The role of religion in the Dutch Scout Movement (1911-1973)

A.M. Molema, Kristian Mennen

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    This article investigates the role of religion in the organisational history of the Scout Movement in the Netherlands, from 1911 until 1973. When Scouting was first introduced in the Netherlands, it had to be adapted to a ‘pillarising’ society. Members of the liberal community welcomed the Scout Movement in the Netherlands as a means to instil a sense of patriotism and national belonging in the Dutch youth, but faced a protracted struggle over the inclusion of a mandatory reference to God in the Scout Promise. Catholic and Protestant religious communities formed their own and separate Scout associations. Scouting functioned as a de facto ‘light community’, bridging denominational gaps and uniting all Dutch Scouts on the basis of a shared method. However, the unitary national organisation, Scouting Nederland, was only founded in 1973, after Catholics and Protestants themselves redefined the role of religion in society and in their youth organisations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)630-657
    Number of pages28
    JournalRevue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    • Scouting
    • Youth Movement
    • the Netherlands
    • Social History
    • religious conflicts, history


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