More than once, I lamented the fact that the Dutch dioceses offer virtually nothing in the way of maps of their areas of jurisdiction. Whereas dioceses, and even parishes, abroad sometimes have appealing and useful maps of their territory, in the Netherlands we have to make do with the vaguest of indications of what diocese begins and ends where – a bit of this province, a part of that.
The Archdiocese of Utrecht now makes a start in filling that gap. On this map we find the borders of the archdiocese and of the 49 parishes – the result of mergers and consolidation. Also indicated are the locations of churches and parish offices.
Now, it must be emphasised, as the makers of the map do, that the map is not excessively accurate. “It is a general indication. The map is not meant to indicate the borders of parishes to the centimeter.” Still, it does indicate some of the anomalies that are ever present along diocesan boundaries: stretches of empty (or not so empty) land which one would expect to belong to one diocese, actually belong to Utrecht, and vice versa.
The image at the top of this blog post also show how Catholicism is spread in this part of the Netherlands. A very strong presence in the south and east (and also west, but that is also due to the fact that that area is more heavily populated anyway), and not so much in the centre and north; areas that are traditionally very orthodox Protestant, part of the Dutch Bible belt.
A good start of the process of offering accurate map of the Catholic Netherlands, offering ample room for development and improvement.