Religion

Religion
According to a recent survey, fewer than 20% of Dutch people attend church regularly, but historically the Netherlands has been home to a multitude of religions. Since the middle ages, and until the late 20th century, the Netherlands was a predominantly Christian country. Although religious diversity remains to the present day, there is a major decline in religious adherence. Almost half of the Dutch population are not members of any religious community. The other 55% are distributed over a number of religions, from which almost half is affiliated with a Christian church. The largest group (26.6%) is Roman Catholic. The number of Catholics is not only declining, but many people who identify themselves as Roman Catholic also do not regularly attend Sunday mass. Fewer than 200,000 people or 1.2 % of the Dutch population attends mass on a given Sunday. Most Catholics live in the southern provinces of North Brabant and Limburg where they make up the majority of the population. The rest of the 'believers' are distributed over a multitude of Protestant churches. Since the 1970s these protestant churches have also seen a major decline in adherents and have begun to work together. The Church embraces religious pluralism. Islam is a relatively new and fast-growing religion in the Netherlands, and according to recent (CBS) statistics about 944,000 or 6% of the Dutch population are Muslims. Islam's numbers began to rise after the 1970s as a result of immigration. These numbers are the main reason for the populairty of the Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders. The remaining 10% of the population is a member of another religion, including Hinduism and Buddhism. Judaism has been present in the Netherlands for much of the country's history and several sources claim Judaism arrived in the Netherlands before Christianity. A large majority of Jews were deported and murdered in the Holocaust. Today, Tilburg's Jews are so small in number that they attend religious services with the even smaller community of Jews in 's-Hertogenbosch.

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