Amsterdam Mennonite Library (Bibliotheek en Archief van de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam)

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The foundation for the very rich collection owned by the congregation at Amsterdam and placed at the service of the Amsterdam Theological Seminary students was laid by the preacher of the Lamist congregation and also a doctor of medicine at Amsterdam, Johannes Reyers, in the gift of his library to the church in 1680. Other contributions followed. In 1801 the library of the Amsterdam Zonist congregation was added, and later the library of the Utrecht congregation, which it had received by bequest from the historian Marten Schagen. In 1833 the library was enriched by a gift by Govert Jan van Rijswijk containing many rare books on Mennonite history. When Samuel Muller became professor of the seminary the library was greatly expanded. The expenses for this were defrayed in part by the sale of the equipment of a physical laboratory of the seminary and by the large contributions made by the members of the Amsterdam congregation during those years.

The library contained not only Mennonitica. In 1768 Peter Fontein, a minister at Amsterdam, bequeathed to the library a valuable collection of books in the field of ancient languages. In 1894 it received as a gift the unique collection of the late minister Loosjes on Pascal and Vinet. In 1946 the late minister Cornelis Nijdam willed to the library a number of works by and about Schleiermacher.

A systematic catalog with a Latin foreword by Gerrit Hesselink was printed in 1793. In 1854 the first part of a new catalog was published, containing titles of general theological works. In 1888 the second part was published, drawn up by Jacob Gijsbert de Hoop Scheffer. It contained (a) Teleiobaptistica (Mennonitica); (b) Greek and Latin classics, philology, and other works. A new catalog of Mennonitica alone appeared in 1919 prepared by Jan Gerrit Boekenoogen.

Among the greatest treasures of the library are the old writings of Menno Simons, David Joris,Dirk Philips, the old martyr literature (an almost complete set of the editions of the Offer des Heeren), a large rare collection of small writings on the Lammerenkrijg anda large collection of Mennonite hymnals.

A very valuable supplement to the collection of printed works are the archives of the Amsterdam congregation. Besides many letters and documents important to Mennonite history there are the membership records of the Waterlander congregation of the period 1612-1673, of the Flemish 1625-1670; of the Lamist and Toren congregation after the union with the Waterlanders 1668-1829; and of the Zonist congregation 1686-1801. In addition a great number of letters from and to Amsterdam, also the records and documents of the various Societeits and the archives of the Commissie voor Buitenlandse Nooden containing many letters and reports concerning the persecution and emigration of the Swiss Mennonites to America. For this archival material a catalog prepared by the archivist de Hoop Scheffer was published in two parts (1883 and 1884). The entire catalog contains 7,521 numbers. The library was later moved to Singel 452, in a house which was bought by the congregation as early as 1633, but the library was not brought here until 1839, after it was reorganized. In 2006 the library was part of the University Library at the University of Amsterdam.


Catalogus der werken over de Doopsgezinden en hunne geschiedenis: aanwezig in de bibliotheek der Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam. Amsterdam: J. H. de Bussy, 1919.

Hoop Scheffer, J. G. de. Inventaris der archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884.

Additional Information

Search the Amsterdam Mennonite Library collection (through the University of Amsterdam library catalog.)

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Amsterdam Mennonite Library (Bibliotheek en Archief van de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 22 Apr 2019.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1953). Amsterdam Mennonite Library (Bibliotheek en Archief van de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 April 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 108. All rights reserved.

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