Six in ten people religious

22/12/2003 10:00

In 2002 six in ten people over 18 in the Netherlands belonged to a religious denomination. However far fewer people are church goers: two people in ten went to their church or mosque at least once a week.

Religious denomination, 1971-2002

Religious denomination, 1971-2002

Almost one third Roman Catholic

In 2002 six in ten people in the Netherlands over the age of 18 felt they belonged to a church or religious group. Their share has been stable for a decade.

A century and a half ago almost everyone belonged to a church or religious group. In 1971 about three quarters of the population still belonged to a church.

In 2002 almost one third is Roman Catholic, 14 percent Dutch reformed and 7 percent Calvinist. About 8 percent of the population belongs to the other denominations, including Islam. About 40 percent does not belong to any church.

Religious denomination by age, 2002

Religious denomination by age, 2002

More women and older people

There are more women than men among the people who feel they belong to a religious denomination. There is also a correspondence between age and religion. There are relatively more older people religious than younger people. However, the age difference hardly occurs among Calvinists. The ‘other denominations’ category includes relatively more younger than older people.

Seven in ten do not go to church

Being religious does not imply frequent church going. Close to seven in ten people over 18 hardly if ever go to a church or mosque. A fifth attends a religious service at least once a month, while some 12 percent attends every week.

The share of church-going people has been falling since 1997. In 1997 a quarter attended a religious service at least once a month.

Church goers by age, 2002

Church goers by age, 2002

More older people in church

Church going also corresponds with age. Over one third of the people over 65 goes to church once a month. In the 18-34 age bracket this is 16 percent.

Miriam van Baal and Hans Schmeets

Source: StatLine