Almost 6 in 10 Dutch people do not have a religious affiliation

With the arrival of a Cross Fit box, life has finally returned to the Rozenkranskerk in Treebeek.
© Hollandse Hoogte
In 2021, 58 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 years and over stated they did not belong to any religious denomination or ideological group. This was 55 percent in the previous year and still 45 percent in 2010. The share of Catholics fell in particular. The decline among Protestant churches and groups remained limited. The group describing themselves as Islamic has remained stable in recent years. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) as part of a survey on social cohesion and well-being.

Religious denomination or ideological group
JaartalNone (% of persons aged 15 yrs and over)Roman Catholicism (% of persons aged 15 yrs and over)Protestant Church in the Netherlands (% of persons aged 15 yrs and over)Islam (% of persons aged 15 yrs and over)Other (% of persons aged 15 yrs and over)

In 2021, 43 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 years and over said they belong to a religious group or denomination. Eighteen percent of this group described themselves as Catholic, down from 20 percent in 2020 and 27 percent in 2010. Furthermore, 14 percent stated they belonged to a Protestant church, down from 18 percent in 2010. The proportion of Muslims remained stable at 5 percent, as did the group saying they belong to another ideological group (6 percent).

More women than men with a religious affiliation

Of the female population, 45 percent considered themselves to be part of a religious group, versus 40 percent of the male population The greater religious affiliation among women is not new. In 2010, 57 percent of women were members of a religious denomination or ideological group, while among men this was 52 percent.

Religious denomination or ideological group by age group, 2021
LeeftijdNone (%)Roman Catholicism (%)Protestant Church in the Netherlands (%)Other (%)Islam (%)
15-17 yrs58.88.313.44.415.0
18-24 yrs72.
25-34 yrs68.
35-44 yrs61.
45-54 yrs60.617.
55-64 yrs54.423.
65-74 yrs44.728.319.26.61.1
75 yrs and over35.536.622.34.90.8

Wider differences between age groups

In 2021, 28 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds indicated they belong to a religious group, versus 65 percent of the over-75s. The youngest age group (15 to 17 years) held an average position at 41 percent.

In 2010, the differences between the age groups were less pronounced. At that time, almost half of all age groups between 15 and 44 years belonged to a religious group. This rose steadily to a 73-percent share among the over-75s.

Religious denomination or ideological group, 2021
CategorieMen (% of persons aged 15 yrs and over)Women (% of persons aged 15 yrs and over)
Roman Catholicism16.3820.12
Protestant Church in the Netherlands12.6914.42

Lower attendance at religious services

An increasingly smaller proportion of the population aged 15 or over regularly attends religious services. In 2010, 18 percent of the over-15s still attended a service regularly, i.e. at least once per month. This dropped to 13 percent in 2021.

Of the most common religions in the Netherlands, Catholics go to church the least often (13 percent in 2021). Among Protestants, more than half regularly attend church.

Among Muslims, 43 percent visit a mosque at least once a month. Among those belonging to a different denomination or ideological group, 28 percent attend a service on a regular basis.

Regular church/mosque attendance (at least once per month), 2021
CategorieShare (%)
Protestant Church in the Netherlands50.8
Roman Catholicism12.9