Religion Renegotiated: Faith-Based Organizations and the State in the Netherlands since the 1960s


Recent controversies in the Netherlands strongly suggest that the relationship between 'faith-based organizations' and the state is being redefined and renegotiated. The Staatkundige Gereformeerde Partij (SGP) can no longer exclude women from passive suffrage. And Jewish and Islamic communities nearly lost their prerogative in the Netherlands to engage in traditional ritual slaughter. These are but a few issues that illustrate the newly contested relationship between 'church' (defined here as all faith-based organizations, including houses of worship) and 'state' (both national and local government as well as judicial bodies). The important relationship between faith-based organizations and government - including not only national developments but those at the municipal level, as well as the influence of Dutch and European courts - invites systematic historical investigation.
This proposal offers a historical examination of the grounding for Dutch government policy toward faith-based organizations - old and new, from all religions. Using new digital methods of research, it offers a longitudinal study of the Dutch public debate about how these organizations should be regulated by government policy. It seeks to uncover the sometimes subtle and unpredictable ways in which faith-based organizations were accommodated in the public square by governmental bodies, and how the claims of these groups were weighed. And it ties policy-making to public discussions, showing the relationship between policy-making on the one hand and a broader public debate on the other. In so doing it hopes to shed light on developments not only of the Dutch case, which has generated much comment, but also transnational ones.

Dit project wordt uitgevoerd in samenwerking met Stichting tot Heil des Volks, Besturenraad, Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid, Bouwman Van Dommelen Advocaten, CMO (Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid), Gemeente Amsterdam, Gemeente Zoeterwoude, Stichting Leger des Heils Welzijns-en Gezondheidszorg, Stichting Dock en Prof. mr. B.M. Teldersstichting.


Boek of monografie

  • J.C. Kennedy, P. van Dam, F. Wielenga(2014): Achter de zuilen pp. 456 , Amsterdam
  • H.M. ten Napel(2017): Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom pp. 170 , London and New York

Hoofdstuk in boek

  • T. Jähnichen, J.C. Kennedy, W. Damberg(2015): Neue soziale Bewegungen als Herausforderung sozialkirchlichen Handelns pp. 31 - 48 , Stuttgart
  • I.A. Diepenhorst, L. van 't Hul, A.C. Flipse, B. Mellink(2016): Verder Kijken pp. 203 - 209 , Amsterdam
  • R. Ahdar, H.M. ten Napel(2018): Research Handbook on Law and Religion pp. 0 - 0

Wetenschappelijk artikel


  • J.C. Kennedy, B. Henkes, C. Dullemond(2017): Maar we wisten ons door de Heer geroepen.





Prof. dr. J.C. Kennedy

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, University College Utrecht


Drs. W.L. van 't Hul MSc, Drs. W.L. van 't Hul MSc, Dr. M. Rutjes MA, Dr. M. Rutjes MA, Dr. M. Rutjes MA


01/12/2013 tot 01/04/2018