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Winter blackout results in Dutch baby boom

  • Story Highlights
  • 10 villages in eastern Netherlands lost power for two days
  • Nine moths later birth rate is up by 44% on same period last year
  • Community has been battling declining birth rates
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By Saeed Ahmed
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(CNN) -- A small cluster of villages in eastern Netherlands has found itself in the midst of a mini-baby boom -- nine months after a power outage plunged its residents in darkness for two chilly days.

"It was cold in the houses," said Anneleas van Eijkeren, spokeswoman for the municipality of Maasdriel. "They went to bed early to keep warm. And nine months later, we have this -- a little bit more babies."

Forty-four percent more, to be exact. Residents gave birth to 26 babies in September, compared with 18 in September 2007.

Maasdriel is a collection of 11 villages with a population of 24,000. Ten of the 11 villages lost power for 50 hours in December after the blades of a helicopter accidentally sheared the cables providing electricity to the area.

"Some people went to other cities, but a lot of people stayed in their house with low temperature," Van Eijkeren said.

The community is battling a declining birth rate, like the rest of the Netherlands -- which ranks among the lowest in the world.

And while the power cut method worked well, Maasdriel doesn't plan on a deliberate repeat.

"Don't even joke," Van Eijkeren said, laughing. "In Holland, we would like to have more inhabitants -- but not in this way."

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