Grouw (Friesland, Netherlands)
Grouw, a town (population about 3,000 in 1955; 5700 in 2007) in the Dutch province of Friesland, southeast of Leeuwarden, picturesquely situated on a lake, is seat of a Mennonite congregation. This congregation was probably founded about 1560-1570; Leenaert Bouwens baptized 37 persons here in 1563-1565. Of its early history nothing is known. A meetinghouse was built in 1659. In 1696 through the activity of its preacher Jan Claesz (or Klaasz), a more liberal leader, the congregation was divided. The more liberal group, called Jan Claeszvolk and later Waterlanders, was the larger group. This group was in warm sympathy with the Collegiants at Grouw and participated in their meetings. Its members mostly lived in town, being navigators, captains, and steersmen on whaling vessels or Baltic freighters, butter merchants like the Koopmans and Halbertsma families, and clockmakers like the Hoekstra family. The smaller group called themselves Flemish; their members were mostly farmers, living outside of the town of Grouw. They maintained the old practices like silent prayer and were averse to a salaried ministry. The Flemish built a new meetinghouse called the "Kleine" or "Oude Huys"; the Waterlanders kept the former meetinghouse, now called the "Groote" or "Nieuwe Huys." In 1829 the two congregations united; the Kleine Huys was abandoned and the Groote Huys was replaced in 1830 by the present one, which has been built on the same spot and shows the type of the older one, being a hidden church. A pipe organ was acquired in 1872. The number of Mennonites here must formerly have been considerable. The Oude Huys (Flemish) Mennonites at the beginning of the 18th century numbered about 150 baptized members, in 1829, 122; the membership of the Nieuwe Huys (Waterlander) can be estimated at about 320 in 1756, 148 in 1829. These numbers decreased principally because of economic conditions which made many people leave Grouw. In 1839 at the time of the union the membership was 270, in 1861 again increased to 380, reaching its height of 462 in 1889, and then declining: 419 in 1900 and 230 in 1953. Taco Kuiper, who had studied at the Amsterdam Mennonite Seminary, was the first trained minister to serve the (Groote Huys) congregation of Grouw (1790-1799). J. A. van der Ploeg, also trained at Amsterdam, served the Groote Huys from 1802 and the united congregation 1829-1852. With C. Corver, who served as pastor in 1863-1865, modernism (liberalism) entered the congregation. Corver was followed by A. van Gulik 1866-1903, P. Ens 1903-1914, H. G. Berg 1915-1920, F. H. Pasma 1921-1951, and H. R. Keuning 1952- . A new parsonage was built in 1952. Church activities in the mid-1950s were a Bible group, a women's circle, and a youth group.
Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Friesland. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff, 1839: passim.
Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1917): 84-91.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1887): 51, 53, 79; (1896): 160, 164, 171; (1900): 90, 123.
Halbertsma, J. H. De Doopsgezinden en hunne herkamst. Deventer, 1843: 313 f.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 189.
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: II, Nos. 1848-1853.
Pasma, F. H. De Doopsgezinden te Grouw. Grouw, 1930.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 601. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Pasma, F. H. and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Grouw (Friesland, Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/grouw_friesland_netherlands.
APA style: Pasma, F. H. and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1956). Grouw (Friesland, Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/grouw_friesland_netherlands.