Doopsgezinde Zendingsraad

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1956 Article

The Doopsgezinde Vereniging tot Evangelieverbreiding (Dutch Mennonite Mission Association) previously called Doopsgezinde Vereeniging tot Verbreiding des Evangelies in de Nederlandsche Overzeesche Bezittingen, (Mennonite Association for the Spread of the Gospel in the Dutch Colonies) was founded on 21 October 1847 as a separate organization. It was preceded however, by the Dutch Section of the (English) Baptist Missionary Society 1821-1847, whose officers (and most members) were Mennonites and took the initiative in setting up the new Mennonite missionary organization. Samuel Muller of the Mennonite seminary was the first president, having been president of the previous Dutch Section, whose entire treasury balance (8,000 guilders) was transferred to the new organization. An attempt (1849) to make the new organization a section of the Dutch Missionary Society of Rotterdam (founded 1797) failed because of the refusal of the Society to permit the nonpractice of infant baptism by the future Mennonite missionaries. This was a fortunate decision in that it permitted the Dutch Mennonites to enlist the support and co-operation of foreign Mennonites (German, Swiss, Russian) which would otherwise have been impossible, and which proved to be so very essential. The Missionary Association, because of the small interest in the congregations which was further hindered by the growth of modernism among the Dutch Mennonites, was from the beginning a private association, with a self-perpetuating board of directors. Besides the contributions of the Dutch Mennonites gifts were soon received from abroad, first from certain Mennonite congregations in GermanyNorden, and Neuwied, followed by Friedrichstadt, Heubuden, and Danzig, then Liebenau and Gnadenfeld in Russia (1854), and later by congregations in the Palatinate. Some contributions were received from the United States, especially from the General Conference Mennonites. (Kaufman, 49, 67, 73, 98, 103-104, 165.) Associate members were later appointed to represent the German and Russian Mennonites who were supporting the work. Then in 1951 a larger European Mennonite Mission Committee was formed to co-ordinate the missionary interests of the various national mission committees (German, French, and Swiss), particularly with a view to the support of the work of the Dutch Association in Java and New Guinea, but the actual administration has always remained fully in the hands of the Dutch organization.

The first mission field to be opened was Java with Pieter Jansz (1820-1904) going out in 1851 (first baptism of 5 converts in 1854) as a teacher. A second and third worker were also sent out with secular occupations, H. C. Klinkert in 1856 and Thomas Doyer in 1857. The first worker to go out as a formally (government-)approved missionary was N. Schuurmans in 1863. The four first missionaries were Dutch, but after the appointment of P. A. Jansz in 1878 (son of P. Jansz) no other missionaries were sent out from Holland to Java, the next' three being Russian Mennonites. After World War I two South-German and one Swiss Mennonite (statistics as to wives were not available) plus two single women missionaries, daughters of a Russian Mennonite missionary, were the only missionaries sent out from Europe. The formal mission work came to an end in 1940 when the mission congregations were organized as an independent Javanese Mennonite Church. The Chinese Mennonite Church in Java, though arising out of contacts with the Dutch missionaries, was always independent. Since it was very difficult to find a way to spread the Gospel among the Moslem Javanese, who by strong religious and social traditions (adat) were very dependent on the dessah (village) communities (in 1877 the number of converts was only 77), P. Jansz suggested (1864) that special agricultural colonies be established, where Christians could live together and make their own communities; but it was not before 1879, that P. A. Jansz, the son of P. Jansz, carried out this idea and founded the colony Margoredjo (Way to Happiness), which was followed by other colonies; this proved to be a success; about 1925 the number of Christians was 4,000. Special attention too was given to medical help and several hospitals and clinics were erected.

The second mission field, Sumatra, was opened by Heinrich Dirks in 1871. In 1928 it was turned over to the German Rheinische Missionsgesellschaft (RMG) at Barmen. All the missionaries (7 men) in Sumatra were Russian Mennonites. The third mission field, called Inanwatan in Dutch New Guinea, was opened in 1950 with the sending out of a Dutch missionary couple, followed by a second couple from Holland in 1953. At the same time, a Dutch missionary (with wife) was sent as Bible teacher to serve in the Javanese Mennonite Bible School, followed by a second Dutch teacher in 1953.

Numerous contacts were established between the Dutch Missionary Association and the United States Mennonites, particularly of the General Conference group, beginning as early as 1868, and in 1921 J. M. Leendertz visited North America in the interests of the Dutch mission work whose financial state was very precarious. Plans to send American workers (e.g., S. S. Haury, in 1888) and to have an American board take over the Sumatra work (1921 ff.) did not materialize.

