Over half of the Dutch population are not religious

© Hollandse Hoogte
For the first time, a majority of the Dutch population have stated they do not belong to any religious group. In 2017, slightly under half (49 percent) of the group aged 15 years or older stated they were religious. This share was still 50 percent in the previous year, down from 54 percent in 2012. The new figures are reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) as part of a recent survey on social cohesion and well-being.

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Religious denomination or ideological group, persons aged 15 yrs or older, 2017
Kerkelijke gezindtePercentage (%)
No religious denomination51
Religious denomination49
Of which:
Roman Catholicism24
Dutch Reformed Church6
Protestant Church in the Netherlands6
Other denomination6
Reformed Churches in the Netherlands3

Last year, 24 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 years and over were affiliated with the Roman Catholic church. Another 15 percent were Protestants, including 6 percent Dutch Reformed Church, 3 percent other Reformed Churches and another 6 percent belonging to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN).

Furthermore, 5 percent were Muslims and 6 percent indicated they had a another faith, such as Judaism or Buddhism.

Attendance at religious services, persons aged 15 yrs or older, 2017
GezindteAt least once per week (%)Two to three times per week (%)Once per month (%)Less than once per month (%)Seldom or never (%)
Total (including none) 1033778
Roman Catholicism6351769
Dutch Reformed Church1965961
Reformed Churches in the Netherlands5864625
Protestant Church in the Netherlands331981229

Slight drop in attendance as of 2012

Attendance at religious services has become lower over time, although the decline has levelled off in recent years. In 1971, still 37 percent of the population attended religious services on a regular basis - at least once per month - but this share had dropped to 17 percent in 2012 and 16 percent in 2017.

Of the population aged 15 years and up, 10 percent attended weekly religious meetings last year; 3 percent went two to three times monthly, while a similar share went once per month. Another 7 percent attended less than once a month. Over three-quarters of the population (78 percent) seldom or never attended a religious service.

The slight drop as of 2012 was only seen in Catholic church attendance; among both Protestants and Muslims, there was no decline.

Religious denomination or ideological group, 2017
LeeftijdPercentage (%)
15 to 17 yrs 43.5
18 to 24 yrs32.8
25 to 34 yrs40.4
35 to 44 yrs46.9
45 to 54 yrs49.4
55 to 64 yrs52.3
65 to 74 yrs58.0
75 yrs or older71.5

Women more religious and involved

In 2017, 46 percent of men and 52 percent of women stated they belonged to a religious denomination. Among women, 17 percent regularly attended services, against 14 percent of the men. By far the smallest religious involvement was seen among young people between 18 and 25 years: one in three were part of a religious group. Of these young believers, 13 percent indicated they attended religious services regularly last year.

The group with the highest share of religious involvement are the elderly. Among the over-75s, 71 percent stated they were religious, with 34 percent attending services regularly.

Lowest attendance among academics

Among those with only primary education attainment, 64 percent belonged to a religious group and 20 percent went to worship services regularly. These shares were 37 and 12 percent respectively among people with a higher education background.