Historically, the main religious groups in the Netherlands lived peacefully alongside each other. Although the population consists of substantial Catholic, Protestant and non-denominational groups, these groups hardly interacted. Each group had its own social circle of clubs, political parties, schools and broadcasting organisations. This division in social circles, or pillars as they are called, created a stable society. The pillarisation has been in place for centuries, and only began to decline from the 1960s onwards. Together with the philosophy that schools have to be in the neighbourhood where the child lives, it sets a background for an educational system with comparatively small schools. Since every denominational group in a community or neighbourhood needed its own schools, one would find a few small schools in most villages, instead of one big one.