- Having Faith. Religious optimism in Dutch parochial schools during the 1960s as a case for secularization
- Paedagogica Historica
- Volume | Issue number
- 49 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
In the Netherlands of the late nineteenth century, primary education became one of the central issues in relation to raising political awareness and mobilising previously quiescent Dutch citizens. Protestants and Catholics alike claimed that Dutch public education left insufficient space for religious education and teamed up to struggle for state-financed religious schools. These were created in 1917, after which education was organised along religious and ideological lines. Tensions between Catholic, Protestant and secular public schools were severe, but after 1945 disagreements between these groups decreased as Dutch society secularised. This article examines how religious schools have dealt with this transformation since the 1950s.
In a society secularising as rapidly and dramatically as the Netherlands, one would expect that support for religious schools would diminish over time. This, however, never occurred. Parochial schools still accommodate two-thirds of Dutch children and thus managed to retain their institutional dominance. This article argues that this curious "survival" of Christian schools in a secularised society does not imply that Christian schools were able to oppose secularisation as such. Instead, by their dedicated attempts to "personalise" religion in the 1950s and 1960s, hoping to strengthen religious convictions among students, they ironically smoothened rather than obstructed the path for secularisation.
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- In: Special Issue: Ische 33, July 26-29 de 2011, San Luis Potosí, Mexico rethinking the relationship: society, state and education
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