The Religious Dimension of Nationalism

  The Religious Dimension of  Nationalism

A Case Study: the Netherlands


Religion has invariably been an important element in the development of nations. And, when problems develop in existing nation-states along ethnic lines, religion more often than not plays an important role. Religion and nationalism can, as history has shown time and again, provide a very explosive mix.

When in the beginning of the 1990s the Former Yugoslav Republic exploded along ethnic lines, this soon resulted in the birth of new states, each with their own dominant religion: Catholic Croatia and Slovenia, a predominantly Muslim Bosnia-Herzegovina, and an Orthodox Serbia.  The troubles in Northern Ireland are still fresh in our memory and we remember how different religious traditions and dreams of future nationhood fuelled the hatred between Paisley’s Protestants and the Catholics.

When just a few years ago the Pacific island nation of Fiji faced serious political troubles, the fact that a significant part of the population is Indian (almost one-third) and adheres to the Hindu religion, while the “real” Fijians are mostly Christian, was a main factor in the political instability. The constant fighting in Sudan between the Northern section of the country and the southern part was to a large extent both ethnically and religiously motivated. The Muslim North and the Christian South found it extremely difficult to come to a peace settlement (in early 2005) and many had believed that it would never happen. These are just a few random examples where nations were greatly impacted by religion.

Of course, other, non-religious, factors have played an important role both in the constructing of nations and their demise. But many other examples than given above could be cited where religion may well have been the most basic element. And this is not just something of a distant past, or a possible threat to peace in some other continent. Even today, in secular Europe, the religion factor has the potential to create serious tensions or worse, at least in some countries. This article will focus on the Netherlands as an example of how religion has been a major factor in the past development of the nation and how religion is a present factor in the ongoing debate about the future of the Dutch nation and the national consciousness of the people.

Nation, nationalism and religion

Many people today hardly realize that the modern nation state, as we know it today, is a relatively recent phenomenon. This is true for other continents, as for instance Africa. The lines that we now find on our maps to indicate the national borders of the 53 sovereign states on the African continent are of quite recent origin. Few of these can even be found on a map of 1900. It was not until the process of decolonization gathered speed in the 1950′s and 1960s that the current national borders were being drawn and many of the current names for the modern African nation-states appear.[1] Similarly, until the early decades of the nineteenth century a map of South-America would just indicate the respective spheres of influence of the various colonial powers, with most current nations only appearing as the nineteenth century progressed. The United States of America, of course, only dates from the fourth of July 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed by representatives of thirteen states, and it would yet take many years before the United States had the composition it has today.

On the other hand, it may be said that there have been nations for thousands of years. Some scholars have argued that the idea of the nation is, in fact, “natural”[2] and that there were nations even in antiquity. This subject had been fiercely debated by “modernists” on the one hand, and “perennialists” on the other hand. Modernist scholars as John Breuilly and Eric Hobsbawm will grant that there may have been a few exceptions, such as England, the Netherlands, Serbia, Castile, perhaps France and Ireland[3], but insist that virtually all nations are a modern, post-Enlightenment phenomenon.[4] This is hotly contested by perennialists like Adrian Hastings and others, who maintain that many examples of nationhood are much older. Hastings believes that in the BC-era the Old Testament kingdom of Juda, and also Sumer and Egypt, as well as Armenia and Ethiopia, already manifested the main characteristics of nationhood, and that a number of European nations—notably Britain and the Netherlands—were true nations long before the modernists believe they were.[5]   They feel that the criteria for nationhood may be applied more loosely than the modernists hold and, as a result, see quite a few examples of nationhood already in medieval, and certainly in 17th and 18th century Europe. The modernists, with at least a degree of justification, it seems, respond by saying that the perennialists tend to confuse ethnicity with nationhood.[6] All agree that the modern nation is a European “invention,” and that it is only since modern times that nations, possible with just a very few exceptions, exist where national consciousness is not limited to certain classes of the people, but is shared by virtually all people in one state—that may, however, consist of more than one ethnic groups.

