The Dutch War on Easter. Secular Passion for Religious Culture & National Rituals

Ernst van den Hemel


Through a discussion of seemingly ‘hyped-up’ controversies concerning Easter eggs, Palm Sunday celebrations, and phrases such as ‘merry Christmas’, this article analyzes the way in which celebrations of and rituals related to religious holidays have become the subject of political contestations in the Netherlands. This article highlights how nominally secular politicians increasingly come to the defense of the religious dimension of Dutch national identity. Focusing on the discourse concerning religion by the two largest parties in the Netherlands, liberal party VVD and populist right-wing PVV, this article outlines the contours of new interactions between religion, secularity, ritual and politics.


Nationalism; populism; Easter; culturalization of citizenship; secularity

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