Quick tip – Protestant was not the Dominant Religion Everywhere

Many people think that the Netherlands was predominantly Protestant or Dutch Reformed, and that Catholics were a minority. While that may have been true for the country as a whole, there are several areas where almost everyone was Catholic.

Areas that are predominantly Catholic include:

  • Noord-Brabant
  • Limburg
  • Some parts of Overijssel (area around Oldenzaal)
  • Some parts of Gelderland (area around Groenlo, area around Arnhem and Nijmegen)
  • Some parts of Zeeland (eastern part of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen).

You can see the Catholic areas (green) on this map:

Religion in the Netherlands in 1849

Religion in the Netherlands in 1849: Red = Protestant, green = Catholic. Credits: Dimitri, Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Decades ago when I started doing genealogy – and even during my first trip to the Netherlands – I couldn’t figure out why my ancestors were primarily Catholic when they came from the north (which I was led to believe was predominantly Protestant) and wondered how and why they came to be part of the minority. Years later I figured it out, but this map would have been so handy – they all come from the enclaves where they weren’t the minority at all!

    When I first visited, I stayed with my great aunt and uncle. As a Canadian used to huge distances, it seemed odd to me that they insisted on driving us anywhere that I considered to be a short walk. So it seemed even odder that we drove halfway across the country to go to church on Sunday, because they didn’t think their Catholic church was catholic enough!

  2. Barbara Houtenbrink says

    My great grandfather’s mother was dying (near Rotterdam) and as he had no money, the priest denied performing last rites. Thus began several generations of non-believers, in the family.

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