Diversity of faiths in Amsterdam
While Christianity was traditionally the predominant religion in the Netherlands (and memories of Calvinism still have an influence on various aspects of culture and daily life), there are now more Dutch people identifying as non-religious than as Christians. A survey from the year 2000 reports that 60% of the adult population of Amsterdam professed no affiliation with any church or other religious or ideological movement. But Amsterdam remains a spiritually vibrant place. The largest religion in Amsterdam is still Christianity (17%, of which Roman Catholics form the majority, with 10%), though Islam (currently 14%) is rapidly growing in popularity and is predicted to be the largest religious group within a few years. Three ethnic groups—Moroccans, Turks and Surinamese—contain a much higher percentage of people who feel affiliated to a particular religion.
A new Chinese Buddhist temple was opened in the year 2000 in the Chinatown area on Zeedijk, near Nieuwmarkt. The Fo Kuang Shan Buddhist temple accommodates monks and nuns, a library and classrooms. Fo Kuang (or Guang) Shan temples are at the centre of Chinese culture. With the building of this temple, the Dutch capital has become the site of the first genuine Buddhist temple in western Europe.
In 2000, the Netherlands' first purpose-built Hindu temple opened its doors, the result of a 17-year-long planning process. Marked by two impressive towers, the Radha Krishna Mandir Hindu temple is adorned with images of gods especially imported from India.
The opening of this temple has given Hindus their own venue for religious gatherings and for the celebration of feast days. The temple also serves as an information centre on Hinduism, and religious and Hindi lessons will be given there. The temple is owned by the Shri Sanatan Dharm Amsterdam Foundation.
While many churches have been abandoned or have acquired secular functions, some have continued to serve religious functions. In May 1977, almost four centuries after the conversion of Roman Catholic Amsterdam to the Reformation, the first mosque in the city was opened in what was originally a Catholic chapel on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. Since then, mosques have sprung up throughout the city in former churches. The Westermoskee is Amsterdam's first purpose-built mosque and at the same time the first western European mosque in classical Ottoman style. A complete list of all active mosques in Amsterdam can be found here (website in Dutch).
Aside from standard religions, there are sects, Salvationist movements and new age gurus. A library situated on Bloemgracht, the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, contains the largest collection of hermetic and mystical works in Europe, the life's work of a manufacturer of disposable articles.