Radical Anabaptists Mennonites

History of the Doopsgezinde

A.) History of Early Anabaptism in the Netherlands

Anabaptist communities emerged in the early 1530es, the first execution of an Anabaptist (for heresy) took place in Leeuwarden in Friesland in 1531. In 1534 many Dutch Anabaptists fled persecution in their homeland and played a significant role in the events in Münster in 1534/1535.
The Anabaptists who survived the persecutions of the 1530es and 1540es isolated themselves from the outside world and adopted strict pacifism. In the 1550es, the community split in two groups : the MENNONITES, the Flemish and the Waterlanders (named after the stretch where many of whom originated).

B.) The Doopsgezinde

Following the Anabaptist schism of 1550, the Dutch Anabaptists fractioned into numerous groupings; Amsterdam in 1600 was home to six different communities - the Waterlanders, English, Frisians, Flemish, Upper Germans and the Jan Jacobsgezinden. Most Dutch Anabaptist communities resented the expression "Mennonites", because they regarded it undue personality cult.
When the Batavian Republic introduced Freedom of Religion in 1795, public offices were open to Dutch Anabaptists. In 1811 the various factions merged to form the community of the ALGEMENE DOOPSGEZINDE SOCIETEIT (General Baptism-Minded Society). The Doopsgezinde and their predecessors, were less strict than the Mennonites, disagreeing with them over the treatment of non-compliers. Their communities had been secretive organizations for a long time. The Doopsgezinde had some impact on the emergence of the Baptist community in England, little impact elsewhere. The Dutch Doopsgezinde have given up many of the strict rules of early Anabaptism, such as the strict rejection of the state. They continue to practice adult baptism and refuse to give oaths. In the Netherlands, schooling is mandatory; the Doopsgezinde do not practice home schooling at their own accord. The communities of Doopsgezinde are neither limited to farmers. The census of 1960 counted 64,000 Doopsgezinde in the Netherlands.

Article Mennonites from Catholic Encyclopedia, deals with the Doopsgezinde
Een peertje schonk ze aan haar kind (She presented her child with a pony), by J.C. Karels, on the Exhibition 400 years Anabaptists, in Bijbels Museum, Amsterdam; in Dutch
GAMEO . Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
REFERENCE Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation c.1500-1618, Harlow (Essex): Longman 1998, pp.106-108 KMLA Lib.Sign. 374.06 GB 121

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First posted on January 21st 2003, last revised on November 7th 2006

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