The Constitution protects freedom of religion and separation of church and state prevents the government from interfering in religious matters. Any group holding itself out to be a religion is held to be so until proven otherwise.
In the early 1980s, the Dutch government conducted an investigation into new religions and concluded that they gave no cause for concern. One of the most tolerant countries in Europe, the Netherlands respects the Constitution and has consistently rejected efforts to stigmatize or discriminate against minority religions.
State subsidies are provided to religious organisations that maintain educational facilities.
Discrimination on the basis of religion is illegal under the law and offenders may be sued in civil court.
Article 1 of the Constitution states that:
“All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race, or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.”
“(1) Everyone shall have the right to manifest freely his religion or belief, either individually or in community with others, without prejudice to his responsibility under the law.”
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