The New Spirituality and Religious Transformation in the Netherlands

Anke Bisschops

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    This article describes the current situation of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands, together with specific factors that have contributed to its unusually rapid decline. The relatively new phenomenon of the unbound spiritual seeker has caused Christian spiritual centers to adjust their programming in such as way as to attract members of this new group. The article presents a number of results of our research project on these centers and their visitors. It shows that the majority of the visitors are Christians who are connected to a local parish or congregation and who simultaneously show typical characteristics of unbound spiritual seekers: they are individualistic, value personal growth, authenticity, autonomy etc. Apparently being a Christian and being an unbound spiritual seeker are not mutually exclusive, as has been thought. Finally, the article discusses a number of implications for the church and for the way in which it could respond to this situation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-39
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Practical Theology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • new spirituality
    • religious transformation
    • Netherlands
    • spiritual seekers
    • christian population


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