The Greening of Dutch Protestant Christianity (1960-2020)


  • David Onnekink Utrecht University
  • Suzanne Ros Utrecht University



christianity, environmentalism, Protestantism, mission, the Netherlands, climate crisis


In this article we research attitudes and activities within Dutch Protestantism dealing with the environment between 1960 and 2020. We position the article in recent debates on the ambivalent relationship between Christianity and environmentalism. By examining newspapers, reports of Protestant NGOs and public surveys, we establish that Dutch Protestant Christianity is becoming more environmentally conscious. We propose that this process of greening developed in four historical phases. We explain the drivers for this process, which are found to be rooted in private faith, secular developments and the developing climate crisis rather than in church policy.


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Author Biographies

  • David Onnekink, Utrecht University

    David Onnekink is Associate Professor at the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University and Endowed Professor of Christian Ecological Thought at the Theological University Utrecht, affiliated with the Martine Vonk Stichting. He is interested in the historical and current relationship between Protestant mission and ecology. An overview of his publications can be found at religion-ecology/. Among his most recent publications are ‘Into the Wild: Early Modern Protestant Missionaries and Their Views on Animals’, Exchange 51:3 (2022) 287-320 (DOI: and ‘Ecologisch rentmeesterschap. Opkomst en ondergang van een metafoor’, Radix.

  • Suzanne Ros, Utrecht University

    Suzanne Ros is currently enrolled as a rma-student in the History programme at Utrecht University with an interdisciplinary background in History and German Language and Culture. This article brings together her main research interests: environmental, religious and digital history. She won the Digital History Thesis Award (2021), issued by Centre for Digital Humanities of Utrecht University, for her BA thesis ‘The Age of Man: A Conceptual History of the Anthropocene’. She currently writes her MA thesis on the history of artificial reefs in the Dutch North Sea and is actively engaged in the field of Blue Humanities.







How to Cite

The Greening of Dutch Protestant Christianity (1960-2020). (2024). BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 139(2), 66-95.