Almost 6 out of 10 Dutch people do not belong to a religious group

In 2021, 58 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 or older did not consider themselves to belong to a religious denomination or philosophical group. A year earlier that was 55 percent, and in 2010, it was 45 percent. In particular, the proportion of Catholics has shrunk significantly. The decline among the Protestant churches and groups remained limited. The group that claims to belong to the Islam has remained stable in recent years. These conclusions are on the back of the Social cohesion and well-being survey, by CBS.

In 2021, 43 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 or older indicated that they belong to a religious movement or group. Of this group, 18 percent indicated to be Catholic. A year earlier, this was 20 percent, and in 2010, this was 27 percent. Furthermore, 14 percent said to belong to a Protestant church. In 2010, this was 18 percent. The proportion of Muslims remained stable at 5 percent, as did the group that claims to belong to a different ideological group (6 percent).

More women than men with a philosophy of life

In 2021, 45 percent of women considered themselves to belong to a religious group, versus 40 percent of men. The greater religious involvement of women is not a new phenomenon. In 2010, 57 percent of women were members of a religious denomination or philosophical group, versus 52 percent of men.

Differences between age groups increased

In 2021, 28 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds considered themselves to be religious, versus 65 percent of the over-75s. The youngest group, 15 to 18-year-olds, turned out to have an average position at 41 percent.

In 2010, the differences between the age groups were smaller. At that time, almost half of all age groups between 15 and 45 belonged to a religious group. This gradually increased to 73 percent of the over-75s.

Attendance at religious services declined

A decreasing proportion of the population aged 15 or older regularly attends religious services. In 2010, 18 percent of the over-15s still went to a service regularly, at least once a month. This has dropped to 13 percent in 2021. Let me add that the pandemic could play a role here.

Out of the most common religions in the Netherlands, Catholics go to church least often (13 percent in 2021). More than half of the Protestants go to church regularly. 43 percent of the Muslims visit a mosque at least once a month. Among the group with a different denomination or philosophy of life, 28 percent regularly attend a service.

More on this survey via CBS.