During the Dutch Republic (1581-1795), the Reformed Church was the established religion in theNetherlands(the “public” or privileged religion). In contrast to many other European nations at this time, the Dutch allowed personal freedom of religion. However, public displays of other religions (especially Roman Catholicism) were not tolerated. The relative freedom of religion in theNetherlandsmade the nation a popular destination for religious refugees from other parts ofEurope.

From the 1700s, theNetherlands expressed a ‘restricted tolerance’ towards other religions (as long as their services took place secretly in non-recognisable churches).


Jean Isedore & his family belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and his children were baptised there between 1803-1825.

The Lutheran Church was formally established in 1818 in the Netherlands, and it was based inAmsterdam. The Lutheran church in the Netherlands was always quite small, and made up largely of immigrants. Most of its members were descendants of German or Scandinavian merchants.

Because of the urban and internationally oriented membership of the Lutheran Church, liberal influences have always been relatively strong. The church was always counted among the most liberal denominations in theNetherlands. They were among the first churches to ordain women and homosexuals.

In 2004 the Lutheran church merged with the Dutch Reformed Church to form the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.

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