In a famous essay published in the journal De Gids in 1873, lawyer Victor de Stuers observed that ‘[o]ur old gothic church buildings, most of them in the possession of the Reformed Protestants, did not get any special attention until now. […] I have to point at the inadequacy of the governments funding system for the restoration of ancient buildings’.1 Since then, the situation has dramatically changed in the Dutch religious landscape, but the question of the responsibility of the state remains on the agenda and is becoming more urgent since the number of redundant churches is increasing. There are many stakeholders: church communities and their religious leadership, heritage protection organizations, as well as local and central public authorities. They all have a role to play in the efforts to manage the (still) rich cultural religious heritage that moulded the traditional Dutch landscape. Its skyline is depicted in ‘Memory of Holland’ (Herinnering aan Holland), a poem by Hendrik Marsman:

Churches, chapels and monasteries are, apart from windmills, the most visible part of Dutch-built heritage.3 A related issue is that of discussions about the heritage value of religious objects, part of the buildings’ interior.4