Netherlands

Population

About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

Click here for the sources of the statistical data

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16299745
Surface area:41530 km2
Capital:Amsterdam
GNI per capita:31700 US$
Classification:Developed economy
Languages:

Dutch

Religions:

Christian: 57.00%

Muslim: 5.00%

Christianity:

Catholics: 5202000

Protestants: 3477400

Orthodox: 9150

Independent: 558180

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The Netherlands emerged as an independent nation in the 16th century. The republic was fully recognized in 1648. It was one of the leading maritime, economic and colonial powers in the 17th century. The country became a constitutional monarchy in 1848. It was occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II. In the post-war decolonization period, the Dutch tried in vain to keep the Netherlands East Indies, their largest, and most profitable, colony, and conceded its independence only in 1949. The country has developed a strong economy, based on agriculture, trade and industry, and a comprehensive well-fare system. It is one of the six founding members of the European Union. The "low lands" were Christianized in the 8th century by missionaries from Ireland. The 16th century republic embraced the Calvinist Reformation. The Netherlands became a bulwark of conservative reformed churches, but also a stronghold of the ecumenical movement. The first WCC Assembly was held in Amsterdam in 1948. Most of the Protestant churches and the Catholic Church are together in the Council of Churches since 1968. The two large Reformed churches and the small Lutheran church formed in 2004 the new Protestant Church in the Netherlands. New and vibrant migrant churches of African, Asian and Latin American origin have come into being. Together with the Moluccan Christians who moved to the Netherlands at the time of Indonesia's independence, they have formed their own council, SKIN. There is also a strong Evangelical Alliance, affiliated with the WEA. Church affiliation and church attendance have declined sharply since the 1960s.

 

Last updated: 01/01/06