Roleeuw family

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Ro(o)leeuw, a Mennonite family of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Anthony Rooleeuw is found there in 1625 as a deacon of the (Groningen) Old Flemish congregation. But most of the members of the Rooleeuw family were somewhat liberal, and belonged to the Waterlander Toren congregation, and after the merger of this congregation with the Lamist church, in 1668, to the United Lam and Toren congregation.

Isaac Jacobsz, born about 1600 at Amsterdam, was a son of Jacob Theunisz and a brother of Anthoni Jacobsz Roscius and Lambert Jacobsz. He married Itien Reiniersdochter and adopted the family name of Rooleeuw (after the house in which his father lived, which had the sign of a red lion—Roode Leeuw). He had a silk business and was a member of the Waterlander congregation.

Isaac's youngest brother was Jacobus Rooleeuw (ca. 1605-1670), who was a lay preacher of the Waterlanders. The years of his service are uncertain; he is said to have been called to the ministry in 1628, but he was definitely appointed in 1638, in which year he, however, requested some delay. In 1647 and in 1652 he was at any rate actually serving. By trade he was a dyer and cloth merchant. He married Catharina Hooghsaet, usually called Trijn Jacobs, whose portrait was painted by Rembrandt in 1657. Like his father Jacob Theunisz he was a friend of the poet Joost van den Vondel. He seems to have been a man of somewhat advanced ideas.

Some members of the Rooleeuw family served as deacons in the Waterlander congregation and also later in the Lamist church. Among these was Anthony Rooleeuw (died 1700), a son of Isaac Jacobsz and married to Cornelia Block; he was a leading textile merchant; in 1672 he was delegated with three other deacons of the Amsterdam congregation to visit the Swiss refugees in the Palatinate, Germany, to investigate their living conditions. Both he and his wife participated in the Collegiant movement and attended the Collegiant meetings, which were for some time held in his home on the Keizersgracht.

To this family also belonged Abraham Rooleeuw, also a son of Isaac Jacobsz, born ca. 1636 at Amsterdam, died there in 1693, married to Elisabeth van Alderwerelt, of an old Mennonite family. Abraham Rooleeuw, a wealthy man who conducted a textile business, was a member of the Mennonite church, but his sympathies were largely with the Collegiants, whose meetings were for some time held at his house. In 1675 he was one of the founders of the Oranjeappel Collegiant orphanage, to which he contributed a large sum of money.

Reinier Rooleeuw (Amsterdam, 1627-1684), also a son of the above Isaac Jacobsz, unmarried, was a physician at Amsterdam. He was an interested participant in the Collegiant meetings and also promoted the founding of the Oranjeappel orphanage. He is particularly to be mentioned here for a number of his writings, including De Schat der Ziele ofte Begeerden (Amsterdam, 1678; 3d edition 1684), which was illustrated with the oldest known engravings of Jan Luyken, and a songbook entitled Schriftuurlyke Gezangen, gerijmt en op nieuwe Zangwijzen gesteld (four editions, 1681, 1686, 1702, 1725, all at Amsterdam). A number of hymns of this songbook were included in the Mennonite hymnal Liederen en Gezangen (Haarlem, 1713). For the Stichtelyke Rijmen by D. R. Camphuysen, Reinier Rooleeuw composed new melodies (editions Rotterdam 1688, Amsterdam 1690, Rotterdam 1702, 1713, 1737, and 1759; besides these a few editions without place or date of publication). He also translated the New Testament from Greek into Dutch (published after his death, Amsterdam, 1684). Kühler believed that Reinier Rooleeuw was influenced by the Racovian Catechism of the Socinians.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1865): 71.

Kühler, W. J. Het Socinianisme in Nederland. Leiden, 1912: 190-92.

Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 10 vols. Leiden, 1911-1937: v. VII, 1064 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.

Slee, J. C. van. De Rijnsburger Collegianten. Haarlem, 1895.

Wijnman, H, F. "Een drietal portretten van Rembrandt." Amstelodamum Yearbook XXVIII. Amsterdam, 1931: 81-86.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Roleeuw family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 Sep 2020.

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Roleeuw family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 September 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 354-355. All rights reserved.

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