gender transition of minors has finally reached the Netherlands. Below, we detail the key points raised in the debate, discuss the factors that contributed to the debate, and reflect on the significance of this debate in the Netherlands and its implications for the greater international reckoning about the practice of youth gender transition.



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