Following the retirement of the current president of the Dutch Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Ad van Luyn, effective on 2 July, the Dutch bishops elected the archbishop of Utrecht and metropolitan of the Netherlands, Msgr. Wim Eijk, to succeed him. Bishop Frans Wiertz of Roermond stays on as vice-president. The new appointment becomes effective upon the installation of Bishop Hans van den Hende as the new bishop of Rotterdam, on the aforementioned date of 2 July.
When Archbishop Eijk was appointed to Utrecht in 2007, he said that he would be focussing on his new diocese and would not immediately seek the position of president of the conference. Now, four years later, he has, and it was really just a matter of time. Generally, the metropolitan of a Church province, is also the president of that provinces bishops’ conference. And if not, the function does tend to go to an archbishop. In northwestern Europe, there are four bishops’ conferences (Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia) and now only one of these is headed by a president who is not an archbishop. That is the Scandinavian conference with Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm. And that province has no archbishops or metropolitan. So Archbishop Eijk’s new appointment fits in with the general trend.
Photo credit: RTV Utrecht