Multiple religious belonging in the Netherlands: an empirical approach to hybrid religiosity

J.T. Berghuijs

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Dutch society is highly secularized in terms of decreasing church membership and church
attendance. Meanwhile, there are many ‘religious creatives’ who fulfil their need for meaning by using
multiple religious sources. This paper presents an empirical investigation into the occurrence and nature of
hybrid religion in the Netherlands, seen as ‘multiple religious belonging’ (MRB). After a number of global
indications of the importance of MRB, this is the first attempt to quantify and detail MRB in a population.
A new approach to ‘religious belonging’ is developed, not in an exclusive, ‘property’ sense, but in terms
of being related and feeling at home. This approach leads to a number of ‘modalities of belonging’, that
can be measured per religion. To do so, a survey among a representative sample of the Dutch population
was used. The survey results indicate that MRB is present among at least 23% of the population in varying
combinations and intensities. They also highlight the tendency to emphasize the relatedness between
religions, and the permeability and even blurring of the boundaries between them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-37
Number of pages19
JournalOpen Theology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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