The Netherlands has no official religion. About one-third of Dutch people are Roman Catholic, living in the southern part of the country. Fewer than a third are Protestant.

There are several Protestant denominations but the largest is the Dutch Reformed Church. It follows the teachings of John Calvin, a 15th-century religious reformer who rejected Catholicism and believed that people were primarily saved by their faith in God, not by performing religious rituals. All the country's monarchs have been members of the Reformed Church.

There are small Muslim, Hindu and Jewish communities. About 40% of Dutch people do not belong to any organized religion.

Religious tolerance has always been important to Dutch people. The unique idea of "pillars," known as verzuiling, helps make this balance possible. There are four pillars: Catholic, Protestant, socialist and liberal. Each group belongs somewhere, and each pillar helps support the larger society. Even sports clubs may belong to one pillar or another. Important organizations such as schools, unions or political parties have always considered themselves part of a certain pillar of Dutch society. The system allows people to be different but equal. For example, Catholic, Protestant and politically-oriented broadcasting associations each make their own television and radio programs. They also work together to produce shows for the national broadcasting system, such as young people's programs.
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As some Dutch people move away from traditional religion, many historic churches have been converted into art galleries. Amsterdam's medieval Nieuwe Kerk is both a church and a cultural centre.