Meenen (West-Vlaanderen, Belgium)
Meenen (Menin), a town in West Flanders, Belgium, was the center of Anabaptist-Mennonite activity in the 16th century. There was a congregation from at least 1545. Leenaert Bouwens baptized 26 persons here in 1554-1556 and in 1577-1561 another 21 (or perhaps 46). About this time Joris Wippe (he was not a burgomaster of Meenen, as has been supposed), who was executed at Dordrecht, Holland, in 1558, was a member of the congregation, as was also Leenaert Plovier, a cloth merchant, executed at Antwerp in 1560. Pieter van der Meersch was a preacher of the Meenen congregation until 1564; Jacob de Keersgieter (de Rore) baptized here about 1566. Since baptism was still performed at Meenen in 1578, it is probable that the congregation existed at least until this time. The Meenen congregation was often struck by severe persecution, particularly in 1561 and 1569, while in 1567 during a raid a number of Mennonites escaped; their property, however, was confiscated. Eight Mennonites arrested here were executed at Kortrijk in 1569: Absolon de Zanger and Willem van Haverbeke in 1561, and Pieter den Ouden, Fransoois de Timmerman, Jan van Raes, Jan Wattier, Wouter Denijs, and Kalleken, the wife of Anpleunis van den Berge. A number of Anabaptists of Meenen suffered martyrdom in other Belgian towns, particularly at Ghent and Antwerp. This indicates that there must have been a rather strong Anabaptist-Mennonite movement at Meenen. In 1578 (or 79) the martyr Michiel Buyse was baptized at Meenen.
About 1581 the remaining members of the congregation fled to the Netherlands. Some of them, e.g., the Apostool and the van der Meersch families, emigrated to Haarlem, Holland, where they founded important weaving mills and linen bleacheries.
Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: 439.
Verheyden, A. L. E. "Mennisme in Vlaanderen." Unpublished manuscript.
Verheyden, A. L. E. Het Gentsche Martyrologium (1530-1595). Brugge: De Tempel, 1946: 68, note 1.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 556. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Meenen (West-Vlaanderen, Belgium)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M4445.html.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1957). Meenen (West-Vlaanderen, Belgium). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M4445.html.