Irreligion in Belgium

Irreligion in Belgium pertains to citizens of Belgium that are atheist, agnostic, or otherwise unaffiliated with any religion. Irreligion is the second most common religious stance in Belgium, following Catholicism.

Religion in Belgium (September 2019)[1][2]

  Catholicism (54.0%)
  Protestantism (3.0%)
  Orthodoxy (1.0%)
  Other Christians (2.0%)
  No Religion (31.0%)
  Islam (5.0%)
  Buddhism (0.3%)
  Judaism (0.3%)
  Other religions (4.0%)


The Constitution of Belgium guaranteed the right to freedom of religion when it was enacted in 1831. Articles 19-21 provide for protections of secularism: the Constitution of Belgium guarantees the freedom of worship and its public practice, forbids the obligation of any religious practices, and disallows government intervention or involvement in a religion's leadership.[3]

The First School War was a dispute between Catholicism and secularism in schools in the 1880s. The dispute was revived in the Second School War in the 1950s.[4]


Religion has declined in Belgium, though Catholicism still remains large among the Belgian population.[5][6] As of 2018, 29.3% of Belgians are irreligious. 20.2% of Belgians identify as not religious, while 9.1% identify as atheist.[7]

Secular groupsEdit

Due to pillarization which is in place in Belgium, irreligious individuals and families who desire to receive counseling and celebration for life moments often go to institutions of organized secularism, including secular organizations or liberal philosophical organizations (Dutch: vrijzinnige levensbeschouwelijke organisaties, French: organisations laïques) which are headed and led by clergy-like officials known as "counsellors".[citation needed]

Organized secularism is recognized by Belgium as a philosophy that exists alongside religious groups and receives state funding.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Eurobarometer 90.4: Attitudes of Europeans towards Biodiversity, Awareness and Perceptions of EU customs, and Perceptions of Antisemitism. European Commission. Retrieved 9 August 2019 – via GESIS.
  2. ^ "Survey: discrimination". Eurobarometer. September 2019.
  3. ^ Velaers, Jan; Foblets, Marie-Clarie. "Religion and the State in Belgian Law". National Report: Belgium.
  4. ^ Aries, Jacques (dir.) (2005). La laïcité histoires nationales - perspectives européennes. Lyon: J.André. ISBN 9782915009651.[page needed]
  5. ^ "Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism" (PDF). Gallup. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-02. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  6. ^ "What happened to Belgium? Lament for a Catholic nation – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  7. ^ Eurobarometer 437: Discrimination in the EU in 2015. European Commission. Retrieved 15 October 2017 – via GESIS.
  8. ^ Sägesser, Caroline (September 2018). Religion and Secularism in the European Union. Université Libre de Bruxelles. p. 65.