A Ban on Marriages between Christians and Muslims in the Dutch Republic

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


The States General of the Dutch Republic introduced in 1656 a law forbidding marriages between Christians and Muslims in a part of their territory, the so-called Generalitylands. The province of Gelderland introduced four years later the same rule. Several Roman-Dutch law jurists discussed to what extend this rule was applicable in the whole of the territory of the Republic. The legal authors Grotius and Van Leeuwen stated, before the enactment of the law, that these interreligious marriages were allowed in the Republic, based on the freedom of thought, belief and religion. Dutch jurists from around 1700 argued that the rule drafted for the Generalitylands in the 1656-law was applicable on the whole territory of The Netherlands. In 1662 Simon van Leeuwen, referring to Hugo de Groot, writes about marriages between Christians and Muslims: ‘In our country, where almost all schools tolerate freedom (see Grot.[ius] De Iure belli, Book 2, ch. 10, no. 10), it is not prohibited’. The liberal opinion of Van Leeuwen was overshadowed a short time later by a total ban on such marriages, a view propagated by Johannes Voet. However, did marriages between Christians and Muslims took place? We will follow this debate, and how this debate was silenced and of little importance since this kind of inter-religious marriage did seldom take place in this period.
Period5 Mar 2020
Event titleReligion, ideology, politics, and law: A multidisciplinary approach in the frame of European history
Event typeConference
LocationPalermo, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational