Willink family

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Willink, a widely ramified Dutch Mennonite family which took its name from the farm "Het Willink" near Winterswijk in the Dutch province of Gelderland, where they were living in the 16th century; but originally this family probably stemmed from Westphalia, Germany, where it was found in the towns of Vreden, Bocholt, and Burgsteinfurt until the 17th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries there were both a Mennonite and a Reformed branch.

Jan Willink, b. ca. 1561, married in 1591 to Judith Busschers (both probably Mennonites), lived at Groenlo in Gelderland. They died in 1636 of the plague. Soon afterward the Willinks, who were textile manufacturers, were members of the Winters­wijk Mennonite congregation, where many of them have been deacons; Berend Willink was an untrained preacher of this church 1693-1700. In the 17th and 18th centuries some Willinks lived at Deventer, where Ananias Willink was a lay preach­er ca. 1670, and in Enschede and other Dutch towns. A branch of this family is found at Amsterdam from ca. 1650, engaged as linen merchants and later as bank­ers. Another branch is found in Hamburg, Ger­many, from 1734; Lucas Willink was a deacon of the Mennonite congregation here in the early 19th century. Later this Hamburg branch joined the Lutherans. In Amsterdam the Willinks were most­ly members and often deacons of the Lamist congregation; the first of these deacons was the merchant Gerrit Willink (1618-79), serving from 1656. Jan Willink was a lay preacher in this church 1675-d. 1725. A few Willinks at Amsterdam were members of the Zonist congregation.

Jan Ananiasz Willink (Amsterdam, 1751-1827), a deacon of the Lamist and later of the United congregation, was a cofounder of the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (ADS) and a trustee 1811-1827. His cousins Willem Willink (1750-1841) and Jan Willink (1778-1827) were trus­tees of the ADS, in 1811-1818 and 1819-1827. Ananias Willink Jansz (Amsterdam, 1778-1863), director of the Dutch State Bank, was treasurer of the ADS and curator of its seminary 1827-1847.

Jan Jansz Willink (1676-1722), a wine merchant of Amsterdam and deacon of the Lamist church, was an active member and secretary of the Dutch Mennonite Committee for Foreign Needs. In De­cember 1710 he and Cornelis Beets contacted Fran­cois Fagel and the Dutch States-General in behalf of the oppressed Swiss Mennonites. He was also a poet, highly esteemed during his lifetime, now forgotten, who published a number of volumes of poetry, e.g., Bloemkrans van christelijke liefdeen zeededichten (Amsterdam, 1714, repr. ibid. 1723), Lusthof van christelijke dank -en beedezangen (2 vv., Amsterdam, 1714, repr. n.d.-1720, 1726), and Christelijke Gebeden (Amsterdam, 1718, many reprints). Anthony Francois Willink (Amsterdam, 1825-92), also a trustee of the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit, was for many years the president of the Dutch Mennonite Mission Associa­tion.  (See also Tjeenk Willink.) By the mid 1950s there were only a few Mennonite Wil­links in Holland.


Beets, P. Stamboek der Willingen. Deventer, 1767.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1893): 107; (1897): 41 f.; (1909): 139, 144; (1912): 111 f.; (1919): 65.

Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1850): 143.

Fleischer, F. C. De Doopsgeunde Gemeente te Winterswijh. Winterswijk, 1911: 7, 8, 20, 21, 29, 30 et passim.

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: I, Nos. 1294, 1327.

Molhuysen, P. C. and  P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 10 vols. Leiden, 1911-1937: 1463-65.

Nederland's Patriciaat XXVIII (1942): 349-64; ibid.; XXXVI (1950): 368-78.

Roosen, B. C. Geschichte der Mennoniten-Gemeinde zu Hamburg und Altona, II. Hamburg, 1887: 81, 85.

Willink, F. Stamboek der Willingen . . . Amsterdam, 1721.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Willink family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 10 Aug 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Willink_family&oldid=139687.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Willink family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 10 August 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Willink_family&oldid=139687.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 957-958. All rights reserved.

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