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dove 3426159 640Amsterdam’s oldest church, the Oude Kerk, is a curious sight. Consecrated in 1303, the triple-nave Gothic church is surrounded by the window brothels, coffee shops, and bars of the city’s notorious red-light district. Inside are an impressive Christian Müller organ, some scandalous 15th-century carvings, and a floor built of gravestones.

The history of religion in the Netherlands has been characterized by considerable diversity of religious thought and practice.  From 1600 until the second half of the 20th century, the north and west were Calvinist and the southeast was in majority Catholic,[1] with Muslims and other religions concentrated in ethnic neighborhoods in the cities.

Prehistory and Early Middle Ages

Before the advent of Christianity, the Netherlands were populated by Celtic tribes in the South, which adhered to Celtic polytheism, and Germanic tribes in the North, which adhered to Germanic paganism. After the Roman Empire occupied the later southern Netherlands, Roman mythology became important there, as well as religions from the Middle East, including relics from Egyptian mythology, Judaism, Mithraism and later Christianity.