An inquiry into the Craft in the Netherlands
Based on the web page Nadere informatie
of the Grand East of the Netherlands
which can be found at
More Information | Procedure | Committee of Inquiry | End
In the Netherlands the right way of obtaining initial information and seeking admission into the Craft is seen as a most important phase in the process of becoming a freemason.
There are similarities but also many differences in doing so between constitutions throughout the world. The following article explains the Dutch procedure of inquiry into the Craft and of applying for membership.
For the non-mason the following article provides interesting information and insights about present-day procedures in the Netherlands. He is advised that procedures elsewhere may be quite different.
For a freemason belonging to a constitution other than the Grand East of the Netherlands the article provides an opportunity to learn about the Dutch masonic procedure, thus enabling him to compare the Dutch masonic approach with that of his own constitution.
Dutch freemasons, of course, are well acquainted with it.
If you like more information than is offered to you on Internet pages, various avenues are open to you:
The address of the "Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands" is: Princessegracht 27, 2514 AP Den Haag (The Hague).
The Public Relations Committee of the Order of Freemasons can be contacted via Postbox 11525, 2502 AM Den Haag.
The Order's Office is open Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 13.00 hrs. The telephone number is (31) 070-346 00 46.
The e-mail address of the Order of Freemasons is: email@example.com . By clicking the address you can immediately send a message.
In the Cultural Masonic Centre 'Prins Frederick' are the Library and Collections of the Order. Its is worth a visit! Be sure to visit its internet page! The address is: Jan Evertstraat 9, The Hague. It is open Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 13.00 hrs or as arranged. Postal address: Postbox 11525, 2502 AM Den Haag. Telephone: (31) 070-346 16 76, Fax: (31) 070-364 12 37.
Another proper way to receive answers to your questions is via a member of a lodge in your neighbourhood. This is certainly recommended if you consider applying for membership.
Every lodge has one or more appointed members who can and will answer questions about freemasonry. The Order of Freemasons has a List of Lodges on one of its Internet pages where you can check which lodges meet in your area. If this does not meet your requirements you can contact the Order in The Hague by telephone or e-mail and arrangements will be made for someone from a lodge nearby to contact you.
In your local Telephone Directory you often can find local lodges under the 'F' of Freemasonry ('V' of Vrijmetselarij). Sometimes it gives the number of the local Masonic Temple (logegebouw), although very often no one will be present to answer your questions.
If you wish to apply for membership
One can only become a member of the Order by becoming a member of a lodge. He who asks to be admitted as a candidate to a lodge will have plenty of opportunities during the period which follows to inquire into the character and aims of freemasonry and the Order, as well as the conditions of admission.
Should you ring one of the numbers on the List of Lodges than the person you speak to can inform you about the local lodge. If it is necessary to have a more relaxed telephone conversation at a mutually suitable time, than you can make an appointment to do so. You can also make an appointment to meet a freemason in his or your home, or to speak with one or more freemasons in a public venue in your neighbourhood.
You are at liberty to apply for membership, but this must always be done of your initiative. It is a condition for a lodge that you apply of your own initiative and free will. When you clearly indicate that you want to become a member, the representative of the lodge will give you an Application Form, wherein you are required to provide some personal details, such as name, address, occupation or profession and telephone number. He will ask you to supply the names of two persons who will be asked to provide information about you. When the form is signed by you, he will co-sign it. He then becomes your 'proposer'.
He will also give you a questionnaire to take home with you, where you can quietly complete it. He will ask you to write a personal profile, not so much a curriculum vitae as when applying for employment, but more a narrative of your mental and spiritual development, and wherein you explain the reason why you want to become a freemason.
Conversation with the 'Presiding Master'
When you have sent in the questionnaire and the narrative you will be invited to meet the 'Presiding Master' of the lodge. If you decide to continue with your application for membership, he will give your name to the Grand Secretary of the Order in The Hague. Your name will then appear on a List of Candidates which is sent once each month to all lodges in the Netherlands where it is read out. If someone in the lodge, wherever in the Netherlands, hears the name of a person known to him, it is his duty to so advise the Presiding Master of the lodge where the candidate applied for membership, and to provide some brief information about the candidate.
Committee of Inquiry
Two months after a name has been read in the lodges the candidate-freemason will receive an invitation from the Committee of Inquiry. They are the representatives of the members of the lodge and it is their duty to check if the candidate will feel at home in the lodge, what freemasonry means to him, and the other way around. The personal profile, the comments of the referees and freemasons who know the candidate form the basis of the discussions.
The Committee makes a report of the meeting which is read out in the Master Masons Meeting of the lodge. A ballot to admit the candidate is then carried out. If the ballot is in his favour, all documentation in respect of his request is sent to the Grand Secretary of the Order in The Hague with a request for approval to admit a new member.
As soon as permission has been granted a date for the admission ceremony is arranged. The whole procedure will take a minimum of 4 month but can be extended a further 2 month depending on the time of the year (July-August summer holidays). The waiting time can also increase if a lodge has many candidates for admission.
This balloting procedure may seem old-fashioned and conservative, but it has proved a most prudent procedure in avoiding disappointment - not only with respect to the candidate but also with respect to the lodge.
Men, when considering to become a member, often ask if they can resign their membership from the lodge and the Order. should they do not find it to be what they expected. The answer of course is: Yes. A lodge is an ordinary organisation, thus one from which you can resign. Happily this happens very seldom, because of the thorough practice of a mutual getting-to-know-you.
And should that happen after all, than there are two disappointed parties.
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Updated: 15 May 2006