More people in the Netherlands giving up on faith: 58% are not religious
Residents of the Netherlands are continuing to abandon religion, according to research from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) that looked at the beliefs of people aged 15 and up. Non-religious people first emerged as the majority of the population in 2017, and since then they have continued to make up a larger proportion of society. Fewer than 13 percent of people said they regularly attend religious services.
“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,” the CBS said on Thursday. “A year earlier that was 55 percent, and in 2010 it was still 45 percent.”
The sharpest fall was observed among Roman Catholics. Some 27 percent identified as part of that religion in 2010, falling to 19.8 percent in 2020, and 18.3 percent in 2021. Although the proportion of Catholics has dropped significantly, it still represented the largest single religious group in the Netherlands.
The percentage of people calling themself Protestant fell from 18.0 percent down to 13.6 percent in 2021. During that time, the popularity of Islam also fell from 5.0 percent to 4.6 percent.
On the other hand, the collective group of “other denominations” showed an increase. Over the last decade, this figure fluctuated from a low point of 5.0 percent from 2010-2011, to a high point of 6.5 percent in 2012 and 2015. In 2021, some 6.1 percent of residents said they identified with a different religion or philosophical group than Catholic, Protestant or Islam.
The largest proportion of atheists and non-religious people was found in the 18-25 year age range, with 72.4 percent identifying as such. That figure steadily declines as older segments of the population are analyzed, as they fall into the minority with the population 65 and older.
People quickly identified as not being religious once they reached the age of 18. About 58.8 percent of those between 15-18 years of age said they were not religious.