Most specialists will agree that language and religion, in many different ways, have played a significant role in the formation of nations. Hastings emphasizes that the Christian religion, much more than other world religions, has stimulated the development national consciousness. He suggests that the creation of literature in the vernacular language, and, in particular the publication and wide distribution of the Bible in the language of the people, was an important factor in the construction of nations. The Old Testament example of the kingdom of Judah would tend to serve as a inspiration for the aspirations of the people. Hastings mentions England as a prime example.[7] A national church and standardized liturgical texts in the vernacular—as the Book of Common Prayer in England—would contribute significantly to the process towards nationhood. [An interesting example as to how the standardization of ecclesiastical texts in the vernacular may be intentionally used by the authorities in the process of strengthening a sense of national consciousness, can be found in the province of Skåne in southern Sweden. This province was Danish until, after a series of wars, it was incorporated in Sweden in 1658. The inhabitants of  Skåne resented the Swedish victory and the Swedes therefore decide to ensure that church life would soon be as Swedish as possible. This, they felt, would be one of the most effective ways of building and strengthening a national Swedish consciousness in this part the country.][8]

On the surface it may seem that today religion is, in many parts of the world, a less important factor in the national consciousness than it was in the past. In the secularized West, it would seem, religion is increasingly marginalized or privatized. Religion is more and more separated from politics, economics, science, etc., and reduced to its own sphere. Religious beliefs, commitments and institutions, as a result, have a declining social significance.[9] Some feel that nationalism may perhaps be viewed as secularized religion.[10]

It is undoubtedly true that secularization has changed the political landscape in many parts of the world. States as diverse as France and Turkey pride themselves that they are totally secular nations. Many other states have anchored a full separation of church and state in their constitution. In Scandinavia the process of fully abandoning the concept of a state church is almost complete.[11] Nonetheless, religious traditions often continue to be very strong even in very secular environments. While, for instance, in the United States, the issue of strict enforcement of total separation between church and state is very much alive, religion continues to play a very obvious role in virtually all aspects of public life. It certainly is an aspect those who aspire to be elected as the president of the nation cannot afford to ignore. And it would be utterly naive to underestimate the influence of national religious lobbies in Washington.[12]

Also, it must be noted that, although in the postmodern climate of today the interest in institutionalized religion has been greatly reduced, yet a strong interest in spirituality and non-institutionalized forms of religion remains, or even grows. In this postmodern atmosphere we actually often find less rigidity in excluding religious and philosophical notions from politics. It should also be noted that many fundamentalist religious groups continue to be very outspoken about social and ethical issues, and use all political pressure instruments that are at their disposal, all available media, and at times very disputable other means, to hammer their opinions home. There appear to be many instances where religious groups show even greater determination than in the past to make themselves heard and to push their points.

In addition, there is the obvious increase in Muslim participation in the political debate. Whereas less than a century ago most Muslim believers lived in political circumstances that made the birth of Muslim nations only a vague dream, this situation has now dramatically changed. This new reality presents us with a considerable complexity. While the Christian religion has tended to allow for a distinction of two different realms (of God and of the world), which do interrelate in many ways, but yet are separate), the Muslim worldview accepts this idea of separation between faith and public life to a far lesser degree.[13]  And the fact that millions of Muslims have migrated to countries which were traditionally Christian has impacted dramatically on the matter of the national consciousness in these countries. To what extent can these immigrants, with a totally different faith, truly become part of the nation? What does the arrival of so many “foreign” elements do to the national consciousness of the indigenous population?

The role of religion in Dutch history

With these general remarks in mind, let us look at one particular nation and see what role religion has played in its past. Obviously, this can only be done in a very sketchy manner. According to Hastings, Holland[14] is, after England, one of the oldest nations in the world.[15] Even if that were granted, it must be recognized that the present Kingdom of the Netherlands differs greatly in size and organization from the Dutch state that existed prior to the early 19th century.  In origin, the Dutch state consisted of a number of autonomous provinces (Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Friesland, Overijssel, Gelre) of which Holland with the most important one. This federation had an umbrella government, the so-called States-General. In addition to the provinces, with their own autonomous governments, there was the territory of Drente that depended more directly on the States-General and there were areas which now more or less coincide with the province of Brabant, which were governed directly by the States-General. During the Eighty Years War (1568-1648) part of these territories continued to be occupied by Spain until the war ended at the Peace of Westphalen in 1648. The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands became a strong colonial power, and for a considerable time also covered what is today Belgium.

