Religion, National Identity and the Dutch State

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Pepijn VAN HOUWELINGEN, The Netherlands Institute for Social Research, Netherlands
Joep DE HART, The Netherlands Institute for Social Research, Netherlands
How important is religion for Dutch national identity? Has religion become a more or less important ‘identity construct’ in The Netherlands during the past few decades? Is religion only a relevant aspect of Dutch national identity for religious people? Or has (christian) religion emerged as an important element of national identity for the non-religious (so-called ‘culture christens’) as well? And if indeed so, why?

These are some of the research questions we would like to answer based on data collected for two different research projects: religion and national identity in The Netherlands. We will use these data sources –survey data, interviews and case-studies – to shed light on the importance of religion in constructing a national identity in contemporary Dutch society. We will also compare our findings, using data from the ISPP religion module, with those of a few other (European) countries.

By focusing on the situation in The Netherlands we are also able to take into account institutional and policy contexts especially the modern-day role of religion for the Dutch state, for example in its educational system and during national holidays. Special attention will be given to the role of religion – or religion-like substitutes – in national events in The Netherlands such as the commemoration of the MH17 crash.