1. Area: ca. 16,500 sq. mi. Ethnic composition: Dutch. Language: Dutch. Religions: RC 40%, Dutch Ref. 23.5%. Conversion, dated from ca. 630 under Dagobert I (see France, 1), was continued by Willibrord,* and completed under Charlemagne* toward the end of the 8th c. Protestantism came to prevail in the N, RCm in the S, with both well represented in the center.
Doctrines and polity of the Ref. Ch., represented also in refugee groups in London, Eng., and Emden, Ger., took form at the 1619 Syn. of Dordrecht.* William I (17721844; b. The Hague, Neth.; driven into exile by French 1795; returned and was proclaimed prince sovereign 1813; assumed title of king of the Neth. 1814; Congress of Vienna 1815 provided for formation of the kingdom of the Neth. [former Rep. of Holland and the Austrian Neth. (Belg.)]) gave the ch. a const. modified to suit his views 1816, and assurance was given that the old confession (Three Forms of Unity) would be maintained; this const. gave shape to the 1852 Gen. Regulations of the Ref. Ch. In 1954 the ch. became fully indep. of the state.
Under influence of liberals and Romanists the govt. banished religious instruction from schools 1857; 1876 it changed theol. faculties in univs. into faculties of comparative religion. But when rationalists secured these professorships, the orthodox party est. a Free Ref. U. at Amsterdam 1880 and secured free schools in which ev. religion is taught. Pub. schools are nonconfessional, but hundreds of parochial schools are supported by Prots. or RCs Important assocs. were formed 1860 and 1877 to support and extend such schools.
2. A change in the form of subscription to confessions, introd. 1816 (see 1), which in effect substituted quatenus for quia (see also Lutheran Confessions, D 3), led to controversy, as did the larger and more gen. feeling of some that the doctrine and polity of the 1619 Syn. of Dordrecht were falling into neglect.
In 1834 a group under H. De Cock* seceded and organized the Christian Ref. Ch. (on common ground with the Ref. Ch. of Am. and the Christian Ref. Ch. [see Reformed Churches, 4 b and c]), which est. a theol. school at Kampen 1854 and united 1892 with a group called Doleantie (or doleerende) that had formed 1886 under A. Kuyper*; the united bodies call themselves The Ref. Chs. in the Neth.
3. The Luth. Ch. gained only minor importance (see also Lutheran Confessions, A 5). The 1st cong., est. at Woerden, adopted the AC 1566. A small union of congs. formed 1605 developed into a Fraternity (or Brotherhood) 1614. The last Luth. syn. under the Rep. met 1696. At first all ministers were educ. in Ger.; a Luth. sem. was founded in Amsterdam 1816. In 1818 William I gave the Ev. Luth. Ch. a new organization, modified twice in the 1850s to make the ch. indep. of the state. Reaction had begun ca. 1791 against rationalism in the ch. and led to formation of the Restored Luth. Ch. (or Old Luth. Ch.), with legal standing 1835, legal confirmation in the 1860s. An attempt at reunion in the 1870s was unsuccessful, but differences bet. the 2 bodies subsided in course of time; common ground for agreement and unity was found in the theol. statements of the 1947 LWF Assem.; in 1952 the Ev. Luth. Ch. and the Restored Luth. Ch. reunited to form The Ev. Luth. Ch. in the Kingdom of the Neth..
4. Mennonites (see Mennonite Churches) est. a sem. in Amsterdam 1735. A Gen. Soc. was formed 1811 to encourage theol. educ. and support the ministry among poorer congs. All congs. are free in calling ministers and indep. in govt.
6. Since separation of ch. and state 1796, RCm tried to regain lost control. The hierarchy was reest. 1853 with a great increase of priests, the Neth. forming 1 province divided into 7 dioceses comprising ca. 40% of the pop.
7. Little miss. work was done by the Dutch in the 17th c. among natives of their colonies. Miss. work was regarded as a function of the E India Co., rather than as a concern of the ch., until separation of ch. and state 1796. Important miss. socs. organized toward the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th c. include the Netherlands* Miss. Soc. WJK
J. S. Bartstra and W. Banning, Nederland tussen de natien, 2 vols. (Amsterdam, 194648); J. Reitsma, Geschiedenis van de Hervorming en de Hervormde Kerk der Nederlanden, 5th ed. J. Lindeboom (The Hague, 1949); J. Loosjes, Geschiedenis der Luthersche Kerk in de Nederlanden (The Hague, 1921).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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