This article explores the relations between Reformed leaders in Scotland and the Netherlands in the nineteenth century. Both countries experienced Reformed revivals and the creation of free churches. An important debate in both countries was about the relation between these free churches and the state. The ideas of Groen van Prinsterer in the Netherlands were influenced by the Scotsman Thomas Chalmers. Confronted with the Free Church, they both advocated the Christian character of the nation, and the Christian character of the public domain. However, they both underestimated the influence of secularization and both lacked political support for their ideas. The future went to the Free Church and a secular or plural character of the public domain. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2013.