Names Given to the Anabaptists-Mennonites in the Netherlands

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Besides the names used by the Dutch Mennonites themselves like Doopsgezinden and Mennisten; also Menisten, Benisten, Mennonisten, Mennonieten, there were from the very beginning of Anabaptism in the Netherlands a large number of group names. The first Anabaptists called themselves Bondgenooten or Vrienden. By their opponents, both Catholic and Reformed even as late as the 17th century, they were usually called Wederdopers. After the various schisms there were the names Waterlanders, Vlamingen (Flemish), Oude Vlamingen, Groninger Oude Vlamingen, Dantziger Oude Vlamingen, Vriezen (Friezen), Oude or Harde Vriezen, Jonge or Zachte Vriezen, Hoogduitsers (High German Mennonites) or Overlanders, in the 17th century Lamisten and Zonisten, Grove and Fijne Mennisten. Often the names of the different branches or local groups were derived from a leading person: Melchiorieten (from Melchior Hoffman), Davidjoristen (after David Joris), Adamieten (after Adam Pastor), Obbiten (after Obbe Philipsz), Batenburgers (after Jan van Batenburg), Dirckisten (after Dirk Philipsz; the variant Dreckisten is an unkind corruption of the name Dirckisten), Naeldemansvolk (group), Thomas Bintgensvolk, Jacob Keestvolk, Jan Jacobszvolk or Janjacobsgezinden (after Jan Jacobsz), Pieter Jeltjesvolk, Vermeulensvolk (after Jacob Pieters van der Meulen), Robbert Robbertszvolk, fan Evertsvolk, Twisken (after Pieter Jansz Twisck), Uckowallisten (after Uko Walks), Galenisten (after Galenus Abrahamsz), Apostoolsen (after Samuel Apostool), Foppe-Onesvolk, Lausoms-gemeente, Jan Schellingwousvalk.

Stilstaanders, Zierikzeeers, and Neutralisten are the names given to the Mennonites who refused to take sides in the Flemish-Frisian conflict in 1566. Huiskoopers and Contra-Huiskoopers are denominational designations given to some Flemish groups. Bekommerden and Heylsamen are found in Friesland and Danzig. Bevredigden and Afgedeelden are two groups of Mennonites in North Holland in the early 17th century. Meerlanders are Hutterites; Wevers mean the followers of Hans Busschaert de Wever; Franickers or Franekers were Waterlanders, as was also the Nieuwe Gemeente (Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica (BRN) VII, 460, 464 f.); Blaauwe Schuur-Menisten are the Waterlanders at Harlingen and Nes, Ameland; Voetwassers were found in the province of Zeeland, Komejannen, being a branch of the Waterlanders, in North Holland; the meaning of the denominations Hamersch (Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (DB) 1897, 103, note) and Russchers (DB 1877, 34) is unknown. For Tibben, a denomination found in Groningen and Overijssel, see the article. The names Kleyn Hoopken and Allerkleinste Hoopken are names assumed by a few conservative separate congregations who did not want to have any connections with other congregations.

Formerly there circulated also a number of nicknames or contemptuous terms, given to the Mennonites by the non-Mennonite population, or by opposing Mennonite branches. The following are known: Swermers (Schwärmer, fanatics) or Rotgeesten (mobsters) (BRN VII, 238), Winkelpredikers (corner preachers), Dreckwagen (garbage cart), the name given by Leenaert Bouwens to the moderate Waterlanders; Bankroetiers, Borsten tasters, Glerckschen (Clarichen), Sanidtdooperen (BRN VII, 461, called thus after the tumultuous occurrences at 't Zandt), Maliapen (DB 1872, 32), Nieuwe Jeruzalemmers (after Münster, the new Jerusalem), Tibben, Eyckenplancken (DB 1897, 79), Reinen (clean ones), Stroopsilikkers (syrup-lickers), Koekvreters (cake eaters), Sloddermenisten (BRN VII, 20, grubby Mennonites, meaning uncertain), Vuile Goten (DB 1877, 34, dirty gutters; this expression probably was derived from the old doctrine of Incarnation as taught by Melchior Hoffman and Menno Simons, that Christ had passed through Maria as water through a pipe), Olieblokken (DB 1877, 34, obviously after the meetinghouse Den Vlaamschen Oly-Block at Haarlem).

A. Montanus enumerates the following names of the Dutch Mennonites: Mennisten, Huttieten, Hoog-duitschen, Zwitserschen, Apostolischen, Separatisten, Oude en Jonge Friesen, Vlamingen, Voetwasschers, Borstentasters (or Borstenslagers), Hakenen-Oogen, Zwaardgeesten, Stilzwijgenden, Neutralisten, Huiskoopers, Contra-Huiskoopers, Franekers, Gooischen, Zuiveren, Libertisten, Hoterschen, Augustianen, Waterlanders, de Drekwagen, Leonard-Klokschen, Claes-Woltersensvolk, Harde and Slappe Friezen, Collegianten, Hollanders or Pieter-Jansvolk, Afvallige Vlamingen, Groningers or Jan-Lucasvolk, Jacob Pieters Vermolensvolk, Vincent de Hondtsvolk, Hendrik Dirks Apeldoornsvolk, Robbert Robertszvolk, Bevende Broeders. This list obviously is very uncritical; not all "collegianten" were Mennonites, and "Bevende Broeders" apparently were Quakers and not Mennonites.


Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: VII, 20, 238, 460, 461, 464 f.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1872): 32; (1877): 34; (1897): 79, 103, note.

Montanus, A. Kerkelijke Historie van Nederland. 1671: 197.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Names Given to the Anabaptists-Mennonites in the Netherlands." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 11 Apr 2021.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Names Given to the Anabaptists-Mennonites in the Netherlands. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 April 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 808-809. All rights reserved.

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