Een religieuze vrije val in Venray

Het verdwijnen van kloosterlingen tussen 1965 en 2005


  • Frans Jespers Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen



In Venray, a country town in the south of the Netherlands, several hundreds of Roman Catholic religious lived and worked around the middle of the twentieth century. Eight different orders and congregations had their monasteries and convents for priests, brothers and sisters. Their main tasks concerned education (especially in boarding schools), nursing and psychiatric care. Between 1965 and 2005 more than 400 of them left, mainly because their tasks were taken over by lay people, which was a consequence of the development of the welfare state. In the seventies and eighties many other cultural changes led to big tensions within the monasteries and convents. Although the religious made various attempts to renew their rules and life, they were not able to stop the ongoing decrease of their numbers. The short history of those eight religious communities in Venray and their social practices is a good example of the recent history of active Roman Catholic religious in the Netherlands. Probably, in Venray their decline even went a bit faster than in most other Dutch places. Most of the ‘superfluous’ priests, brothers and nuns went to larger cities in order to develop alternative social activities, for which was no opportunity in a country town like Venray.

Biografie auteur

  • Frans Jespers, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

    Frans Jespers was tot voor kort universitair hoofddocent vergelijkende godsdienstwetenschap aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.








Een religieuze vrije val in Venray: Het verdwijnen van kloosterlingen tussen 1965 en 2005. (2019). Religie & Samenleving, 14(1), 54-77.