The Netherlands abolished compulsory celibacy more than 50 years ago
From 1968 to 1970, a Pastoral Council of the Dutch Ecclesiastical Province took place, in which besides bishops also more than 100 laymen participated. At the opening on 3 January 1968, Cardinal Alfrink formulated the intention of the Dutch bishops as follows:
The bishops want to give the whole People of God, at all levels, a chance to express their opinions and to give advice. The idea is that from this common discussion a line of conduct will emerge, according to which the Church should now act.
On 8 April 1970, the last day of the Council, the conclusion was adopted that the celibacy obligation should be abolished. This conclusion was later accepted by the bishops.
Up to now none of the Dutch bishops has used the ruling for his diocese.