Psalm 121 most popular psalm in the Netherlands, survey says


Western Europe


Singing a psalm. Photo RD, Henk Visscher

In the flat country the Netherlands, Psalm 121 (“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?”) is the most popular psalm in the Bible. However, Psalm 42, about the panting deer, is the most popular for singing.

This is evident from a survey conducted by the Christian daily Nederlands Dagblad among its readers. The places 2 to 5 on the list of most popular psalms were 139, 23, 103 and 27, respectively. Among the sung psalms, 84, 68, 139 and 27 ranked second to fifth.

On the very first day that the survey “What is your favourite or most beloved psalm from the Bible?” was online, the newspaper reported, there was a storm. In the end, more than 500 people filled in the questionnaire.

Aspects that recurred in the respondents’ choices were: psalms that accompany life, remembrance of a deceased person, what music can do, and the popularity of a rhyming verse, the researchers conclude.


When asked what churchgoers miss most in the coronation crisis, a survey by Nederlands Dagblad in early 2021 showed that singing together comes out on top. The newspaper writes so in a background article, which addresses the question of why singing in church “does more for so many believers than listening to the creed, the sermon or the prayer”. According to Professor of Clinical Psychology of Religion Hanneke Schaap-Jonker this is due to the “sum of all the released emotions and the sacred, holy environment.”

“The emotions are not just a profound feeling; it is a feeling that has to do with God. It makes emotions more powerful, and they become more important to people.” Schaap explains that believers experience a sense of connection with God and the community of faith as a result. “In religious psychology, this is known as “the upward spiral of emotions in the process of sacralisation.”

So, it can be explained psychologically, but that does not make it any less ‘real’. “God and psychology are not mutually exclusive”, says Schaap. “God made us with a psyche. Our brain and our feelings, it’s all involved in our life with God and serving and worshipping God.”



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