In the Netherlands, a national model for church-state relations is often put forward as the guiding light for authorities struggling with governance dilemmas related to religion. This model supposedly represents ‘The Dutch Way’ of dealing with religion and is, among other things, linked to multiculturalism, a pragmatic outlook, and typically Dutch historical processes like pillarization. This paper examines whether this model holds up in practice. It argues that the Dutch model does not suffice as an accurate description of current policy practices at the local level and that, given various underlying processes that influence this practice, this model also does not provide a credible normative guideline for the future. Dutch society has undergone significant changes, and the Dutch model should be rethought accordingly.
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