Migrant churches in The Hague – new religious and linguistic opportunities for churchgoers

S.E. Alberts, Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Downloads (Pure)


The Hague, the third largest city of The Netherlands, is a multicultural and multi-ethnic urban centre with many migrant churches scattered across the city. This article examines the linguistic presence and identity of a select number of English-speaking churches and their identification through Linguistic Landscaping. Our findings show that, while it is claimed that Dutch society is becoming increasingly secularised, the many migrant and other international churches currently present in The Hague suggest the opposite. In addition, it appeared that English-language churches in The Hague attract large numbers of Dutch congregants for whom English is their second language. Reasons for this are that English is perceived as a lighter language than Dutch for practising their religion, and that it brings fresh perspectives to their faith. The use of English is thus expanding to the religious domain in The Netherlands in a new way (cf. Edwards, A. 2016. English in the Netherlands: Functions, Forms and Attitudes. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins). Applying Linguistic Landscaping as a research tool was found to work only for older heritage-language churches, which have a more established and sometimes even officially recognised position in the city, than newer migrant churches, whose presence is often transient in line with the changing nature of superdiverse cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Linguistics landscape
  • Religion
  • Superdiversity
  • Language attitudes
  • Migrant churches
  • English
  • The Hague

Cite this