Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dying Dutch Churches

Dutchman Helps to Liquidate Dying Dutch Churches
Benjamin Dürr, Der Spiegel, 22 December 2011 (Hat tip: MR).

A drastic exodus from the church is underway in the Netherlands. With two churches shuttered each week, one man has become the country's top advisor on how to repurpose the once holy buildings. Some are demolished, while others find new life as mosques, stores and even recreation centers…

Some 4,400 church buildings remain in the Netherlands. But each week, around two close their doors forever. This mainly affects the Catholics, who will be forced to offload half of their churches in the coming years.

For years the number of faithful has been declining. The trend has swept across all of Western Europe, with churches forced to close in France and Belgium too. But in the Netherlands, Christianity's retreat from society has been particularly drastic. The Protestant Church alone loses some 60,000 members each year. At this rate, it will cease to exist there by 2050, church officials say.

I have always taken the de-churching of Europe to be a combination of disgust at Church behavior and involvement in 19th century and early 20th century politics, and the competition from the social-progressive ideology.  I suppose you could add the numerous competing alternatives in entertainment that take up peoples time. No doubt that is a simplification at best.

In any case, the collapse of the churches continues.


Humble wife said...

Here in the US too. I live in southern New Mexico and in the past six years we have seen church after church vacate and close.

The liberal ideology is consuming and is sweeping world wide. Once it takes over, with no roots it fails and the people leave.


russell1200 said...

THe U.S. is a tougher call. Supposedly the numbers are stable.

But if you look at this type of piece, there are some obvious nuances not captured by simple surveys of church attendance.