Drs. J.C. Minkjan

Research trainee

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Promo Master Anthropology



Neo-paganism in the Netherlands



The project is part of the larger programme: "Between Secularisation and Sacralisation" of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the VU University Amsterdam.

The research question of this PhD project is:
What are the motivations of Dutch neo-pagans to practice neo-paganism?"

In this study the different trends of neo-paganism in the Netherlands will be studied. Neo-paganism is an umbrella term for a variety of different practices, which find their orientation in pre-Christian religious practices from different cultures.The different branches are Wicca (or modern witchcraft), neo-shamanism, Druidism, the Goddess movement and Asatru. The common core belief of these different traditions is that nature is sacred.

Questions of identity; especially the construction of identity by a 'personal mythology', authenticity, experience and processes of conversion will be addressed. Because many neo-pagan traditions have their roots in Anglo-Saxon countries the issues of authenticity of the neo-pagan belief in a Dutch context, as well as the role of experience in for instance ritual on the building of identity will be studied.The way neo-pagan belief affects the daily life of the practitioners will also be a subject of study.

The research methods used in this project are:

  • different interview techniques
  • experiencing participation
  • participant observation
  • study of internetsites and neo-pagan literature

The PhD project will be performed during the period 2005-2010



Publications (Source: VU METIS)