Legal Euthanasia in Pastoral Practice: Experiences of Pastors in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands


This representative survey amongst 653 ministers in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) maps their experiences and views with regard to euthanasia. We found that three-quarters of the ministers have experience with euthanasia requests from their parishioners. Almost two-thirds of them respect a parishioner’s euthanasia request. Differentiating the answers on the basis of modality, we see differences in attitudes, both regarding euthanasia itself and regarding the pastoral approach. Although ministers have considerable experience with euthanasia, the open questions posed reveal that ministers encounter many difficulties and dilemmas: there is urgent need for discussion and support. The article intends to contribute to the search for a best pastoral practice in dealing with euthanasia requests and explores the need for a renewed role for the PKN in the social and political debate on euthanasia.

International Journal of Public Theology