After World War II interest in the missionary enterprise increased considerably among the Dutch Mennonites, though the hope to make the Missionary Association an official work of the entire Dutch Mennonite Church failed to be realized. The visit of the president of the Javanese Church to Holland (and other European countries) in 1952 in connection with the Mennonite World Conference in Basel had a strong beneficial effect upon the missionary interest and support.

Annual reports (Verslag van den Staat en de Verrigtingen der Doopsgezinde Vereeniging tot Bevordering der Evangelieverbreiding, etc.) have been published in Dutch (1848- ) and in German (Bericht über den Stand and die Thätigkeit der Taufgesinnten Gesellschaft zur Beförderung der Ausbreitung des Evangeliums) for most of these years. A monthly periodical, Evangelie-verbreiding, has been published since 20 August 1949. A centennial booklet was published in 1948, Uit Verleden en heden van de Doopsgezinde Zending, Jubileum­Uitgave van de Doopsgezinde Zendings-Vereniging 1847-1947. HSB

Until 1957 the Dutch Mennonite Mission Association acted apart from the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (ADS), missions being a concern only of missionary friends. But the annual meeting of the ADS on 25 June 1957 resolved to take over the work administered by the Zendingsraad. This means that the foreign missions of the Dutch Mennonites were now the affair of the entire brotherhood. -- WFG

1989 Article

The Doopsgezinde Vereniging tot Evangelieverbreiding joined the Algemene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (ADS; Dutch Mennonite general conference) in 1957 to found the Doopsgezinde Zendingsraad (DZR). Members are named by the ADS, except one who represents the evangelism agency itself. Administrative reasons made the founding of this joint venture desirable.

Considerations influencing the forming of this mission agency were primarily the growing belief that mission was the calling of the entire brotherhood and every congregation, not simply that of certain individuals and friends of mission. The DZR is now the organ through which this concern can find expression. There was also increasing interest abroad, in Java, for broader contact between the Mennonite congregations there and in The Netherlands beyond that provided by mission personnel. A special publication was also requested. The issue was the desire for broader contacts of Dutch congregational members with mission congregation members. This has been realized in the fact that the ADS now supports this work financially rather than having the DZR find the necessary funds alone.

Nevertheless, while there is not one official mission organ in 1990 the average congregation was still not really aware of the work being done and needing to be done. It is clear that mission also includes peace and development work as part of the total program.

The entire work of mission is coordinated by the inter-Mennonite European agency Europäisches Mennonitisches Evangelisationskomitee (EMEK), in which DZR is responsible for contacts with Java. Special Dutch Mennonite projects have included the work of Roelf S. Kuitse in the ecumenical "Islam in Africa" project (1962-1969), the sending of Frits Kuiper as professor to the seminary in Montevideo, Uruguay (1964-1967), and the moral support being given to the pioneer evangelism efforts in Australia. Still, in light of the mission needs on six continents, the DZR has increasingly seen the need for mission also in The Netherlands.

The publication of a separate paper Evangeliever­breiding (Spreading the Gospel) has been terminated and no annual mission reports have been published since 1969. In their place periodic general reports have been published in 1973, 1979, 1982, and 1985. LLau


Mulder, A. "A Century of Mennonite Missions." Mennonite Life 3 (1948): 12-15.

Golterman, W. F. Waarom Zending. S.l: s.n.,1952.

Kaufman, E. G. The Development of the Missionary and Philanthropic Interest among the Mennonites of North America . Berne, IN, 1931.

Jensma, Theodorus Erik. Doopsgezinde Zending in Indonesië. Gravenhage: Boekcentrum 1968.

Golterman, W. F. Tot alle volken DZR. 1959.

Laurense, L. A., G. Hoekema, and L Koopmans. Verder in het spoor van de Geest DZR. 1982.

Laurense, L. A., G. Hoekema, and L Koopmans. Doopsgezinde zending toen, nu, straks DZR. 1983.

Laurense, L. Werven of sterven. Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit, 1985, dealing with evangelization in Dutch Mennonite congregations.

Author(s) Harold S., W. F. Golterman Bender
Leo Laurense
Date Published 1990

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S., W. F. Golterman and Leo Laurense. "Doopsgezinde Zendingsraad." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 18 Jun 2021.

APA style

Bender, Harold S., W. F. Golterman and Leo Laurense. (1990). Doopsgezinde Zendingsraad. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 113-114, v. 4, p. 1024, v. 5, pp. 243-244. All rights reserved.

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