Dutch smokers form holy alliance

A zealous religious movement is sweeping the Netherlands, under the banner of The One and Universal Church of the Smokers of God. Just over two weeks after a smoking ban came into force in the country, one publican-turned-preacher has transformed his café

Cor Busch, owner of the Lime Tree café, said that the Holy Trinity of the new faith will be “Smoke, Fire and Ash.”

He hopes that the ‘faithful’ will be able to smoke indoors again, after the government outlawed smoking in bars and restaurants, as well as in the country’s infamous coffee shops, from July 1.

The Dutch constitution guarantees the right to religious freedom, which smokers are hoping will allow them to circumvent Holland’s new anti-smoking legislation.

Members of the church will receive membership cards upon joining. Church founder Michiel Eijsbouts told the Telegraaf newspaper, “It has ritual aspects, it is something you experience and we follow our faith very strictly.”