Baptists in the Netherlands

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In the earliest period a Baptist church existed at Amsterdam under the leadership of John Smyth and Thomas Helwys. Smyth’s congregation in 1615 joined that of the Waterlander Mennonites, and in about 1611 Helwys returned to England, upon which the Baptist movement on Dutch soil disappeared for several centuries.

In 1843, J. E. Feisser, the Dutch Reformed pastor at Gasselter-Nijeveen (Drenthe), came to doubt the Scripturalness of infant baptism. In his congregation this became, under his leading, a movement or reawakening, although in the same year Feisser was excommunicated. He preached for the last time on 31 December 1843. On 15 April 1845 he was rebaptized by immersion along with six brethren and sisters by Julius Koebner, a Baptist preacher from Hamburg who was a representative of Johann Gerhard Oncken. In this manner a Baptist church again came into existence in the Netherlands. Gradually Baptist congregations arose in Stadskanaal, Weerdingermond, and in other fen colonies in Groningen and Drenthe. On 26 January 1881, the "congregation of baptized Christians," as they called themselves, were united in the Union of Baptist Churches (Unie van Baptistengemeenten). They laid great stress, similar to the Mennonites, on voluntary church membership. Baptism, which was executed only by immersion, was performed on the basis of a personal testimony of conversion. No confession of faith was recognized as binding, the revealed truth of the Holy Scriptures being considered sufficient.

In the 1950s the Union was administered by the Union Committee, which was composed of nine members. The congregations were entirely independent and autonomous in the regulation of affairs.

The Union, which in 1927 comprised 31 congregations with 3,212 baptized members, in 1951 consisted of 47 congregations with 6,587 members; in addition there were four Baptist congregations with a total of about 400 members who did not belong to the Union. The Baptists in the Netherlands, almost from the beginning, had their own weekly periodical, De Christen (The Christian), and after 1912 an evangelistic paper, De Zaaier (The Sower)


Wumkes, Geert A. De opkomst en vestiging van het Baptisme in Nederland. Sneek: Osinga, 1912.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Baptists in the Netherlands." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 4 Mar 2024.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1953). Baptists in the Netherlands. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 March 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 231. All rights reserved.

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