The professionalization of chaplaincy A Comparison of 1997 and 2017 Surveys in The Netherlands

Niels Den Toom, Renske Kruizinga, Anke, I Liefbroer, Jacques Korver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Chaplaincy has become increasingly professionalized in response to both the standardization in healthcare and the changing religious landscape. Whereas several studies have paid attention to the professionalization of chaplaincy as a whole, no research has been found that describes the implications for individual chaplains. The present article describes the professionalization of Dutch chaplains in the last two decades. We compared the results of two surveys conducted with chaplains in the Netherlands in 1997 and 2017. We describe professionalization by distinguishing between the changed values, expertise, and positioning of chaplains. We found that chaplains’ expertise has been developed by a growing but highly diverse body of knowledge. Furthermore, a pluralization of chaplains’ worldviews was observed, including non-religious and non-affiliated positions. Lastly, no major changes were observed in the embedding of chaplains.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Care Chaplaincy
Early online date28 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chaplaincy
  • pluralization
  • professionalization
  • spiritual care
  • The Netherlands

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