Atheism Rises in Netherlands: Half of Dutchmen Do Not Believe in Deities

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For the first time in history there are an equal number of religious and non-religious people in the Netherlands, according to a report by Statistics Netherlands. Last year 50 percent of the 18-years and older population were atheists, and 50 percent followed some form of religion, NOS reports.

The largest group of believers are Roman Catholics, with 24 percent of the population. Protestants follow with 15 percent. Around 5 percent of the Dutch population are Muslim and 6 percent adhere to other faiths like Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism.

The religious movements vary widely by province. Two thirds of the Limburg population are Catholic. Zeeland and the eastern parts of the Netherlands count the most reformed believers. Noord- and Zuid-Holland count the most Muslims.

One in six Dutch still regularly go to a service at a church, mosque or synagogue. Zeeland and Overijssel residents do so most often. The most pietistic Dutch live in the so-called Bible Belt – the area that runs from Zeeland, through Veluwe to municipalities like Urk, Kampen and Genemuiden in Overijssel – with half of adults regularly attending a religious service. In Urk, 94 percent of adults go to church regularly.

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