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Verstrooiing, the Dutch word for Diaspora. The Mennonite congregations are rather thickly scattered in northern and western parts of the Netherlands, but in the east and south they are rather scarce. Mennonites moving to these areas often do not find a Mennonite congregation and remain mem­bers of the congregation of their former homes. In order to keep the contact with these "Verstrooiden" (dispersed members), Pastor W. van der Hoek of Kromwal in 1849 asked the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (ADS) to provide care for the Mennonites in the Diaspora, but the ADS did not accept the suggestion at this time, considering this area outside its realm. The Haarlemsche Vereeniging, founded in 1860, discussed this problem in its meeting of 1864, but adopted no special measures. The matter was dropped until the 1892 meeting of the Zwolsche Vereeniging, when Pastor Tj. Kielstra brought up the subject again. Thereupon a commit­tee was appointed to study the matter. The 1894 annual meeting of the Zwolsche Vereeniging re­solved to pass the matter to the Haarlemsche Ver­eeniging. Through the perseverance of Kielstra, a committee was set up by the Haarlemsche Ver­eeniging. In the summer of 1897 W. J. van Douwen, pastor at Almelo, and F. C. Fleischer, pastor of Broek op Langendijk, visited a large number of scattered Mennonites. They were called bezoekleraren (similar to Reiseprediger in Germany, Al­sace, and Switzerland). This work has been con­tinued until the present time. Especially Kielstra and later Cornelis Vis Jzn should be men­tioned as the stimulators of this work. The com­mittee appointed by the Haarlemsche Vereeniging developed in 1905 into an independent association (Vereeniging ter behartiging van de godsdienstige belangen der Doopsgezinde Broeders en Zusters in de verstrooiing). In 1925 the ADS took over this activity, and the association was dissolved. At pres­ent (1958) ten visiting ministers visit the Men­nonites in the Diaspora, who thus receive a pastoral visit at least once a year.

On behalf of these Mennonites the Committee, the Association, and the ADS have published a number of booklets, No. 1 being published in 1897 and No. 61, the last, in 1941. These Geschrijtjes ten behoeve van de Doopsgezinden in de Verstrooiing contain reports, sermons, and particularly papers on Mennonite history.


Annual reports in the Zondagsbode.

Annual reports of the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit since 1925.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1893): 124; (1894): 73-75, 113; (1895): 144.

Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1907): 56-63.

Geschriftjes t. b. v. de Doopsgezinden in de Verstrooiing. Nos. 34 and 42.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Verstrooiing." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 26 Mar 2023.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Verstrooiing. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 March 2023, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 818. All rights reserved.

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