Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 11:30
Religious weddings, funerals still important in Netherlands
Despite empty churches, roughly 50 percent of Dutch still find religious ceremony important when it comes to weddings, funerals and baptisms, according to a study done by the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI). Between 1990 and 2008 there was hardly any change in how Dutch people value religious ceremonies. NIDI analyzed figures form the European Values Study - a very large international survey on a wide number of topics. For this study polls were held in 1990, 1999 and 2008 - the most recent figures available. In 1990 exactly half of the Dutch respondents said they value a religious ceremony at a wedding. In 2008 the results were the same. The same applies to funerals - 60 percent in 1990 and 58 percent in 2008. Baptisms are somewhat less popular at around 40 percent. Despite this the actual number of religious ceremonies is far lower. The number of baptisms, church weddings and religious funerals all showed a decrease in the past years. Churches see their members dwindle and the number of people regularly going to church has been falling for years. "Possibly the traditional religious ceremonies still have a safe place in our value system, despite the increasing diversity of beliefs and religions", according to the study. "The way in which we shape those important events in life, however, is increasingly more varied and therefore there are more and more alternatives."