Zierikzee (Zeeland, Netherlands)

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Zierikzee, a town on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland in the Dutch province of Zeeland (1947 pop. 6,964, with 13 Mennonites; 2001 pop. 10,313), was formerly the seat of a Mennonite congregation. Both Galenus Abrahamsz and Pieter Cornelisz Plockhoy were natives of Zierikzee. Anabaptism arose here as early as 1534; in 1535 Adriaen Aersen suffered martyrdom at Zierikzee, and on 4 September 1536, four Anabaptists were executed here—Adriaen Jorisse, Pieter Gerritsz, Janneken Mels, and Jan Iansze; Adriaen Cornelisse was executed at Zierikzee in 1537. According to K. Vos all these martyrs were revolutionary Anabaptists. Paulus Harrouts died as a martyr at Zierikzee in 1540. None of these victims were natives of Zierikzee; they had come to spread Anabaptist doctrines. The information found in the sentence of Adriaen Cornelisse that he had conversed with many persons in Zierikzee and distributed "many books, full of great errors and heresies" shows that there was also an evangelical Anabaptist movement among the citizens of Zierikzee. Soon after this a small congregation may have arisen; Leenaert Bouwens baptized only two persons here. But an influx of Mennonite refugees from Flanders, Belgium, c1574 strengthened the Zierikzee congregation. Dirk Andries had shortly before been the last martyr to die at Zierikzee. About 1600 the baptized membership stood at ca 100 and the church was active. In 1567, after the Flemish-Frisian quarrels had seriously harassed the Dutch Mennonite brotherhood, the Zierikzee congregation as an exception refused to side with either the Flemish or the Frisians, preferring "to stand still," i.e., to be neutral. They published the booklet Christelijcke Proeve in 1570 to explain their neutrality, and also to admonish the Flemish and the Frisians to peace and love, insisting on the unity of the church. They were called "Stilstaanders" and were banned by both branches. The broad views and real Christian principles of the Zierikzee church may have been strengthened by Valerius de Schoolmeester, who for half a year in 1564 had lived at Zierikzee. At first the congregation was disturbed by the Reformed pastors, and on 4, 6 and 23 September 1609, religious disputations were held at Zierikzee between a Reformed pastor and the Mennonite elders Cornelis de Kuyper, Jan van der Voort, and Francois de Knuyt. In 1632 Anthonis Cornelisz and Pieter Jansz Timmerman signed the Dordrecht confession in the name of the Zierikzee congregation. In 1664 after the Lammerenkrijgh, it wished to recognize both the Lamists and the Zonists as Christian brethren, though its sympathy was mostly with the Lamists.

Among the membership in the 17th-19th centuries the following family names are found: van der Sluys, Ta(c)k, Kleeuwens, Ammirael, de Blo(c)k, den Boer, van der Kolk, van der Wissel, Hemeryck. Only a few ministers' names have come down: the capable Francois de Knuyt was its elder in the early 17th century; Anthonis (Tonis) Cornelisz Timmerman, obviously his successor, was still active in 1645. Elder Marinus Kleeuwens is named c1700, and the last ministers were Anne Thomassen 1722-d.27, Willem van Gulick 1728-d.61, and Samuel Adriaensz Tack 1765-d.1808. Concerning the membership information is very scarce: in 1750 there were some 50 baptized members, in 1808 only 13. In 1727, 1733, and 1736 the congregation liberally contributed to the relief of the Prussian Mennonites.

After the death of Samuel Tack in 1808 no new pastor was called. For a few years the pastors of Middelburg and Goes held occasional services here. By 1820 the congregation had dissolved.


Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht en Gelderland, 2 vols. Amsterdam: P.N. van Kampen, 1847: v. I, 24, 28 f., 124 f., 192; v. II, 42, 101, 229, 231.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1864): 122; (1876): 67; (1897): 106; (1907): 165, 167, 168, 169; (1912): 36, 38; (1917): 172.

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. 214, 1164, 1175, 1180, 1996; v. II, Nos. 1261, 1267, 2367-91; II, 2, Nos. 578 f., 584, 587, 589, 592, 677.

Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1954: 167, 223f., 316 f., 323.

Meihuizen, H. W. Galenus Abrahamsz. Haarlem, 1954: 5-20.

Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de vereenigde Nederlanden. Amsterdam (1810): 83 f.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Zierikzee (Zeeland, Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zierikzee_(Zeeland,_Netherlands)&oldid=168779.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Zierikzee (Zeeland, Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zierikzee_(Zeeland,_Netherlands)&oldid=168779.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1027. All rights reserved.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.