In 2006 there were 8500 religious in the Netherlands, 185 of whom came from abroad. In 2019 there were 448 foreigners out of a total of 3859 religious. At the moment, foreigners make up more than 10 percent of the religious in the Netherlands. Approximately two thirds of the foreign religious come from a non-European country – with Indonesians as the largest group, followed by Filipinos and Indians. The numbers of religious from the Netherlands and from other countries will only converge in the coming years; there is no need to be a clairvoyant for that.
The group of ‘new missionaries’ is extraordinarily diverse, not only in terms of origin, but also in terms of their spirituality. A first large group that I would like to mention are the members of missionary congregations such as the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), the Missionaries Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS), the Spiritans (CSSp), the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC), Montfortians (SMM) or the Society of African Missions (SMA). They live in international communities, often with a few Dutch fellow religious, in all regions of the Netherlands. From the simple fact that the provincial superiors of three of the above-mentioned congregations (SVD, SSpS and CSSp) are now foreigners, we can conclude that the foreign members have a significant input.
Foreign religious are also strongly represented within the relatively young congregations present in the Netherlands: the Brothers of Saint John (CSJ), Servants of the Lord and of the Virgin of Matará (SSVM), Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, the community of Bridgettines (OssS) in Weert and the Missionaries of Charity. Another group are the religiouspriests who came to the Netherlands at the invitation of a bishop. In the diocese of Den Bosch, for example, a number of Indian priests of the Heralds of the Good News work in parishes; in Limburg, there are priests from the Mission Society of the Philippines; and in North Holland, quite a few priests from the Neokatechumenale Weg are working in parishes.