European Bible Belts (EBB): understanding strong religion, social cohesion and cultural integration in Europe


This network project aims to investigate group cultures and regions that are known as Bible Belts in various European countries. The groups in case distinguish themselves in political, cultural, social and economic spheres by their strict values, norms, and practices, generally in resistance to predominant liberalism. They construct their own past, mostly in contrast with other views on the histories of their tradition and their nation in several contexts of globalisation versus regionalism. As the main question investigates the tensions between secularization and fundamentalism with respect to some pockets of strong religion, the project will help us to understand the complexity of the problems and challenges of social cohesion and cultural integration in the modern world. The network will prepare a fully elaborated research proposal to the Horizon2020 Call ‘Religious diversity in Europe: past, present and future’ (CULT-COOP-05-2017). The exploration of European Bible Belts fits very well into the call description, addressing the resilience and cohesion of European societies as strongly conditioned by beliefs and identities as well as by collective representations and constructions of the past and present realities and expectations about the future.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. F.A. van Lieburg

Affiliated with

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Religiegeschiedenis


01/09/2016 to 01/09/2018