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One of the least religious countries in the world ?

Although it is believed that the Netherlands is one of the least religious countries in the world, that picture might be too simple considering for example the following table:

Belief in God or a higher power, in percentages:

1966 1979 1996 2006
There is a God who personally devotes himself to each person 47 33 24 24
There must be something like a Higher Power who rules life 31 40 39 36
I don’t know whether there is a God or a Higher Power 16 18 27 26
There is neither a God nor a Higher Power 6 9 10 14

Decline in church affiliation is accompanied by growth of the "spiritually unassociated” category to which, according to a recently carried out study, approximately 25 percent of the Dutch population belongs. Typical characteristics are a transcendent orientation, a pragmatic lifestyle, a sense of responsibility and an attitude aligned to harmonious coexistence with the environment. A disproportionate amount of women, people aged between 35 and 49, city dwellers and people with a high level of education are found in the "spiritually unassociated” category.

Source: Religion in the Netherlands by Sipco Vellenga.

D 28 September 2012    AMartijn de Koning

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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