The Pontiff's diplomatic skills may well be tested as he visits a country where negative views of Christians and the West are on the rise.
Government leaders in the Netherlands reignited the debate over veils and head scarves when they announced plans for legislation that would ban the full-face veil. A Pew survey found that European publics are divided on head scarf bans.
Even before British authorities announced they had thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up airplanes, many people in Britain - including Muslims - were very concerned about Islamic extremism.
Muslims living in Europe worry about their future, and many say they have had a bad experience as a result of their religion or ethnicity. But Muslims there do not generally believe most Europeans are hostile toward people of their faith.
After a year marked by riots over cartoon portrayals of Muhammad, a major terrorist attack in London, and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Muslims and Westerners see relations between them as generally bad.