Groene parochie with allotment in Nijmegen
Groene parochie with allotment in Nijmegen

Green Parishes and Monasteries in the Netherlands

2019 until 2022
Project member(s)
Dr E.H. Hense (Elisabeth) Dr J. Kregting (Joris) , Dr. Tjirk van der Ziel , Matty van Leijenhorst
Project type

Parishes and monasteries are following the social trend of striving for a sustainable handling of natural resources and fair attitude towards fellow human beings. As a result, the focus on vulnerable people and mutual solidarity both play a major role. Greening activities have already been launched in many locations in the Netherlands, and moments of reflection have also raised concern for the earth, for other people and for fair-sharing. This research project aims to examine and analyse Catholic Netherlands’ approach to these activities. 

Connection to the neighborhood

One hypothesis is that sustainable initiatives may provide parishes and monasteries with a ‘fresh impetus’ so that they can improve their visibility and their connection with their neighbourhood. Parishes and monasteries have been able to adopt a prudent and protective lifestyle thanks to the new attitude in gardening and agriculture, the use of materials, the management of energy and water, financial management and their choice of food. 

A questionnaire has been drawn up and sent out to all of the Catholic parishes in the Netherlands. Protestant congregations in the Netherlands have also been asked to complete the questionnaire.


The results from the initial survey of Catholic parishes (2019) are available; these have specifically shown that more than one third of the parishes have focused on sustainability in their policy plan. You can also view the entire research report on greening activities in parishes.

In 2020, the following scientific article about the churches’ fight for the Netherlands’ vulnerable natural habitat was published in Dutch: 

  • Kerken komen op voor kwetsbare natuur in Nederland (article in De schepping in het midden – Klimaatcrisis als theologische uitdaging, NZR Cahiers 5, 66-73.

In addition, several parishes and monasteries that are running greening activities have been approached: in the following inspirational stories, which were also published in the Katholiek Nieuwsblad, you can read about their activities and initiatives.


Contact information

More information on this research study? Questions from the media may be directed to the science editor. All other questions may be directed to the researcher.