Dutch society is characterized by a high degree of religious dis-affiliation and non-affiliation and most religious communities are facing hard times in the Netherlands. But there are also exceptions. Against the contemporary current of ongoing secularization, some religious communities seem to thrive like never before and even attract new members. But why is that? Why do some religious communities succeed in retaining and also attracting new members while others fail? This article focuses on successful evangelical congregations in the Netherlands and tries to account for their relative success. On the basis of a subcultural identity theory, it is argued that the success of evangelical congregations is largely due to the fact that they offer protective umbrellas of conservative belief in an otherwise very secular context. This line of thought is substantiated with empirical findings from a current research project into thriving evangelical congregations in the Netherlands. The article closes with some theoretical reflections on the future of evangelicalism in contemporary Dutch society.
This study tries to find out why certain congregations in the Netherlands have a more committed membership than other congregations and, thus, are less affected by processes of religious disaffiliation. To do this, data gathered among members of six evangelical megachurches together with data from a national probability sample are analyzed to address two questions. First, to what extent are Dutch evangelicals more committed to their religious organization, in terms of money and time spent at church, than members of mainline churches in the Netherlands? And second, which decisive factors determine these instances of organizational commitment of Dutch evangelicals? Results show that evangelicals indeed spend more money on and time at church than mainline Christians. As regards the second question, it turns out that donating money is mainly determined by income, whereas time spent with church groups is mainly determined by the degree of embeddedness in socio-religious networks.
In this research we study support for traditional female roles. We test individual and contextual explanations for differences in support for traditional female roles within and across 32 countries. Higher educated, employed people and those who do not adhere to a religion are least supportive. The higher the female labour market participation, the less traditional the average citizen is: this contextual effect is stronger for women than for men. Governmental child care expenditure does not affect average levels of support for traditional female roles. Yet, we do find a significant drop in traditional attitudes for men, when governments spend more on child care. This shows the importance of including the possibility of differences in contextual effects for men and women.