From 1795 to 1815 the Netherlands came under strong French influence and for a short period even became part of the French empire (1810-1813). After the demise of Napoleon’s empire in 1813 the Orange dynasty, which had played a dominant role in most of the pre-French time, returned to the Netherlands and regained power. In 1815 the Kingdom of the Netherlands came into existence, with William I as its first monarch. In 1830 Belgium seceded and became an independent nation, while in 1890 the personal union with Luxembourg (Luxembourg and the Netherlands had the same monarch) was severed. Since 1830 the Netherlands has virtually had its present size.[16] The reasons why the Southern Netherlands turned their back on the North are manifold, but religion was certainly a factor. Belgium was and is predominantly Catholic, while the population in the Netherlands was in majority Protestant.[17]

Until a few decades ago life in the Netherlands was to a large extent compartmentalized in different “pillars”.  Even today education is more strictly divided into different segments along various religious traditions than in most countries, and the way in which public radio and television is organized continues to show unique vestiges of religious pillarization (French: pilarisation; Dutch: verzuiling.) But well into the last century this religious pillarization and the strong influence of religiously defined political parties were characteristic of Dutch society.

Throughout Dutch history religion played an important role in politics and society. In the nineteenth century the full emancipation of orthodox Protestants, who had broken away from the national church and formed their own denominations, dominated the political scene for many years. Part of this was, in particular, the fight to obtain full government subsidy for educational institutions of all religious persuasions. [18]

Plenty of other examples of religious impact on politics can be cited. After the Netherlands had embraced Calvinism in the sixteenth century, religious discord in the early decades of the seventh century led to very serious political troubles. The theological issue was the role of the human will in the process of salvation. The Arminians emphasized the importance of the human decision and the power of the human will, while Gomarus and his followers held that salvation was solely dependent on God’s sovereign choice. Those that He had predestined to be saved would inherit eternity. Those He had not predestined for salvation would be eternally damned. The Arminians were called Remonstrants, while the party of Gomarists received the label of Contra-Remonstrants. The theological controversy turned into a deadly political struggle, with Stadholder Maurits, a son of William of Orange as a staunch Contra-Remonstrant and Johan van Oldebarnevelt, the highest civil servant, in the Remonstrantist camp. Van Oldebarnevelt ended his life on the scaffold.[19]

It should come as no surprise that religion would indeed be an important factor in Dutch public life, considering the fact that the fight for independence from Spain during the Eighty Years War was just as much a fight for religious freedom as for political freedom. For William of Orange, the “father” of the Dutch nation, the religious factor was of paramount importance. Born in a Roman Catholic family, William soon came under Lutheran influence. Later he identified with the Reformed religion, although the date of his change to Calvinism is not certain. Philip II, the king of Spain, who also ruled over the Netherlands, called the Prince a “wicked hypocrite,”[20] while Peter Dathenus, an important Calvinist leader, likewise had little praise for William’s religious life. He accused William of changing his religious persuasion as easily as his shirt.[21] This, however, would seem to be an unfair criticism. But we would be justified to state that William’s commitment to leadership in the Dutch revolt against Spain was rooted in his religious belief that, as a prince of noble blood, he had the divine right to lead an armed resistance against tyranny. It is fascinating to see how William found his justification for assuming a leadership role in the rise against Spanish rule in the Calvinist theory of the right of resistance against tyranny through lower magistrates.[22] Anyone in any doubt about the religious fervor of the struggle for independence and the religious context of the founding of the Dutch nation and the birth of Dutch national consciousness, should have a good look at the complete text (fifteen stanzas of eight lines each) of the Dutch national anthem, which reads like a religious hymn rather than a political text.[23] Before we jump to the present, we should add one more element. While on the one hand religion and religious discord have been recurring factors in Dutch history,[24] religious tolerance has also been a remarkably strong feature and has, in the long term, usually won the day.

Present situation: Religion and the Dutch national consciousness

Clearly, religion has always been a major factor in Dutch society. As long as there has been a parliamentary system, with political parties in any modern sense of the word, Christian political parties have usually played a crucial role. After the three main religious parties (one Catholic and two Protestant parties) fused in 1980, this party (CDA) led the government for twenty of the past twenty-eight years, in a coalition with either socialists or conservatives. At present (May 2008) the government is headed by Jan Peter Balkenende, a CDA-politician. After a lengthy formation period, the socialist party (PvdA) agreed to join his coalition government, but a third party was needed to reach a majority in the 150-seat parliament. To the dismay of many, the Christen Unie, a Christian party of predominantly evangelical vintage, which occupies six seats in parliament (up from 3 seats in the 2006 national election) joined the cabinet, with its leader André Rouvoets as one of the two vice-prime ministers. What would this mean? Would “liberal” legislation on such issues as euthanasia, soft drugs, abortion, homosexual marriages, now be subject to review? No doubt, many secular Dutch people thought that society would have to pay what they considered a hefty price for this unexpected infusion of orthodox religious sentiment and traditional ethics into the government, and feared that the clock would certainly be turned back in many areas of life. To others a stronger Christian influence was good news. To all it was soon clear that religious issues that had not been discussed (or at least not a great deal) for many years (such as Sunday opening hours, abuse of God’s name, the use of the name of God in the annual message of the queen at the beginning of a new parliamentary year) were back on the agenda.

