The largest masonic order in the Netherlands is the Order of Freemasons under the Grand Orient of the Netherlands. Under this order work 162 lodges. Besides the 145 lodges in the Netherlands, there are lodges in the Netherlands Antilles (3), Aruba (2), Surinam (3), South Africa (1) and Zimbabwe (7). The number of members was on january 1st 2008 6,378. 5,792 of them have joined Dutch lodges.
The Grand Orient of the Netherlands was founded in 1756 by ten of the at that time existing lodges. Some of them worked under jurisdiction of the English or Scottish Grand Lodge.
The word Grand Orient is also used for the annual meeting of representatvies
of the lodges in the Netherlands and overseas. This meeting is the highest
college in the Order. Normally there is once a year a Grand Orient, to be held
the saturday before or after june 21st in Utrecht. The convocation and documents
for the Grand Orient of 2011 (in Dutch),
including annual reports is published on this site.
In some cases it is possible for an extra-ordinary Grand Orient to be held, for instance in the case of a change in the regulations and laws of the Order.
Under the Grand Orient freemasonry is practised in the three blue degrees, also called symbolic freemasonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. This art of freemasonry is conducted in lodges. Besides these lodges there are some masonic circles active.
Although these three degrees are a complete set, especially in Anglo-saxon masonry, the function of Worshipful Master (chairman of a lodge) is considered as an important position, of which the installation is done according to a separate ritual. On this site are, besides the Dutch rituals, also a large number of rituals from other countries published.
the past freemasons have added a large number of degrees and orders to these
blue degrees. All these degrees are an extension to the elements found in
These so-called appendant bodies or 'higher degrees' are practised in orders which are officially not connected to the Grand Orient, but these orders can only admit members, who are also a member of a lodge under the Grand Orient. In order to work, these orders have to be recognised by the Grand Orient.
At this time there are ten recognised orders working in the Netherlands:
1. Order of
Freemasons under the Grand Charpter of Higher Degrees in
2. Department of the Masters' Degree
3. Order of Freemasons under the Supreme Council of the 33rd and final Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in the Netherlands
4. Order of Freemasons of the Holy Royal Arch of the Netherlands
5. Royal Order of Scotland
6. District Grandlodge of Master Mark Masons in the Netherlands
7. Order of Royal and Select Masters
8. United Military Order of the Tempel and of St. John of Jerusalem
9. Knight Templar Priests
10. Order of the Red Cross of Constantine
Furthermore, there are two organizations worth mentioning. First there is an
Oasis of the American Ancient and Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine,
the so-called 'Shriners'. This is not an organization that practises
freemasonry, but a 'fun-group', that works for charity. It is, however only
accessible for freemasons.
Secondly, the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia is since a couple of years active in the Netherlands.
Internal structure of the Dutch Grand Orient (in Dutch)