The constitution of Belgium was written to include freedom of religion for the Belgian residents. In reality, government officials reserve the right to investigate any religion that is not formally recognized within the country. Recognized religions include Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, Anglicanism, and Greek and Russian Orthodox.
Over half the population, 58%, identifies as Roman Catholic although regular church attendance has dropped by more than half since the late 90’s. Today, around 6% of Catholics attend church regularly.
Atheist Or Agnostic
The next largest religious affiliation is the 27% of the population who identify as either atheist or agnostic. This percentage makes Belgium one of the least religious countries in the world, on par with other Western European nations.
Non-Catholic Christian religions include Orthodox, Protestant, and Restoration practitioners. They make up about 7% of the total population. The majority of these individuals are Protestants which includes Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, and Presbyterians.
The religion of Islam has been increasing within the country and today, 5% of the population identifies as Muslim. The growth of this religion began in the 1960’s when Morocco, Turkey, Algeria, and Tunisia signed immigration agreements with Belgium. Muslims began entering the country on work visas, and Belgium offered a liberal family unity program that helped the Muslim population grow significantly. Approximately 35% of Muslims from Turkey and Morocco are under 18 years old which means when these individuals grow older and begin to have their families, the percentage of Muslims in Belgium will grow. Brussels, the capital, has the largest concentration of Muslim practitioners where they make up 20% of the population.
Other religious beliefs in Belgium are practiced by 3% of the population. Some of these religions include Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. As immigration to this country increases, these religions are also expected to grow in followers. This growth may someday lead to these religions becoming recognized by the government and eligible for subsidies.
Religion In Contemporary Belgian Society
|Rank||Belief System||Share of Belgian Population Today|
|1||Roman Catholic Christian||58%|
|2||Atheist or Agnostic||27%|