Chaplaincy in the Netherlands: The search for a religious and a professional identity

Hetty Zock*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    This article presents an overview of the state of chaplaincy in the Netherlands. It sketches the history, religious and theological climate, training, organization and current practice. Two important recent developments are discussed: the rise of nondenominational spiritual care and spiritual caregivers getting involved in community care. Spiritual care in the Netherlands has gone through a long process of professionalization, in which the relation between the professional and the religious identity of the chaplain had to be continually redefined. It is argued that although Dutch spiritual care is still denominationally organized, spiritual caregivers share a common professional identity as professionals who focus on meaning, belief systems and ethics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-21
    Number of pages11
    JournalTidsskrift for Praktisk Teologi: Nordic Journal of Practical Theology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Professionalization, religious identity, pillarization, nondenominational spiritual care, community care

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