Protestant Church in the Netherlands

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The Protestant Church in the Netherlands (Dutch: Protestantse Kerk in Nederland, abbreviated PKN) is the largest Protestant Christian denomination in the Netherlands. With 2,000 congregations and a membership of some 2.3 million in 2004, it is the second largest church in the Netherlands after the Roman Catholic Church.

It was founded 1 May 2004 as a merger of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[1] The merger was the culmination of an organizational process begun in 1961. The Church incorporates both Reformed and Lutheran theological orientations.


Doctrine and practice

The doctrine of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands is expressed in its creeds. In addition to holding the Apostle's, the Nicene and the Athanasian Creeds of the universal church, it also holds to the confessions of its predecessor bodies. From the Lutheran tradition are the unaltered Augsburg Confession and Luther's Catechism. From the Reformed, the Heidelberg and Genevan Catechisms along with the Belgic Confession with the Canons of Dordt. The Church also acknowledges the Theological Declaration of Barmen and the Leuenberg Agreement.[2]

The PKN contains both liberal and conservative movements. Local congregations have far-reaching powers concerning "controversial" matters (such as whether or not women are admitted as members of the congregation's consistory or admittance to holy communion).


The polity of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands is a hybrid of presbyterian and congregationalist church governance. Church governance is organised along local, regional, and national lines. At the local level is the congregation. An individual congregation is led by a church council made of the minister along with elders and deacons elected by the congregation. At the regional level are the 57 classical assemblies whose members are chosen by the church councils. At the national level is the General Synod which directs areas of common interest, such as theological education, ministry training and ecumenical co-operation.[3]

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