Vlieland (Friesland, Netherlands)

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Vlieland, one of the Dutch North Sea islands, where there was formerly a Mennonite congregation. In the 17th century Westvlieland was a Mennonite cen­ter, with two meetinghouses; but this western part was gradually swallowed up by the sea, and the population moved to Oostvlieland in the early 18th century; the Mennonite congregation was then usually known as Oostvlieland (or Oosterend op't Vlie). There was a Mennonite congregation on Vlieland by ca. 1560. In 1563-65 Leenaert Bouwens baptized 45 persons here and later nine; the martyr Jan Geertsz, of the neighboring island of Texel, executed in 1564, greeted the brethren of Vlieland in his "Testament."

About 1600 there were two congregations on Vlie­land, one Waterlander and one Janjacobsgezinden, to the members of which Jan Jacobsz dedicated the hymn "Aen die Vlielanders," found in Eenighe Gheestelijcke Liedekens (Amster­dam, 1612). The Janjacobsgezinde congregation had a meetinghouse in Westvlieland, and died out be­fore 1705. The Waterlander congregation, though at first larger in membership (129 baptized mem­bers in 1705), was rather poor, and was subsidized by the Rijper Sociëteit, of which it was a member from 1703, and also by the Lamist congre­gation of Amsterdam. Most Mennonites of Vlieland were sailors and captains on the large vessels sailing from Amsterdam and other Zuiderzee ports as far as Denmark, Danzig, and Russia, and in the church books numerous notices are found concerning mem­bers having died at Copenhagen, Danzig, Saint Pe­tersburg, and other distant cities or at sea. Other members of the Vlieland congregation were en­gaged in coastal navigation and herring fishery. During a large part of the year the church meetings were attended largely by women and children, due to the fact that the male members being abroad. As elsewhere in sea­ports, the moral level of the church members was low and discipline more necessary than in most Dutch churches. It was very difficult to find deacons and preachers from their own membership, most of the men being absent for months. Consequently the old men had to serve as deacons and at a rather early date preachers, all untrained, were called from outside: Jan Jacobs Tichelaar, called from Stiens, served 1704/5-d. 1721, followed by Jelte Jeltes Postums 1721-1749, Dirk Jansz Bogert 1751-1761, Aris Dirksz Baas 1762-1769, Hendrik Tijmens 1770-1778, and Adriaan Vrijer 1778-1798. Then the pulpit remained vacant. The membership had rapidly decreased: 129 bap­tized members in 1705, about 80 in 1750, 20 in 1778, and only four in 1808. In 1813 the congregation was dissolved; the property, about 1500 Dutch guilders, was transferred to the Rijper Sociëteit, which also sold the meetinghouse (for 500 guilders) and supported the last member, who died in 1819. In the late 1950s the pastor of the neighboring island of Terschelling was in charge of the few Mennonites living on Vlieland.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1861): 921.

Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1942): 40; (1943): 45 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: v. I, No. 726; v. II, Nos. 915, 1055, 2338 f.; II, 2, Nos. 498a, 498b.

Loosjes, J. "De Doopsgezinde gemeente op Vlieland." Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1912): 76-93.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Vlieland (Friesland, Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 15 Oct 2019. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Vlieland_(Friesland,_Netherlands)&oldid=133729.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Vlieland (Friesland, Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 October 2019, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Vlieland_(Friesland,_Netherlands)&oldid=133729.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 838. All rights reserved.

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