Volume 50, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



In this essay the author discusses two issues. First, he offers an explanation of the decline of liberal Protestantism in the Netherlands in the 20th century. He argues that its fall is due to the Dutch system of pillarization (consociationalism). The idea of (liberal Protestant) religion as an integrative force in society was severely frustrated in a situation where the non-liberals organized themselves as separate confessional organisations, which came to dominate the public sphere. Secondly, he discusses the question whether the liberal Protestant ideals have been realized in an indirect way, i.e. in the contemporary open-minded reformed Churches or in the welfare state, taken as the materialization of a liberal civil religion. The answer to this question depends on whether one is willing to see liberal Protestantism not only as a religious movement, but also as a cultural force.


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