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Protestant Church in the Netherlands is committed to employees and volunteers

The interior of the Tabor Church in Purmerend

NOS News

The Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) has decided that all employees and volunteers who regularly work with children and vulnerable people must have a declaration of behavior (VOG), reports Trouw. The PKN will hold the general synod, a national church meeting, this weekend in Lunteren.

A certificate of good conduct is a statement from the Ministry of Justice and Security showing that a person’s behavior does not constitute an objection to the performance of a new task or position in society. A Certificate of Good Conduct is mandatory for some positions, such as for taxi drivers, teachers and childcare employees.

Preventing abuse in church

At the end of 2019, the synod of the PKN already wanted a mandatory VOG for employees and volunteers. The tightening was intended to combat abuse in the church. The VOG was not immediately mandatory, but it was “strongly recommended”, the PKN writes on its own website.

There are numerous different churches that have objected to the vog in recent years. For example, it would be a lot of work to have everyone apply for a VOG. Several attendees refuted this at today’s synod.

There was also criticism of a theological nature, writes Trouw. For example, there would be no forgiveness if people who cannot obtain a permit are excluded from church functions. However, you do not run the risk of introducing a mandatory VOG that will be difficult for those present. They confided the importance of creating a safe environment in the church.

The synod decided to make the vog mandatory from July 1, 2025 for all 1,470 municipalities affiliated with the PKN. The certificate will then not only be mandatory for pastors and other employees, but also for volunteers.

Chamber Catholic Church

The register has been a requirement for some time in the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands. In 2013, the church made the VOG mandatory for all new employees and volunteers who work with children and the vulnerable. Also for people who apply for a VOG for a job change.