Secular Netherlands

A couple of days ago I wrote that reports about the prevalence of secularism in Britain may be exaggerated. According to an article last week in Der Spiegel, reports of secularism in the Netherlands would not be. The article profiles Marc de Beyer, an art historian in Utrecht whose specialty is church artifacts – statues, crucifixes, altars, and the like. Lately, de Beyer has been getting a lot of work as a consultant on church liquidations. When a church closes, he can be very helpful in advising which objects will sell, and for how much. Pews are much in demand. Der Spiegel says that “Christianity’s retreat from society” has been very pronounced in the Netherlands, where two churches close per week. The Protestant Church alone loses 60,000 persons a year. At that rate, the article says, the Dutch Protestant Church “will cease to exist” by 2050.

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