The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country with one of the lowest geographical elevations (one-quarter is below sea-level). It is more commonly known as Holland, because of the role the two western provinces (North and South Holland) played in its history. The country was evangelized during the first millennium, between the four and the ninth century. Monasteries flourished then, and the prayer of the Rosary became highly prevalent in the fifteenth century.

However in the sixteenth century the Protestant Reformation led to the suppression of all cultural references to the Blessed Virgin Mary, often more for political than for religious reasons; and in 1683, Catholic priests were forbidden residency under penalty of death.

The eighteenth century brought back religious freedom, which became truly complete in 1849. After this time a number of Marian shrines were rebuilt or rededicated.

The Netherlands is host to many international organizations (International Court of Justice; International Criminal Court; International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia; Permanent Court of Arbitration; International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons). It is also the seat of some European organizations.


Attilio GALLI, Madre della Chiesa dei Cinque continenti, Ed. Segno, Udine, 1997, and