But other forces may be detected that bring the issue of religion to the foreground. While the Netherlands has long had a tradition of opening its doors to asylum seekers and other immigrants, more recently there have clearly been limits to the willingness of the Dutch to allow ever more people into their country and let them compete for the national resources. Pim Fortuyn, a just as flamboyant as opportunistic politician, was able to give a voice to widespread feelings of dissatisfaction and became immensely popular. His view was that the country was full, and that those who were already in the Netherlands should live and behave in a Dutch manner. Underneath these rather general observation the clear message was that the ever-increasing number of Muslims, and their insistence to live according to their culture, was a threat to the Dutch national consciousness. In a book against “the islamization of our culture” Fortuyn states that Islam, in both its radical and more liberal variants, must be viewed as hostile to “our” way of life.[25] It is impossible to tell what role Fortuyn would have played, had he not been assassinated in May 2002, just a few weeks before the national parliamentary elections.

In 2002 the Fortuynists (without Fortuyn) entered parliament with 26 members, a sensational result for a new party. But with Fortuyn gone, the party had no cohesion and soon collapsed. The sentiments Fortuyn had appealed to were not gone, however. In September 2004 Geert Wilders, a member of the (conservative) VVD-fraction in parliament, decided to leave his party and to continue as a one-man fraction in parliament. He soon profiled himself as someone who not only shared Fortuyn’s belief that the Netherlands should close its borders for most immigrants, but that the Dutch should guard their Judeo-Christian heritage and actively limit the influence of Muslim religion and culture. Wilders, who currently has eight colleagues in parliament, believes there are far too many mosques and too many imams in the Netherlands. A double nationality, as many Turkish and Moroccan immigrants have, should not be tolerated. Head scarves, let alone burqa’s, should be forbidden. Wilders goes as far as to say that Islam is a “backward” religion and feels that, because the koran incites to violence, it should be forbidden. In early 2008 his anti-Muslim film Fitna, like the 2006 Danish cartoons that ridiculed Mohammed, caused considerable unrest. The fact that the Dutch authorities had done all they could to explain beforehand that Wilders did not speak on behalf of the Dutch government, but was allowed to make his film because the Dutch favor full freedom of speech, ensured that the unrest did not lead to widespread international protest against Dutch embassies and businesses.

Less radical, but potentially just as influential (or more), is another politician, Mrs. Rita Verdonk, who has also separated from the VVD, since she holds viewpoint that are too radical for the party line. She was removed from the VVD-fraction in parliament in September 2007, but also decided to cling to her seat and to continue as a one-person fraction. She is currently building a political organization with the name Trots op Nederland (Proud of the Netherlands). As a former minister of immigration she was widely admired (especially by former Fortuyn-fans) for being a hard-liner in immigration matters, and opinion pols suggest that she would do very well if elections were held today. Though somewhat less offensive in her use of language than Wilders in what she says in public about Islam, she is very clear about her opinion that people who come from a non-Dutch culture must quickly learn what it means to be Dutch and adapt to the Dutch ways of doing things.

Obviously, most of the current debate is about things that are not overtly religious, such as language and dual nationality, and not all discourse about the Dutch national consciousness is about internal Dutch politics. For many the increasing size and power of the European Union is a formidable threat to the national consciousness, even though there is at present still very little concrete evidence that membership in the European Union actually results in a decrease in national loyalties.[26] [Interestingly enough, the question whether God should be mentioned at all became a significant issue in the debate about a proposed Constitution for the European Union. So, here is another instance where religion is still very much part of the equation.] But, there is no doubt that the religious element in the debate about the present and the future of the Dutch nation should not be underestimated. Research among various groups of young people has indicated that only 5.7 percent of indigenous Dutch youth considers religion as the number one issue that defines their identity. Among non-indigenous young people this percentage, however, is very significantly higher. Over 56 percent of those of Turkish origin consider religion the most important factor in defining their identity, whereas this percentage even rises to 73 percent among those of Moroccan pedigree.[27]

There appears to be a widespread consensus that Islam and true democracy are at odds with each other. This is one further reason why the Dutch—it is argued—should try to safeguard their traditional culture, the Judeo-Christian culture, as the dominant one.[28] Many opinion makers hold the position that there is a core of national identity that needs to be protected against “foreign” influences. It is only a small step from that viewpoint to the conviction that “our” traditional culture is, in fact, superior to the immigrant cultures, in particular the Islamic culture. The events of 9/11 in the United States and the murder of outspoken Dutch publicist Theo van Gogh (2 November 2002) serve as catalysts for dormant and not-so-dormant anti-Islam sentiments. Well known writers and academics, as B. J. Spruyt and professor Paul Cliteur, are among the more refined, but just as adamant, promoters of the view that the Dutch monoculture is superior to Arabic-Islamic cultures.[29]

Religious tolerance 

The subject of religion and national consciousness has more aspect than can be dealt with in a short article such as this. But a few things may be listed and may point us to a responsible approach to face the present and the future challenges regarding the religious dimensions of multiculturalism.

  1. The fact that religion continues to play an important role in society, including its social and political aspects, should not unduly bother the Dutch people. Through the centuries religion has been an important, at times even a defining, aspect of society.
  2. The fact that there is a Dutch culture that has been fairly constant and stable over time is, to a large extent, a myth. As in most other places, national cultures have developed over time and have been subject to constant and major change, partly as a result of internal influences, and partly because of the arrival of new citizens. The Netherlands has consistently been a relatively open society and this has certainly had its impact on the “Dutch-ness” of the nation.
  3. While the Dutch language has, no doubt, been a factor in the nation-building process, the threat that the lack of knowledge of the Dutch language of many immigrants may contribute to a reversal of that process is probably not as real as is suggested by many. The Dutch language has over time been able to absorb elements of many other languages, and neither does the current popularity of regional dialects seem to endanger the status of the Dutch language.
  4. In the past, the Netherlands has been able to absorb significant numbers of immigrants, from the large numbers of Huguenots and Jews  in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, to the hundreds of thousands Spanish and Portuguese “guest” workers in the 1960s and 1970s. There were challenges, but these were overcome, and the Dutch national consciousness was not destroyed. So, why should the present challenge alarm so many people?
  5. The religious dimension of the current challenge is probably more acute than it has been in the past, since Dutch society has not had to adjust to the presence of significant numbers of Muslim people, who now constitute about 5,3 percent of the population (which is actually considerably less than most Dutch people think!).
  6. There is a pragmatic aspect to any approach to the challenges of the multicultural society. Recent history cannot be undone. The multicultural and multi-ethnic character of Dutch society (like that in most other European countries) is permanent and any thinking in terms of one culture being superior to other cultures is doomed to cause dissatisfaction of worse.
  7. There is, however, also an important matter of principle at stake.  The Netherlands has, by and large, had a history of tolerance towards all religions. Even though this may at times have been largely inspired by mercantile rather than ethical considerations, it has shaped a tradition that has become part of what it means to be Dutch. It is in accordance with this Dutch tradition that people ought to be interested in what others believe and to practice positive tolerance towards all (except, of course, where religious ideas would be in flagrant contradiction with other human rights).
  8. Therefore, religious tolerance, is not an outdated concept, that ought to be pushed aside in favor of a totally secular approach to public life.  Such an approach would not work, considering the abiding (or even increasingly important) role of religion in Dutch public life. In Dutch society religious tolerance is to be strongly promoted, because it is part and parcel of the Dutch national ethos. And because it is the only sensible pragmatic approach. And, certainly, it is a matter of precious principle.

Recent developments in the Netherlands provide a fascinating case study about the role of religion in the shaping of the national consciousness. Many of these same aspects will also be discovered when studying developments in other countries, and approaches that will “work” in the Netherlands are well worth trying elsewhere!

Reinder Bruinsma


[1]    Colin McEvedy, The Penguin Atlas of African History (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books Ltd, 1980), passim.

[2]    Anthony D. Smith, “Nations and History”, in: Monserrat Guibernau and John Hutchinson, eds. Understanding Nationalism (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press,  2001), p. 9.

[3]    Ibid., p. 12.

