Lier (Antwerp, Belgium)

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Lier (Lierre), a city (1950 pop. 29,136; 2006 pop. 33,272) in the Belgian province of Antwerp (formerly Brabant), not far from the city of Antwerp, important in the 15th and 16th centuries for its many looms. It served as a refuge to the exiled Danish King Christian II and his wife who espoused the Lutheran faith. Christian was suspected of connections with the Lutherans at Antwerp. His servants held Protestant meetings and made proselytes. His quartermaster Willem van Zwolle refused to recant his evangelical faith and was executed by burning at Mechelen on 20 October 1529.

For a long time nothing is heard of the innovations in Lier. In January 1550 or 1551 (Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica II, 246, 569) four persons were taken prisoner on the charge of holding conventicles. They were Govert Mertens, a street-maker of Maastricht, about 33 years of age; Marie Vlaminx of St. Truijen, 75 years old; Anneken (Tanneken) van Roosbroecke, about 34 years old; and Gielis van Aerde, a weaver, 32 years old. Anneken and Gielis were born at Lier. On 30 January they were examined. They freely and valiantly confessed that they had been baptized on their faith, and rejected the offer of mercy. They spent their last night in prison singing psalms. In the morning they were burned on the market square. Among the spectators Govert discovered some brethren and encouraged them with a few words. The executioner of Antwerp had been called to put them to death. A song in commemoration of their death was written by Hans van Overdam, and is found in Het Offer des Heeren. The other Anabaptists evidently fled after these executions. Some were betrayed and seized at GhentJoris, Wouter, Grietken, and Naentken, all of Lier—and burned in 1551.


Bergmann, A. Geschichte der Stad Lier. Lier, 1873: 174-178, 200-204, 216-233.

Dit Boec wort genoemt: Het Offer des Heeren, om het inhout van sommighe opgheofferde kinderen Godts . . . N.p., 1570: 568-577. Available in full electronic text at:

Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: II, 246, 569.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 654.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Lier (Antwerp, Belgium)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 24 Oct 2021.,_Belgium)&oldid=162734.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Lier (Antwerp, Belgium). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 October 2021, from,_Belgium)&oldid=162734.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 341-342. All rights reserved.

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