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Document Details :
Title: Religious Pluralism, Politics, and Participation in the Netherlands
Author(s): WIJSEN, Frans , VROOM, Hendrik M.
Journal: Studies in Interreligious Dialogue
Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Date: 2015-06-30
This contribution explores the historical and contemporary backgrounds of a shift from tolerance to intolerance shown by Dutch citizen immigrants and a shift in Dutch immigration and integration policies from multiculturalism to requiring immigrants to assimilate. It shows that religious differences between Dutch citizens and ‘newcomers’ were not taken seriously for a long time and that it was assumed that cultures and religious are equally valid, that the integration of immigrants would go smoothly, and that most immigrants would eventually return home. When these assumptions proved to be false, the government stressed integration and participation. The Dutch ‘pillar system’ was the means for dealing with religious diversity since the 1848 Constitution, and new pillars have emerged to serve the needs of ‘newcomers’. But this contribution shows that it is questionable if the pillar system can do that under current circumstances. Overall, Dutch policies regarding religion seem inconsistent. On the one hand they stress secularism and the strict separation of religion and state; on the other hand, they urge religious and faith-based organisations to play their part in society.