With approximately 1 million (practicing) Muslims living in the Netherlands (6.25% of the population), Islam has become one of the country’s major religions. Mosques have been built in most larger cities, by communities of immigrants from Turkey, Morocco and Indonesia. The Dutch public is gradually learning more about Islam, and is consequently becoming more accommodating of, for example, Islamic colleagues and pupils who are fasting for Ramadan.

Modern Dutch society is very secular, and not many Dutch people identify with an organized religion. Still, you will see plenty of churches and other places of worship in the Netherlands, and will be free to practice your own religion if you wish.

Christianity

The southern provinces of Brabant and Limburg are predominantly Catholic, whilst other provinces are mainly Protestant. Of the Dutch people who claim to have an affiliation with the church today, only about 5% attend services regularly. Though there are more registered members of the Roman Catholic Church (4.2 million), than of the Protestant Church (1.7 million), only 17% of Catholics go to church regularly, compared to 22% of Protestants.

Islam

With approximately 1 million (practicing) Muslims living in the Netherlands (6.25% of the population), Islam has become one of the country’s major religions. Mosques have been built in most larger cities, by communities of immigrants from Turkey, Morocco and Indonesia. The Dutch public is gradually learning more about Islam, and is consequently becoming more accommodating of, for example, Islamic colleagues and pupils who are fasting for Ramadan.

Judaism

Before and during the Second World War, when Hitler’s anti-Semitism took hold in Europe, many Jews came to the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the Netherlands was occupied during the war and was unable to be the safe haven they had hoped for. Currently, a sizeable Jewish community of around 35,000 members remains in the Netherlands. Their center is in Amsterdam, but synagogues can be found in many other cities.

Other religions that have active communities in the Netherlands include: Hinduism, Buddhism and Baha’i.

Side Note

  • 42.2% of the Dutch is not religious
  • 30% Roman is Catholic
  • 20% is Protestant
  • 5.8% is Muslim
  • 2% is other of another religion (Hindu, Buddhist, Jehovah’s Witness, etc.)

Tip
Having trouble finding a community that practices your religion?

Try contacting the Netherlands Center for Foreigners (NCB or Nederlands Centrum voor Buitenlanders) in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leiden or Tilburg: www.ncbnet.nl

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