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The Netherlands has a rich history with Islam, having once ruled over the largest Muslim nation, Indonesia. Currently, the country has a population of approximately 17.1 million, with around 5% being Muslim, although the general perception tends to overestimate this figure.

The Origins

The origins of the majority of Dutch Muslims can be traced back to Turkey and Morocco. Since the end of World War II, the Netherlands has welcomed Muslims from various countries, such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Balkans, and Syria, as well as their descendants. Additionally, there is a small number of Dutch converts to Islam within the community.

The majority of Dutch Muslims follow Sunni Islam, the largest denomination of Islam globally. Approximately 80% of Turkish-Dutch Muslims identify as Sunni, with the remaining belonging to smaller sects such as Alevi, Shia, Salafi, and Ahmadi. Similarly, nearly 85% of Moroccan-Dutch Muslims are Sunni.

Read: The Spread of Islam Throughout History

Practices and Beliefs

Religious practices and beliefs vary among individual Muslims and communities in the Netherlands. Most Dutch Muslims infrequently attend mosque services. Among Turkish-Dutch Muslims, 40% attend at least once a week, while 37% of Moroccan-Dutch and 16% of Surinamese-Dutch do the same. There are also differences in prayer frequency, with 80% of Somali-Dutch praying five times a day and only 20% of Surinamese-Dutch doing so. 

Halal food consumption is relatively high among all groups, except the Surinamese-Dutch who score below 80%. They also have the lowest rate of Ramadan participation at 34%. In comparison, nearly 90% of Moroccan-Dutch fast during Ramadan. Female Somali-Dutch Muslims have the highest rate of veil-wearing at 90%.

Read: Muslim Population in the United States

Contrary to popular belief, a majority of the Dutch population is accepting of Muslim girls wearing headscarves. A recent survey revealed that only a small portion of respondents favored a ban on religious clothing, while the majority felt that Muslim women should be able to wear a hijab or even a full-face veil. Another survey showed that 90% of respondents were willing to welcome Muslims into their families. Additionally, only a small percentage of people believe that many Muslims in the Netherlands support extremist groups.

Is Amsterdam Muslim-friendly?

Additionally, Islam is the second-largest religion in Amsterdam, making it an ideal destination for your next international trip. The city boasts a diverse range of halal restaurants, convenient prayer facilities, and a variety of Muslim-friendly activities.

Where are Muslims in the Netherlands?

Many Muslims in the Netherlands, like other non-Western immigrants, call one of the four main cities home: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, or Utrecht. The capital city, Amsterdam, has an estimated Muslim population of 140,000, making up around 17% of the total population.

How Many Mosques in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands has over 400 mosques, located in cities and towns throughout the country. The most well-known mosques are found in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Harlem.

Does the Netherlands have freedom of religion?

Individuals have the right to choose their religion or belief system in the Netherlands. This encompasses the freedom to convert to a different faith or to have no religious affiliation. There is no differentiation made between different religions or beliefs in the country.