Jacobsz, Jan (1542-1612)

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Jan Jacobsz (Jacobs) was a Dutch Mennonite elder, b. 25 May 1542 at Harlingen, d. 17 July 1612 at Leeuwarden, who founded a group called the Janjacobsgezinden. Jan Jacobsz was a preacher and elder of the Frisian Mennonites. He was appointed to the ministry about 1562, became an elder about 1580. He visited a large number of congregations, always traveling about and until his death preaching and baptizing, sometimes in mortal danger. He was a man of austere principles, requiring that the members of the church avoid the "world" in every way, not marrying outside the group, nor carrying on busi­ness with non-members. In 1589, when the Frisian Mennonites were divided into Zachte Vriezen (Mild Frisians) with Lubbert Gerritsz as leader and Harde or Oude Vriezen (Severe or Old Frisians), Jan Jacobsz was one of the leaders of the latter and in 1599, when a quarrel arose among the Old Frisians he separated with a number of adherents, forming the Janjacobs group, which banned Pieter Jeltjes and his followers. About 1603 he was prob­ably involved in a quarrel with the followers of Tijs Gerrits, which caused a new schism.

In the meanwhile Jan Jacobsz was exiled from Friesland by the government because of his great activity (April 1600); he then turned first to Medemblik, and soon after to Hoorn, where he had many followers. In the course of time he was al­lowed to live in Friesland, though forbidden to preach. When this restriction was lifted in 1611, he and his wife returned to Harlingen, and he again began to travel about. Arriving at Anjum in June 1612, he fell ill and was unable to preach; he went to Leeuwarden, and feeling his end drawing near he called his co-elders for a last farewell, soon after dying at the home of his sister Griet Jacobs at Leeuwarden.

Jan Jacobsz composed 46 hymns, which are found in a songbook published after his death, entitled Eenighe Gheestelijcke Liedekens, gemaeckt aen verscheyden personen door Jan Jacobszoon van Harlingen . . . Ende ten Druck bestelt door P. W. (Amsterdam, Nicolaes Biestkens, 1612). Loosjes's assertion that Jan Jacobsz was a son of Jacob de Heere, or Scheltema, who was born at Aalst, Flan­ders, and that Jan Jacobsz was the Dutch ancestor of the de Heere family has been proved false. His father was Jacob Hayesz, a native of Harlingen where Jan Jacobsz was born.


Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, 10 vols. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: VII, 67 f., 213 ff., 527, 554.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1867): 65; (1876): 30-35; (1889): 6-10; (1894): 31; (1900): 74, 98.

Loosjes, J. "Jan Jacobsz en de Jan Jacobsgezinden." Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis XI, no. 3 (The Hague, 1914): 183-209.

Molhuysen, P. C. and  P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek. v. 1-10. Leiden, 1911-1937: VIII, 911.

Nederland's Patriciaat, XXVII (1941): 218.

Visscher, H. and L. A. van Langeraad. Biographisch Woordenboek von Protestantsche Godgeleerden in Nederland, A-L v. I Utrecht, 1903-: IV, 482-484.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Jacobsz, Jan (1542-1612)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 20 Mar 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Jacobsz,_Jan_(1542-1612)&oldid=121159.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Jacobsz, Jan (1542-1612). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 March 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Jacobsz,_Jan_(1542-1612)&oldid=121159.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 65. All rights reserved.

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