This article investigates Dutch manifestations of anti-Catholicism as a constitutive aspect of early forms of cultural nationalism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In these decades the process of Dutch nation-building entered its formative phase. The new national consciousness arose in close connection with successful spread of Dutch Enlightenment ideas. Notions and conceptions such as virtue, reason, inner piety and tolerance merged into the idea thatenlightened citizens should be morally committed to the nation. In this, the role of religion was considered to be crucial: it provided individual citizens with the ‘right’ kind of moral consciousness, a keynotion in fighting the decline that was thought to be the main problem of the Republic at the time. These upcoming nascent representations of the nation state gave rise to a new anti-Catholic ideology, which was to grow in importance after the 1760s. Long existing religious prejudices thus were reproduced in other more modern forms.