Vis family

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Vis, a common Dutch family name found in many parts of the Netherlands, both Mennonite and non-Mennonite. A widely ramified Mennonite family, the interrelationships of which have not yet been cleared up, was found in the Zaan district in the province of North Holland in the 17th century. A Mennonite branch at first seems to have lived in Zaandijk, but in the early 17th century was also found at Zaandam; its members spread all over Hol­land in the 19th century.

Gerrit Jansz Vis, of Zaandijk, was a well-to-do merchant and shipowner. In 1728 he was appointed one of the directors (surveyors) of the Dutch Green­land Whaling; though a Mennonite he was chosen as a burgomaster of Zaandijk in 1740.

Waligh Gerrits Vis, d. April 1767, of Zaandam, was a lay preacher of the Frisian congregation (Oude Huys) at West-Zaandam 1714-1766. Among his descendants was Heyme Vis Jr (1826-1914), a factory owner at Zaandam, trustee of the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit in 1895-1902 and member of the church board of Zaandam-Oost for many years. Numerous members of the Vis family have served as deacons at Zaandam, in both the West and Oost congregations, Koog-Zaandijk, Wormerveen, Utrecht, and other places.

The following Vises were all educated at the Am­sterdam Mennonite Seminary and served the church as pastors: Abraham Vis (Zaandam, 1837-Heerenveen, 1911), serving at Mensingeweer 1861-63, Zwolle 1863-66, and Heerenveen 1866-1901. He was a trustee of the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit  1886-1905. Pieter Albert Vis (Workum, 1865-Heelsum, 1940) served at Witmarsum-Pingjum 1890-1891, Beemster 1891-1914, Edam 1914-1918, and Irnsum-Poppingewier 1918-1930. He championed state pensions for the aged (actualized in the Netherlands in 1957) and for many years de­livered addresses and propaganda speeches on the subject. His sermon commemorating his 25 years in the ministry, Gadachtenispreek, was published (n.p., n.d.-1915). Both his sons Pieter and Albert Vis went into the ministry. Pieter Vis (de Beemster, 1893-The Hague, 1942) served at Mensingeweer 1917-1920, Drachten 1920-1926, Arnhem 1926-1938, and The Hague 1938-1942. He was one of the first Dutch Mennonite ministers to promote youth associations and a founder and the first president of the Friese Doopsgezinde Jongeren Bond (1924) and also the first president (1928) of the (general) Doopsgezinde Jongeren Bond. He promoted the forming of groups of catechism classes. He pub­lished some sermons and papers, e.g., his address on "Verschuivingen in het Oorlogsvraagstuk" (Doopsgezind Jaarboekje 1940). His brother Albert Vis (b. 1894 at de Beem­ster) served at Witmarsum-Pingjum 1919-1922, Hee­renveen 1922-1925, Den Burg 1925-1939, and since 1939 at Beverwijk. He obtained his Th.D. degree in 1936 at the University of Amsterdam on the disser­tation (in English) The Messianic Psalm Quotations in the New Testament (Amsterdam, 1936).

Cornelis Vis Jzn (Oudkarspel, 1872-Winschoten, 1952) was a pastor of the congregations of Noordeind van Graft 1896-99, Warga 1899-1906, Noord and Zuid-Zijpe 1906-1909, Kampen 1909-1930, and Winschoten 1930-1939. For many years he was the stimulating secretary of the Association for the Mennonites in the Diaspora (see Verstrooiing). Jan Mari Vis (Amsterdam, 1880-Noordbroek, 1956) served at Noordbroek 1906-1945. In 1924-1945 he also served the congregation of Mensingeweer and 1928-1945 of Middelstum. Besides his ministry he was a practicing lawyer.

Not related to the former branch is the Mennonite Vis family on the island of Terschelling, some of whom have been deacons of the church, Pieter Vis, d. 1927, serving for 40 years, and a Vis family, orig­inally found at Venhuizen, of which Suffridus A. Vis (b. Amsterdam, 1927), serving as pastor at Aardenburg since 1952, is a descendant.


De Zondagsbode XXIV (1910-11): No. 26 f.; XXVIII (1914-15) No. 16.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1894): 154; (1901): 213; (1902): 243.

Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1943): 26-32;  (1953): 13.

Honig, G. J. and J. C. Vis. Geschiedenis en Handboek der Familie Vis. 1899.

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: Inv. II, 2, No. 675.

Lootsma, S. Het Nieutue Huys. Zaandam, 1937: 190, 192.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Vis family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Apr 2021.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Vis family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 April 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 834. All rights reserved.

©1996-2021 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.