On September 10, 2022, Msgr. Jan Hendricks, Bishop of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam in Holland, announced that 60% of his churches will have to close in the next five years due to the decrease in the number of faithful, volunteers, and income.
He told his aides: “The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shrinking process we were already in: congregants of advanced age grew older and sometimes stopped attending church; others have become accustomed to a different liturgical form for Sunday morning, volunteers have abandoned parishes, choirs have ceased their activity.”
Thus, 99 of the current 164 churches are expected to close within five years. Of the remaining 65 churches, 37 could continue for five to ten years as “sustaining churches,” leaving only 28 “central churches” considered viable in the long term.
It must be said that the faithful who attended Sunday Mass went from more than 25,000 in 2013 to 12,000 in 2021. Only 3% of the 425,000 baptized Catholics in the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam still attend mass.
For its part, the diocese of Roermond, in the south of the country, has already asked certain parishes to reduce the number of masses due to the shortage of priests.
The Netherlands has approximately 3.7 million Catholics, or 21.7% of a total population of nearly 18 million. In 1970, Catholics made up nearly 40% of the population.