Eiderstedt (Nordfriesland, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)

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Eiderstedt, a peninsular district (pop. 29,720 in 1954) in southwest Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Because of lively trade between Eiderstedt and Holland, many Dutch religious refugees, including Davidjorists and Mennonites, found their way to Eiderstedt. As early as 1557 a ducal rescript deals with them. In 1566 five of them were expelled, and in 1588, after futile negotiations, six more. Article II of the Eiderstedt Landrecht (1572, printed in 1573, 1591, 1737, 1794) concerns the Anabaptists, as does also point 6 of the oath imposed upon the Lutheran clergy of Eiderstedt in 1574. The fear of a repetition of the Münster episode, and the envy of the wealth of many of the refugees, played a part in the attitude of the authorities and also in the accusations brought by the people. Some opposition and questioning of the Mennonites and Davidjorists followed in 1596, 1597, 1602, and 1604. Now the Mennonites had an able representative and advocate in Johann Clausen Codt (Coodt), called Rollwagen, who was familiar with the Scriptures and who rendered valuable service in building the dikes by introducing the wheelbarrow. In 1607-1608 a succession of negotiations, cross-examinations, and disputations took place. Even the use of the new Lutheran cemetery in Tönning was not granted until the Mennonites sent a petition to the duke. On the other hand, the duke ordered them to have their infants baptized, upon penalty of expulsion. But it was not enforced; the Mennonites even brought their own preachers from Holland. In 1614 began a new series of complaints, replies, arrests, and cross-examinations. Finally the duke decided that the Mennonites might stay in the country, but must conduct themselves quietly. In 1623 the newly founded Friedrichstadt was opened to them, where they alone were to conduct all religious services for the entire region. Many Mennonites went there; they were freed from the oath, military service, and the obligation to fill public office. In 1642 a Davidjorist trial took place. But for the Mennonites a confirmation, declaration, extension of their privileges was issued in 1645; in 1663 followed a prohibition against making proselytes among the Lutherans.

In the 18th century there were still Mennonites in Eiderstedt, who were generally respected for their quiet industry. In Koldenbüttel and Tetenbüll they were buying so many farms that in 1763 they were required to pay an additional levy to Lutheran preachers and teachers, so that there should be no great loss of income to them. In 1784 a mandate was issued that they must register the birth of their children not only with their preacher in Friedrichstadt, but to keep school and tax records in order, also with the Lutheran preacher of the town, and in 1787 more detailed orders were given concerning their school tax. But then their number declined.

In 1834 there were only four; in 1880, when there were only nine who were not Lutherans or Catholics, there were probably no Mennonites.


Hansen, Reimer. Articles in Schriften des Vereins für schleswig-holsteinische Kirchen-Geschichte. Second series. Kiel, 1897-1903: I-II.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 546 f.

Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: II, 2, No. 863.

Jensen, H. N. A. Versuch einer kirchlichen Statistik des Herzogtums Schleswig. Flensburg, 1840.

Michler, Johann Martin. Kirchliche Statistik der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche der Provinz Schleswig-Holstein. Kiel : Lipsius & Tischer, 1886-: I.

Niemann, A. Handbuch der schleswig-holsteinischen Landeskunde: Topographischer Teil I. Hamburg, 1799: 264, and bibliography cited there; also bibliography of "Friedrichstadt."

Author(s) Ernst Crous
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Crous, Ernst. "Eiderstedt (Nordfriesland, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 24 Sep 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Eiderstedt_(Nordfriesland,_Schleswig-Holstein,_Germany)&oldid=144981.

APA style

Crous, Ernst. (1956). Eiderstedt (Nordfriesland, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 September 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Eiderstedt_(Nordfriesland,_Schleswig-Holstein,_Germany)&oldid=144981.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 169-170. All rights reserved.

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