The Hermeneutical Competence: How to Deal with Faith Issues in a Pluralistic Religious Context?

  • Gé SpeelmanEmail author


Most of the faith-based schools in the Netherlands are either Protestant or Roman Catholic, although there are some Islamic faith-based schools. These schools operate in a complex system inherited from the typically Dutch ‘pillar system’. In this chapter, I explore some answers given by specialists in the field of religious education (RE) to the question how RE could contribute to the education of young people who are self-confident citizens in a multicultural, multi-religious society. First, I give a sketch of the Dutch educational system and some of the public debates about this system. Then, I give a brief overview of some trends in the formation of the religious identity of the younger generation; I here focus on young Muslims in the Netherlands. In the Dutch context, RE is sometimes seen as teaching into religion, sometimes as teaching about religion and sometimes as teaching from religion. In the last part of the chapter I focus on the context of schools with a Christian confessional background that struggle with the fact that they have to cater to a much more multi-religious school population.


Islamic faith-based schools Netherlands Religious education Muslims Multi-religious education 


  1. Bakker, C. (2004). Demasqué van het christelijk onderwijs? Over zin en onzin van een adjectief (Utrechtse Theologische Reeks, Vol. 46). Utrecht: Faculteit Godgeleerdheid, Universiteit Utrecht., consulted April 14, 2014
  2. Bakker, C., & Ter Avest, I. (2009). Encountering ‘good practice’. Teacher’s construction of school identity. In S. Miedema (Ed.), Religious education as encounter (pp. 129–147). Münster: Waxmann.Google Scholar
  3. Baumann, G. (1999). The multicultural riddle: Rethinking national, ethnical and religious identities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. De Koning, M. (2007). Zoeken Naar Een ‘Zuivere Islam’. Geloofsbeleving en Identiteitsvorming van Jonge Marokkaans-Nederlandse Moslims. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker.Google Scholar
  5. de Koning, M. (2008). Zoeken naar een ‘Zuivere Islam’. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker.Google Scholar
  6. Gommers, J., & Hermans, C. (2003). Beliefs in action. Teacher’s identity influences school’s identity. International Journal of Education and Religion, IV(2), 186–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Grimmitt, M. (1987). Religious education and human development. Great Wakering: McCrimmons.Google Scholar
  8. Grimmitt, M. (2000). Constructivist pedagogies of religious education project: Re-thinking knowledge, teaching and learning in religious education. In M. Grimmitt (Ed.), Pedagogies of religious education: Case studies in the research and development of good pedagogic practice in RE (pp. 207–227). Great Wakering: McGrimmon.Google Scholar
  9. Heelas, P., & Woodhead, L. (2005). The spiritual revolution. Why religion is giving way to spirituality? Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  10. Jenkins, P. (2007). God’s continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s religious crisis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lijphardt, A. (1968). The politics of accommodation: Pluralism and democracy in the Netherlands. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Nielsen, J. (2001). Flexibele identiteiten: moslims en de natiestaten van West Europa. In D. Douwes (Ed.), Naar Een Europese Islam? (pp. 21–49). Amsterdam: Mets en Schilt.Google Scholar
  13. Phalet, K., & Ter Wal, J. (Eds.). (2006). Moslim in Nederland: Diversiteit en Verandering in Religieuze Betrokkenheid. Turken en Marokkanen in Nederland 1998–2002. The Hague: SCP Werkdocument 106b.
  14. Phalet, K., Van Lotringen, C., & Entzinger, H. (2000). Islam in de Multiculturele Samenleving: Opvattingen van Jongeren in Rotterdam. Utrecht: European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations.Google Scholar
  15. Rath, J., & Penninx, R. (1996). Nederland en Zijn Islam. Een Ontzuilkde Samenleving Reageert op Het Ontstaan van Een Geloofsgemeenschap. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis.Google Scholar
  16. Roy, O. (2004). Globalised Islam: The search for a new Ummah. London: Hearst.Google Scholar
  17. Schmeets, H. (2009). Religie Aan Het Begin van de 21ste Eeuw. Den Haag: CBS.Google Scholar
  18. Struik, I. (2011). Laat me meedoen en ik begrijp het…. De zin van levensbeschouwing in het openbaar onderwijs. Master thesis, Utrecht University, Utrecht.Google Scholar
  19. Ter Avest. I., Bakker, C., Bertram-Troost, G., & Miedema, S. (2007). Religion and education in the Dutch pillarized and post-pillarized educational system: Historical background and current debates. In R. Jackson, S. Miedema, W. Weisse, & J.P. Willaime (Eds.), Religion and education in Europe. Developments, contexts and debates (pp. 203–219). Münster: WaxmanGoogle Scholar
  20. Van de Wetering, S., & Bakker, C. (1998). Tussen legitimatie, integratie en conflict. Onderzoek naar de waardenoriëntatie/religieuze identiteit van moslimleerlingen. In C. Bakker & H. Ziebertz (Eds.), Imaginatie en de Constructie van Identiteit.Visies op Religieuze Vorming (pp. 139–162). Tilburg: Tilburg University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Weisse, W. (2007). The European project on religion and education ‘REDCo’: An introduction. In R. Jackson, S. Miedema, W. Weisse, & J. Willaime (Eds.), Religion and education in Europe: Developments, contexts and debates (pp. 9–25). Münster: Waxmann.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesProtestant Theological UniversityAmsterdamNetherlands

Personalised recommendations