Christianity more cultural, says survey

The Dutch believe less in the church as a religion but remain devoted to the Christian faith and rituals as part of their culture. The percentage of people that belong to the country’s two biggest churches, the Protestant and Roman Catholic, has fallen to 30% of the population compared to 40% a decade ago.

This is the conclusion of a survey, God in Nederland, by the government’s socio-cultural research bureau SCP. The survey, commissioned by the broadcaster RKK, is carried out every 10 years.
Despite the declining number of church-goers, almost three-quarters of the population say that religion is important to maintain norms and values. A majority of people turn to Christianity for solace at times of disaster or mourning and observe Christian holidays. And 67% bring up their children in line with Christian ideals, the survey says.
The survey also concludes that that many people are looking for meaning for their lives and there is an increasing interest in what the Volkskrant calls ‘post modern spirituality’. According to the survey, between 30% and 43% of the population do not rule out that there is some truth in astrology, spiritualism and clairvoyance.
Reacting to the survey’s findings, prime minister Jan-Peter Balkenende of the Christian Democrat Party said on Sunday: ‘I see the figures but I also see that people cannot live without belief.’
He said that it is important that the church now know what motivates people and what they need: ‘Unlike in the past, people are searching[for something] but they need something to hold on to. Churches must learn how to answer that need.’

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation