The professionalization of chaplaincy: A Comparison of 1997 and 2017 Surveys in The Netherlands

J.N. den Toom*, Renske Kruizinga, Anke I. Liefbroer, Jacques Körver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Chaplaincy has become increasingly professionalized in response to
both the standardization in healthcare and the changing religious
landscape. Whereas several studies have paid attention to the professionalization
of chaplaincy as a whole, no research has been
found that describes the implications for individual chaplains. The
present article describes the professionalization of Dutch chaplains in
the last two decades. We compared the results of two surveys conducted
with chaplains in the Netherlands in 1997 and 2017. We
describe professionalization by distinguishing between the changed
values, expertise, and positioning of chaplains. We found that chaplains’
expertise has been developed by a growing but highly diverse
body of knowledge. Furthermore, a pluralization of chaplains’ worldviews
was observed, including non-religious and non-affiliated positions.
Lastly, no major changes were observed in the embedding
of chaplains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health Care Chaplaincy
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chaplaincy
  • The Netherlands
  • pluralization
  • professionalization
  • spiritual care


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