Religion, Law and Society

The State, the Religious Community and the Individual

Religion, Law and Society

What are the limits of religious freedom? How can we understand these debates, not only from a legal perspective, but also from the perspective of religious communities, its leaders and individuals within these communities? And what is the role of the state? In this minor students learn to study the fascinating and complex multidisciplinary field of religion, law and society, with a special focus on religion in the public domain. Students will gain a thorough evaluative understanding of the relationship between religion, law and society, by studying key concepts such as religious freedom and its limitations, the state, constitutional law, civil law, tax law, religious communities, human rights, (the finances of) religious communities, and religious leadership.

Take a look at the schedule and course codes.

The minor consist of five modules which each studies a subfield of the general academic field of religion, law and society. Together they reflect on and cover current societal, political and religious issues.

Module 1 is about Religious Freedom, the State and Security. It connects theology, religious studies, constitutional law, and transnational law. Transparency, Privacy and Security form a paradox in the current society, also in the field of religion and law. This module deals with the role and vision of the state in this field.

Module 2 takes a civil law perspective on Religious Communities, Leadership and Law. This might contradict the state’s role and vision when it comes to the freedom of (religious) organization.

Module 3 observes the field from a human rights (law) dimension. Whereas the focus in module 2 is more on the community level, in this module the focus will be more on the individual and her/his (human)rights in the field of religion.

Module 4 focuses on the perspective of conflict, (in)justice and reconciliation. How do faith-based organizations deal with conflicts and injustice, and how do or can they contribute to conflicts and/or injustice in society?

Module 5 looks at the question how religious communities (of whatever nature) are financed. At this moment the foreign financing of mosks is at issue. It raises the question about the way how religious communities in general are financed.

Registration for this minor is now possible.

The minor Religion Law and Society is open to all Bachelor’s students.

If you wish to take this minor and you don’t study at the Faculty of Religion and Theology of VU Amsterdam, you do require the approval of the Examination Board of your own study programme.

More information about Admission and Registration (Dutch: Aanmelden voor een minor).

Foreign students currently not studying at a Dutch university see the page Semester in Amsterdam.

From mid-July onwards, you can register for the courses within the minor.

For more information, please contact the coordinator of this minor:

Dr C. van den Broeke

Overview Religion, Law and Society




1 semester (30 EC)


September 1st