How do Israelis see Hindus

VII. Other churches and religious communities


The Jewish community in Amsterdam emerged during the 16th and 17th centuries when many Jews from Spain and Portugal fled to the Netherlands. One of the most famous Portuguese Jews in the Netherlands was Baruch de Spinoza. In 1639 one of the first public synagogues in Western Europe was built in Amsterdam. Jews later came from Eastern Europe and in the 1930s many Jews fled Germany to Amsterdam from the Nazi regime. However, Jewish life in the Netherlands suffered profound changes as a result of the Second World War. Of the 140,000 Jews still living in the Netherlands in 1940, over 100,000 were killed during the war. Many of the survivors later moved to the new state of Israel.

Especially in Amsterdam there is still a clear presence of Judaism (especially in the former Jewish quarter there are still many places of remembrance). The Jews called the city “Mokum”, after the Yiddish word for “place of refuge” or “city”. For a long period of time, Amsterdam almost always had a Jewish mayor: Ivo Samkalden (1967–1977), Wim Polak (1977–1983), Ed van Thijn (1983–1994) and Job Cohen (2001–2010). Before the war, the Ajax Amsterdam football club had above-average Jewish representation, both among the players and among the fans. Even after the war, the fan community maintained the image of a “Jewish club”: Israeli flags have been waving in the stands to this day. Conversely, fans of other Dutch football clubs do not shy away from blatant anti-Semitic slogans when they play against Ajax.

The Centrum Informatie en Documentatie over Israel (CIDI) is one of the most noticeable Jewish organizations in the Netherlands. It is regularly consulted by the media when the focus is on the State of Israel or Judaism. The CIDI denounces anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements in the Netherlands.

Hindus and Buddhists

Like Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism came to the Netherlands primarily through immigration. The origin of the Hindu religious community in the Netherlands lies in the group of contract workers from British India who were brought to Suriname in the 19th century. The so-called Hindostanes form one of the largest population groups in the former Dutch colony to this day. In the 1970s there are many hindostaanse Surinamans migrated to the Netherlands. The hard core of the Buddhist community consists of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants, with the Buddhists in particular also having an influx of alternative, life-reforming circles autochthonous Dutch can record. The Chinese quarters of Amsterdam and Rotterdam each have their own Buddhist temples.

The Dutch Hindoeraad (Eng. Hindurat) was founded in 2001 as an umbrella organization and contact body of the religious community with the Dutch state. Today (as of 2000) there are around 100,000 Hindus and 30,000 Buddhists in the Netherlands. [1]

Old Catholics

The Old Catholic Church is the product of a schism from the early 18th century in the Dutch Catholic Church. In the historical context, it was primarily about a conflict of competencies between secular and regular priests: In the opinion of the religious supported by Rome, the Dutch Republic was a mission area, where they had a free hand for the preaching of the faith. The local Dutch clergy opposed this vision, pointing to the supposedly unbroken continuity of the Utrecht Archdiocese and its ecclesiastical hierarchy. In 1723 a new archbishop was elected and consecrated. The Oudbisschoppelijke Clerezie (German Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands) was never able to acquire a larger following because the majority of Dutch Catholics remained loyal to Rome.

By fundamentally rejecting the authority of the Pope, the Old Catholic Church was able to determine its own theological course. It became a decentralized church with Dutch characteristics, with the Synod as its central authority. Changes in the liturgy or even the Holy Mass in the vernacular were already carried out here before the Catholic Church took this step after the Second Vatican Council. From 1998, women can be called and ordained priests in the Old Catholic Church. [2] According to data, this group still had 5,173 members in 2010. [3] Internationally, the Dutch Old Catholic Church is networked with its sister churches in Germany and other European countries.

Transcendental meditation

The Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008), who was able to win over not only the Beatles, but also some Dutch people for his "Transcendental Meditation" (), a spiritually shaped meditation technique, is a special case among religious communities. The place where the Maharishi settled in 1990 is remarkable and illustrative of Dutch religious history. The St. Ludwig College in Vlodrop, Limburg, was founded in the 19th century as a monastery in exile for the Franciscans expelled from Prussia. After the building had served as a boarding school for German students for years, it was sold. Today this historic place, which was once a stronghold of cross-border German-Dutch Catholicism, serves as the center of the international movement.

Orthodox communities

There are around 35 Eastern Orthodox parishes in the Netherlands with around 10,000 members. The most famous Russian Orthodox church is that of St. Grand Duke Alexander Nevski in Rotterdam. The youngest is the parish of Saint Tikhon and was founded in 2004 in Nijmegen. The number of Orthodox is increasing mainly due to the large number of Russian immigrants. Although the parishes try to counteract anti-European and anti-Semitic tendencies on so-called “integration weekends”, this remains a main point of criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church. [4]

[1] See. Eijnatten, Joris van / Lieburg, Fred van:Nederlandse religiegeschiedenis, Hilversum 2005, p. 344.
[2] See above: Vrouwen in de OKK, Online version.
[3] See. :Aantallen bij de registered people, 2011, online version.
[4] See. Hakkenes, Emiel: Uren staan ​​voor an icoon. De God van Nederland, in: Trouw, May 3, 2005, p. V4.

Authors:Andréa Vermeer and Kristian Mennen
June 2005
November 2013