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One fifth of Dutch churches no longer used for worship
More than one fifth of all church buildings in the Netherlands are no longer being used as places of worship.
Research by the Dutch newspaper Trouw found that many churches have been converted into apartments, offices and libraries or are being used for other cultural and social purposes.
Of the 6,900 registered buildings, around 1,400 are now used for other purposes.
While most of the church buildings that have been refurbished were built between 1800 and 1970, churches built in previous centuries have almost all remained the property of church authorities.
The paper also found that Catholic churches are less likely to be transformed than Protestant ones.
"For Roman Catholics the Church is sacred, for Protestants the church is useful,” the researchers claimed.
“As a result, Roman Catholics are more reluctant to give their churches a different function.”
850 of roughly 3,000 Protestant church buildings built since 1800 are no longer used compared with 280 out of 1,500 Catholic churches not being used for worship.
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