Donorodjo (Java, Indonesia)

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Donorodjo was a leper colony in the territory of the former Dutch Mennonite mission on the island of Java, Indonesia. The founding of Donorodjo was made possible by the gift of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who used money given to her by the Javanese population in honor of the birth of her daughter Juliana (1909), to build an infirmary for lepers. The buildings were erected in a forest near the coast and on 30 April 1916 the infirmary was opened by Dr. H. Bervoets. It was administered by the Dutch Mennonite Mission Society. In course of time the leper colony was much enlarged and many buildings were erected; a small church was built in 1923, a larger church in 1935 (Church of the Resurrection). The physicians in charge were H. Bervoets and K. P. C. A. Gramberg; the nurse was W. Steinmetz; the administrators R. W. de Clercq, Chr. van Rhijn, P. J. Bouwer and their wives. In 1936 the number of lepers was 160 men and 40 women. One hundred and ten of them were Muslim, 90 Christians. Missionary N. Thiessen was the leader of the Christian leper population. He was ably assisted by Kandar, a native Christian and leper who bore his cross with a strong faith. The colony achieved a certain prosperity both financially and spiritually. Here the lepers, outcasts from their own island society, found a quiet place where they could live (also as married couples if they wanted to) and work, and where they were cared for. In 1940 the number of lepers reached about 300.

In March 1942 when the Japanese occupied Java, the Muslims began a "holy war" against the Christians. Donorodjo was partly destroyed; the medical instruments and medicines were all destroyed. F. C. Heusdens, a Reformed missionary who had taken over the administration of the colony after the departure of Bouwer, was put to death by stoning because he refused to become a Muslim. During the Japanese occupation, March 1942-August 1945, the colony was somewhat restored. In 1948 the government of the new Indonesian Republic also took some care of the colony.


20 [Twintig] jaar arbeid op Donorodjo. Amsterdam: Doopsgezinde Zendingsvereeniging, 1936.

Amstuz, D. Verslagen van het Doopsgezind zendingsveld op Java over de jaren 1940-1947. Amsterdam: Offsetdruk Erla, 1947.

Jaarverslagen 1945-49.

Uit verleden en heden van de Doopsgezinde zending: jubileum-uitgave van de Doopsgezinde Zendings-Vereniging 1847-1947. Amsterdam: Doopsgezinde Zendings-Vereniging, 1947.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Donorodjo (Java, Indonesia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 27 Sep 2020.,_Indonesia)&oldid=119686.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1956). Donorodjo (Java, Indonesia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 September 2020, from,_Indonesia)&oldid=119686.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 85-86. All rights reserved.

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