emigrated, mainly to North America.21 By contrast in Italy and the Iberian peninsula Protestant churches were very rare: the Waldensians in the Alpine valleys hung on to a precarious existence in the early nineteenth century, and Protestants only appeared in Spain from the 1830s as a result of the influence of the British and Foreign Bible Society. In France the areas with a significant Protestant presence were few after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, though the Reformed Church began to grow again after the Revolution introduced religious toleration.
The Netherlands also contained a mixed Catholic and Protestant population. There was a Catholic majority in Belgium, and after the revolution of 1830 it became the centre of liberal Catholicism. Roman Catholics were also increasing in numbers in Holland. They had become full citizens as a result of the reforms during the French occupation, and politically they supported Liberal policies, since the Conservative party claimed that the Netherlands was a Calvinist state. On the opposite side was the Groningen movement, which sought to overcome religious divisions on the basis of the Dutch traditions of Erasmus and the Brethren of the Common Life. Johan Rudolf Thorbecke was a Lutheran prime minister, who because of his support for 'Christianity beyond religious division' did not resist the restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Holland in 1853, which led to his political downfall. Education led the Roman Catholics to change sides politically. Whereas the Groningen movement supported state schools where teaching was not based on Calvinist or Catholic dogma, in 1857 an Education Law permitted the establishment of denominational schools; so Catholics, who were moving steadily in an Ultramontane direction, sought public funds for their schools. Eventually they allied with Abraham Kuyper's Anti-Revolutionary Party.22
The membership of the Dutch Reformed Church had fallen to 48.5 per cent of the population by 1899 (though the combined total of the Reformed Church and the Gereformeerde Kerken had been around 56 per cent for fifty years); the Roman Catholic Church was the largest church in Holland by 1930. The number of those with no explicit religious affiliation was very slow to grow and was only 2.3 per cent in 1899.23 Given that the balance between agricultural and industrial population had reached an 'economically advanced' level by 1700 (rather than 1820 as in the United Kingdom), Holland, with a high level
22 Vlekke, Evolution of the Dutch nation, pp. 309-20; Kossmann, The Low Countries, pp. 289-96, 302-7; Bornewasser, 'Thorbecke and the churches', pp. 146-69. On Kuyper, see below, pp. 334, 337-8.
23 Wintle, An economic and social history of the Netherlands, p. 28. See p. 335 below.
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