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The Reformed Church and Education During the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic

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image of Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis / Dutch Review of Church History
For more content, see Church History and Religious Culture.

From the very first, the Dutch Reformed Church addressed the issue of education. If the people were to be confessionalized in a Reformed direction, then the place to start was with the young. Its greatest concern was to ensure elementary education for boys and girls in the vernacular. The Reformed primary schools were expected to impart reading and writing skills, and, above all, to instill the Reformed faith by means of school catechization. The Reformed Church continually urged the government to banish all "papist" schools and to appoint only Reformed teachers. This essay discusses two major opportunities (namely, the Synod of Dort and the Treaty of Munster) to strengthen the positions of the Reformed schools and of the Reformed Church in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. For several reasons the Reformed "public" Church never became the church of all. School catechization was in all probability not the hoped-for popularizer of the Reformed faith.


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