Schiedam (Zuid-Holland, Netherlands)

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Schiedam, a city (1956 population 77,500, with about 100 Mennonites; 2006 population 75,464) in the Dutch province of South Holland, near Rotterdam, in which Anabaptists were found as early as 1534. During the winter of 1534-35 Leenaerdt Boeckbinder and Jan Claesz Cock baptized a number of persons here. In September 1535 twenty-five Anabaptists of Schiedam saved their lives by flight. In 1539 Claes Claesz (Snyder), a deacon of the Schiedam congregation, was arrested at Leiden and on 16 November severely tortured at The Hague; he was beheaded at Leiden on 20 December 1539. Claes Willems, a (non-Mennonite) bailiff of Schiedam, was charged in 1545 with having protected the Anabaptists and other heretics in this town. Elder Leenaert Bouwens baptized 14 persons at Schiedam during his visits in 1563-65.

Soon after, at least by 1580, there were three Mennonite congregations at Schiedam, a Flemish, a Frisian, and a High German or Waterlander. Jan Hendriksz, at this time a preacher or elder of the Frisian church, soon after sided with Lubbert Gerritsz and the progressive Young Frisians. The moderate views in his congregation and also in that of the High Germans led to a merger of these two groups, probably as early as 1591, but in any case before 1620. Negotiations opened about 1625 between the Frisian-High German group, now mostly called Waterlanders, and the Flemish with a view to union miscarried. The Flemish congregation, being rather conservative, rejected the offer of the Waterlanders; particularly the Flemish preacher Cornelis Cornelisz Bom van Cranenburgh, who served 1623-1650, opposed the merger. Lambert Lambertsz Paeldinck and Lubbert Wolfertsz (van Vollenhoven) of the Flemish congregation in 1626 signed the Outerman confession. The information by P. J. Twisck (Steven Blaupot ten Cate. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Friesland. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff, 1839: 117) that about 1628 the Flemish Mennonites of Schiedam held their meetings in the same house as the High German or "Overlanders" is not clear, unless he means that the united High German and Frisian congregation, then called Waterlanders, were about this time preparing for this merger, and were using the same meetinghouse for this purpose.

At a conference of conservative Flemish delegates held at Leiden, June 1660, of which T. J. van Braght was the moderator, it was reported that the Flemish congregation had just merged with the Waterlanders (this indeed had happened in 1650) and that the united congregation was inclined to the liberal views of Galenus Abrahamsz.

In the meantime some difficulty arose in the newly united church of Schiedam between a progressive and a more conservative faction. About 1655, the progressives, then in the majority, invited Galenus to preach at Schiedam; but in 1671 after an address of the conservative elder Bastiaen van Weenighem of Rotterdam, the congregation promised to follow the views of the conservative Zonists. A few years later, however (1675), the Schiedam congregation sided with the Galenists or Lamists (as this group was mostly called then), and in this year it joined the Lamist South Holland Sociëteit (conference). During this tumultuous period Jan Huygen van der Linden (d. 1678), who had already been a Waterlander preacher before the merger of 1650, served the congregations until 1677. He was followed by Jan Ariens van Raemburg, a preacher of the Rotterdam Waterlander congregation, who had moved to Schiedam in March 1677, but who died in the course of the year. Thereupon Melis Ates Spinneker, subsidized by the Lamist South Holland conference, was a preacher at Schiedam until his death in December 1681. He was followed by Jan de Jager, serving 1682-c. 90. After de Jager had been dismissed, Petrus van Loon served at Schiedam until about 1705, followed by Jan Arkenbout 1721-22, Dirk van Beek 1721-25, Simon Buys 1726-28, Jan Visser 1728-31, Petrus Plantinus 1731-41, and Hendrik Seije, the last preacher of Schiedam, 1741-47. In 1747 discord arose and he was dismissed; thereupon the few remaining members joined the neighboring Rotterdam congregation.

To this survey can be added a few facts. In 1642 the Mennonites of Schiedam were granted permission to have their marriages performed in their meetinghouses. Concerning these meetinghouses there is not much information. The united congregation used one that had been built shortly after 1610 on the Schie River in the center of the town. This meetinghouse, probably rebuilt at least once, was sold to the Lutherans in 1756. The membership was always small. Figures of early times were not available; in 1675 the united congregation numbered 30 baptized members, in 1745 only 14. From about 1670 it was financially supported by the Rotterdam church and the Lamist church of Amsterdam. Three members of the noted van Vollenhoven family, which later moved to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Haarlem, served the church as deacons; viz., Lubbert Wolfertsz van Vollenhoven, deacon of the Flemish church from 1630, Anthony van Vollenhoven and Koenraad von Vollenhoven, both deacons of the united congregation in 1712-41 and from 1732 respectively. Another Koenraad van Vollenhoven (1611-79), a member of the same family, was a preacher at Schiedam 1636-40, probably of the Frisian-High German congregation. In 1640 he moved to Haarlem.

Jan van der Beest, a Mennonite, was a public notary at Schiedam from 1622, and was exempted by the States of Holland from taking an oath.

In the early 17th century the Collegiants had some warm adherents among the Mennonites of Schiedam. One of them, Pieter Vijgh, was baptized in 1729 "in the manner of the Collegiants," i.e., by immersion. Preacher Hendrik Seije also regularly attended the Collegiant meetings.

The Mennonites now living at Schiedam are members of the Rotterdam congregation.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1863): 130; (1872): 67; (1892): 103, 124, 126 f.; (1893): 81, note 1; (1899): 181; (1918): 50, 52; (1899): 181, where Jan van der Beest is erroneously called N. Beest; (1909): 156-68.

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: v. I, Nos. 206, 216, 220, 225, 321, 445, 564, 582, 593, 601 ff., 781, 907 ff., 1180; v. II, Nos. 1837 f., 2207, 2220-43; v. II, 2, Nos. 358, 428, 465-86.

Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1954: 223, 225.

De Zondagsbode (19 September 1898).

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Schiedam (Zuid-Holland, Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 28 Nov 2022.,_Netherlands)&oldid=126513.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Schiedam (Zuid-Holland, Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 November 2022, from,_Netherlands)&oldid=126513.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 451-452. All rights reserved.

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