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Why the church in Urk is allowed to decide to let go of the corona measures | NOW

About 350 to 400 churchgoers were able to attend a physical church service in the Sionkerk in Urk last weekend. The church opened its doors out of dissatisfaction with the government’s corona policy. And that is allowed, because the churches are not obliged to adhere to these measures. What’s up with that?

In a statement, the church says it has let go of the corona rules because of “the salvation of man,” said elder and educator H. Snoek. “The contact seems to have disappeared. And the psychological distress of the municipality is not being taken into account.”

According to Snoek, more churches are not complying with the corona measures. Although many churches have largely closed their doors and provide services online as much as possible, they are not obliged to do so. The Dutch churches are, on the basis of the freedom of religion, exempt from all corona measures implemented by the government.

On the basis of article 6 of the constitution, everyone in the Netherlands has the right to profess his or her religion or belief, as long as you obey the law. Based on that law is only allowed Outside buildings and closed places rules are introduced to protect public health.

Fundamental rights of churches were ratified in the early nineteenth century

“The fundamental rights of churches have traditionally been regulated in the Dutch constitution slightly better than other rights,” Herman Broring professor of administrative law of the University of Groningen explained earlier to “This freedom of religion and the associated rights were considered extremely important in the early nineteenth century, when it was ratified.”

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Although the right to protest and assembly is also enshrined in the constitution, it concerns an outdoor space. “When you hold a demonstration, you have to apply for all kinds of permits to which the government can impose restrictions or requirements. That affects public life,” said Broring. “But that’s not true when events take place in a house or church.”

The urgency of those rights for churches can probably be traced back to Dutch history, the scholar argued. “Our country is the result of a religious war: Calvinism is in our blood. And also our need to retain that freedom that we fought so hard against the Spaniards at the time.”

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