[4]    Benedict Anderson occupies an important place among the “modernists” and is wellknown because of his bestselling book on nationalism:  Imagined Communities (London/New York: Verso, 2006 ed.), which was first published in 1983 and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

[5]    Adrian Hastings, The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 8-13,

[6]    Smith, op. cit., pp 19-26.

[7]    Hastings, op. cit., pp. 35-65.

[8]    Herman Lindquist, Historien om Sverige: Från istid till framtid (Stockholm: Norstedts Verlag, 2002 ), pp. 227, 228.

[9]    Talal Asad, “Religion, Nation-State, Secularism,” in: Peter van der Veer and Hartmut Lehmann, eds., Nation and Religion: Perspectives on Europe and Asia (Princeton: Princeton University Press,  1999), p. 178.

[10]   Ibid., pp. 183-188.

[11]   For a very useful survey of the relationship between church and state in many European countries, see Gerard Robbers, ed., State and Church in the European Union (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1996).

[12]   See Allen D. Hertzke, Representing God in Washington: The Role Of Religious Lobbies in the American Polity (Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press, 1988).

[13]   Steven Grosby, “Nationaly and Religion” in: Monserrat Guibernau and John Hutchinson, eds. Understanding Nationalism (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press,  2001), pp. 109-113.

[14]   Holland is the name of the western part of the Netherlands, but the two names are often used virtually synonymous, as in this article.

[15]   Hastings, op. cit., p. 8.

[16]   Several good histories of the Netherlands have been published in the English languages. A very recent title is: Thomas Colley Grattan, Holland: The History of the Netherlands  (BiblioBazaar, 2006). For solid treatment, see also: Jonathan Irvine Israel, The Dutch Republic, Its rise, greatness and fall, 1477-1806  (Oxford/New York: Oxford Unioversity Press, 1995) ; For an old classic: John Lothrop Motley, The Rise of the Dutch Republic   (New York: Harper and brothers, 1978).

[17]   John Myhill, Language, Religion and National Identity in Europe and the Middle East (Amsterdam/Philadelphia,  2006), pp. 184, 185.

[18]   Eginhard Meijering, Het Nederlands Christendom in de Twintigste Eeuw (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Balans, 2007), pp. 81-112 and passim.

[19]   For a good review of this period of Dutch history and the main players involved, see A. Th. Van Deursen, Maurits van Nassau: de Winnaar die Faalde (Aula Pocketboeken, 2000), pp. 253-278; P. Geyl, Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Stam, vol. 2 (Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Wereldbibliotheek, 1961, pp.  445-473.

[20]   L.N. Lehman, transl. and ed., The Drama of William of Orange; Being a Reprint of the Actual Ban of Proscription of King Philip of Spain against him, etc (New York: Agora Publishing Company, 1937), p. 34.

[21]   See A. Eekhof, De Drie Fasen in de Godsdienstige Ontwikkeling van Prins Willem van Oranje (Stemmen des Tijds, 1933),  pp. 267, 268.

[22]   For a review and full bibliography, see Reinder Bruinsma, The Calvinistic Theory of the Right of Resistance and its Influence on the Dutch Revolt against Spain (Berrien Springs, MD: Andrews University; unpublished master’s thesis, 1966).

[23]   Most Dutch church hymnals include the Wilhelmus, the national anthem, in their collection. See e.g. Liedboek van de Adventkerk (Kerkgenootschap der Zevende-dags Adventisten, 1982), pp. 740-745.

[24]   For a remarkable example of religious strife, see Reinder Bruinsma,  “The 1834 Secession and its Aftermath: Intolerance in a mostly Tolerant Society,” in John Granz, ed., Building Bridges of Faith and Freedom—a Festschrift written in honor of Bert Beach (Silver Spring, MD, 2005), pp. 76-89.

[25]   Pim Fortuyn, Tegen de Islamisering van onze cultuur (Utrecht: A.W. Bruna, 1997), pp. 17-18.

[26]   John Hutchinson, “Nations and Culture” in: Montserrat and Hutchinson, eds., op. cit.,  91.

[27]   Maria Grever and Kees Ribbens, Nationale Identiteit en Meervoudig Verleden (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007), p. 93.

[28]     C.C. van Baalen, et. al., Jaarboek Parlementaire Geschiedenis 2007: De Moeizame Worsteling met de Nationale Identiteit (Amsterdam: Boom, 2007),  p. 21.

[29]   Fleur Sleegers, In Debat over Nederland,  (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007), pp. 56-58.