Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Theology

Editor-in-Chief: Taliaferro, Charles

1 Issue per year

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Multiple Religious Belonging in the Netherlands: An Empirical Approach to Hybrid Religiosity

Joantine Berghuijs
Published Online: 2017-01-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0003


Dutch society is highly secularized in terms of decreasing church membership and church attendance. Meanwhile, there are many ‘religious creatives’ who fulfil their need for meaning by using multiple religious sources. This paper presents an empirical investigation into the occurrence and nature of hybrid religion in the Netherlands, seen as ‘multiple religious belonging’ (MRB). After a number of global indications of the importance of MRB, this is the first attempt to quantify and detail MRB in a population. A new approach to ‘religious belonging’ is developed, not in an exclusive, ‘property’ sense, but in terms of being related and feeling at home. This approach leads to a number of ‘modalities of belonging’, that can be measured per religion. To do so, a survey among a representative sample of the Dutch population was used. The survey results indicate that MRB is present among at least 23% of the population in varying combinations and intensities. They also highlight the tendency to emphasize the relatedness between religions, and the permeability and even blurring of the boundaries between them

Keywords: hybrid religiosity; multiple religious belonging; lived religion; world religions; relatedness


  • Bernhardt, Reinhold, and Perry Schmidt-Leukel. “Zur Einführung”. In Multiple religiöse Identität: Aus verschiedenen religiösen Traditionen schöpfen, edited by Reinhold Bernhardt, and Perry Schmidt-Leukel, 7-13.Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Bernts, Ton, and Joantine Berghuijs. God in Nederland 1966-2015. Utrecht: Ten Have, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Bernts, Ton, Gerard Dekker and Joep de Hart. God in Nederland 1996-2006. Kampen: Ten Have, 2006.Google Scholar

  • Bochinger, Christoph. “Multiple religiöse Identitäten im Westen zwischen Traditionsbezug und Individualisierung”. In Multiple religiöse Identität: Aus verschiedenen religiösen Traditionen schöpfen, edited by Reinhold Bernhardt and Perry Schmidt- Leukel, 137-161. Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Braak, André van der. “Chinese Chan Buddhism in the Netherlands as an Example of Multiple Religious Belonging”. In Religion and Social Cohesion: Western, Chinese and Intercultural Perspectives, edited by André van der Braak, Dedong Wei and Caifang Zhu, 159-168. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2015.Google Scholar

  • Braak, André van der. “Meervoudige religieuze binding: van een dualistisch wij-zij denken naar een inclusief non-dualistisch denken”. In Alsof ik thuis ben: samenleven in een land vol verschillen, edited by Manuela Kalsky, 307-321. Almere: Parthenon, 2013.Google Scholar

  • Cornille, Catherine. “Double religious belonging: Aspects and questions”. Buddhist-Christian Studies 23 (2003), 43-49.Google Scholar

  • Cornille, Catherine. “The dynamics of multiple belonging”. In Many Mansions? Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity, edited by Catherine Cornille, 1-6. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock publishers, 2002.Google Scholar

  • Cornille, Catherine, ed. Many Mansions? Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock publishers, 2002.Google Scholar

  • Drew, Rose. Buddhist and Christian? An exploration of dual belonging. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011.Google Scholar

  • Glock, Charles Y., and Rodney Stark. Religion and society in tension. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1965.Google Scholar

  • Groot, Kees de, Jos Pieper, and Willem Putman. Zelf zorgen voor je ziel. Almere: Parthenon, 2013.Google Scholar

  • Hammer, Olav. Claiming knowledge: Strategies of epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age. Leiden: Brill, 2004.Google Scholar

  • Hek, Paul. Resultaten enquête Boedhisme in Nederland. NPO, afd. Media Onderzoek & -Advies, 2009.Google Scholar

  • Holmes, Nathaniel. “Lost in Translation? Multiple Religious Participation and Religious Fidelity”. The Journal of Religionn 94: 4 (2014), 425-435.Google Scholar

  • Jesudason, Peniel, Rufus Rajkumar, and Joseph Prabhakar Dayam, eds. Many Yet One? Multiple Religious Belonging. Geneva: World Council of Churches Publications, 2015.Google Scholar

  • Kalsky, Manuela. “Embracing diversity: Reflections on the Transformation of Christian Identity”. Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 17: 2 (2007), 221-231.Google Scholar

  • Kalsky, Manuela. “Religious Diversity as a Challenge to Theology: The research projects of the Dutch Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Society”. In A Glance in the Mirror: Dutch and Polish Religious Cultures, edited by Manuela Kalsky and Peter Nissen, 63-76. Münster: Lit-Verlag, 2012.Google Scholar

  • Kalsky, Manuela, and Frieda Pruim. Flexibel geloven: Zingeving voorbij de grenzen van religies. Vught: Skandalon, 2014.Google Scholar

  • Kottak, Conrad P. Mirror for Humanity. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.Google Scholar

  • McGuire, Meredith B. Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in Everyday Life. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Meyer, Birgit. Mediation and the Genesis of Presence. Utrecht: Faculty of Humanities, 2012.Google Scholar

  • Oostveen, Daan. “Multiple Religious Belonging: Hermeneutical Challenges for Theology of Religions”. Open Theology 2017; 3: 38-47.Google Scholar

  • Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Many Americans mix multiple faiths: Eastern, New Age beliefs Widespread. Washington: Pew Research Center, 2009.Google Scholar

  • Pew Research Center. The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World. Washington: Pew Research Center, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Pew Research Center. U.S. Public becoming less religious. Washington: Pew Research Center, 2015.Google Scholar

  • Phan, Peter C. “Multiple Religious Belonging: Opportunities and Challenges for Theology and Church”. Theological Studies 64: 3 (2003), 495-519.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Pollack, Detlef, and Olaf Müller. Religionsmonitor: Verstehen was verbindet: Religiosität und Zusammenhalt in Deutschland. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2013.Google Scholar

  • Schmidt-Leukel, Perry. “Multireligiöse Identität: Anmerkungen aus pluralistischer Sicht”. In Multiple religiöse Identität: Aus verschiedenen religiösen Traditionen schöpfen, edited by Reinhold Bernhardt and Perry Schmidt-Leukel, 243-265. Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Schmidt-Leukel, Perry. Transformation by integration: how interfaith encounter changes Christianity. London: SCM Press, 2009.Google Scholar

  • Schmidt-Leukel, Perry, and Reinhold Bernhardt, editors. Multiple Religiöse Identität: Aus verschiedenen religiösen Traditionen schöpfen: Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Schneider, Laurel C. Beyond Monotheism: A Theology of Multiplicity. New York: Routledge, 2007.Google Scholar

  • Smart, Ninian. Dimensions of the Sacred: An Anatomy of the World’s Beliefs. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998.Google Scholar

  • Voss Roberts, Michelle. “Religious Belonging and the Multiple”. Journal of Feminist Studies of Religion 26: 1 (2010), 43-62.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wuthnow, Robert. America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2016-04-30

Accepted: 2016-09-23

Published Online: 2017-01-13

Published in Print: 2017-01-26

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 19–37, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0003.

Export Citation

© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Anke I. Liefbroer, André F. M. van der Braak, and Manuela Kalsky
Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2018, Volume 33, Number 3, Page 407
Eva Ouwehand, Hanneke Muthert, Hetty Zock, Hennie Boeije, and Arjan Braam
The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 2018, Volume 28, Number 1, Page 31

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in