Wormerveer (Noord-Holland, Netherlands)
Wormerveer, an industrial town in the Dutch province of North Holland on the Zaan River (population ca. 12,000, with ca. 500 Mennonites in 1959; ca. 10,420 in 2005; coordinates: 52° 29′ 45″ N, 4° 47′ 0″ E), the seat of a Mennonite congregation, concerning the origin of which there is no information. At the end of the 16th century there were at Wormerveer two Mennonite congregations, a Waterlander, generally called Wormerveer op't Noord, and a Frisian, usually called Wormerveer op't Zuid.
1. Concerning the early history of the North congregation (op't Noord) there is only sparse information. It was represented at the Waterlander conference at Amsterdam in 1647. It was a member of the Waterlander (Rijper) Societeit and joined the Zonist conference ca. 1674. At this time a severe dispute arose in this church between a more conservative part which stressed the confession of faith and opposing Collegiantism , and a more progressive part which favored Collegiant views and practices. This dispute lasted from ca. l669 for more than ten years; even the intervention of the Court of Holland in 1674 and 1678 did not clear away the dissensions. Finally Galenus Abrahamsz in 1681 succeeded in restoring peace. The booklet De Quynende Kercke der Waterlandse Doopsgesinde tot Wormer-veer (Amsterdam, 1677), though somewhat partial, relates the background of this conflict. After the quarrel was settled, the North congregation, or at least its ministers, remained rather conservative; this was the hotbed of new dissensions in the following three decades. At first the membership must have been very numerous; in 1675 it still numbered 300. But gradually a number of more progressive members joined the Wormerveer Frisian church.
The North congregation was served by lay preachers, at first chosen from the membership, later called from outside, the last of whom were Albert Vrijer, serving 1770-1798, and Klaas Schermer 1800-1849. The first salaried minister educated at the Amsterdam seminary to serve here was J. W. Straatman, serving 1849-1850, followed by G. ten Cate 1851-1858, A. J. Bijl 1861-1862, J. H. van der Veen 1863-1866, and G. Kool 1866-1899. In 1899, the pulpit being vacant, it was resolved to merge with the Wormerveer South (op't Zuid) congregation, then also vacant. On Sunday 22 August 1899, the last service was held in the meetinghouse of the North congregation. At this time the membership was 56 (78 in 1847, 70 in 1861). Previous attempts at unification of the two congregations in 1725, 1789, and 1863 had failed.
2. The South congregation (op't Zuid; Frisian), a member of the Frisian Conference of North Holland, was in the 17th century much smaller in membership than the Waterlander congregation. In the late 16th and the early 17th centuries it was more conservative than the North church. The ban was maintained more strictly, outside marriages were unknown, and its members were opposed to serving in public offices; for example, in 1626 Pieter Jansen was fined for refusing to accept the office of sheriff; in 1628 two other brethren of the church refused to be members of the town council. But in course of time the congregation, which consisted largely of rather well-to-do businessmen, and which was led by capable ministers and deacons, grew more progressive and more liberal than the North church, though no member of the South congregation held a public office before 1796. Whereas in the Waterlander congregation only a few members participated in the Collegiant meetings, many outstanding members of the South church were ardent Collegiants, including the preacher Dirck Jacobs Kipper (1655-1734) and particularly Jan Gerritsz Schenk (d. 1760), who from 1726 often performed baptism at the Collegiant center at Rijnsburg , and made a bequest of 40,000 guilders to the Collegiants. He also had the large masonry baptismal tub at Rijnsburg made at his expense. The gift of 2,305 guilders collected in 1673 for the national needs during wartime bears testimony to the importance of the congregation and the wealth of its members, who in 1727, 1733, and 1736 contributed 184 guilders, 337 guilders, and 1,650 guilders to the needs of the Prussian Mennonites.
Until 1764 the congregation was served by unsalaried and untrained preachers, including some capable and influential men like Dirck Gerritsz (1565-1626), founder of the paper industry on the Zaan, his son Jacob Dirks (1615-1689), and his grandson Dirk Jacobsz Kipper (1655-1734), cheese merchants, Pieter Jansz van den Busch (d. 1698), and Gerrit Blaauw, serving 1726-1780. The first salaried minister was Bernardus Doornbosch , serving 1764-1780; he was a beloved preacher, but his moral conduct was not above reproach and so he was dismissed. He was followed by Arent van Groenou 1780-1791, Leendert Klein, who was the first pastor in this congregation trained at the Amsterdam seminary, serving at Wormerveer 1791-1826, followed by Jan Gerrit Boekenoogen 1827-63, Simon Gorter 1863-70, Jer. de Vries 1870-1872, I. J. le Cosquino de Bussy 1872-1878, I. H. Boeke 1878-1884, P. K. Bijl 1886-1888, H. van Cleeff 1889-1896, and B. P. Plantinga 1897-1898.
The membership of the South congregation was 167 in 1761, 229 in 1794, 193 in 1847, 223 in 1861, and 360 in 1898.
3. The (united) Mennonite congregation of Wormerveer started in September 1899 with 460 baptized members. The membership numbered 475 in 1933, 355 in 1958. Pastors were A. K. Kuiper 1899-1901, H. Britzel 1902-38, P. van der Meulen 1938-47, and P. J. Smidts since 1947. The present meetinghouse is that of the former South congregation, built in 1831 (organ of 1855). The Wormerveer congregation is the only Dutch congregation that published a weekly paper: Ons Doopsgezind Krantje appeared from 6 September 1913, until World War II. Church activities are a church choir, ladies' circle, youth group 18-25, youth group Elfregi, Sunday school for children. From 1 September 1934, until 1947 the pastor of Wormerveer was also in charge of the congregation of Knollendam.
The Mennonites have played an important part in the life and economic growth of the town. In the 16th century Wormerveer was but a small hamlet. In 1613 the population numbered only about 450 souls, in 1638 about 800, and only a small percentage of them were not Mennonites. At present Wormerveer has a considerable industry (oil, soap, oats, iour, rice, cocoa, paper, dyes, chlorine; shipbuilding). In most of these industries the Mennonites until recent times were leading. Many old families which were formerly found among the Wormerveer Mennonites, such as Blaaum, Schenk, Laan, Prins, Keen, Vas, Ris, Boekenoogen, Koekebakker, van Gelder, Groot, Lely, and Volger, have died out or left the town. Of the old Mennonite families at present only Aten, Dekker, and Vis are found among the members of Wormerveer.
Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht en Gelderland, 2 vols. Amsterdam: P.N. van Kampen, 1847: I, 212, 251, 271, 348; II, 194, 197, 201, 204, 232.
Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1837): 18.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1861): 164f.; (1882): 114; (1883): 72; (1899): 213; (1901): 15; (1918): 146.
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. 447, 900-5; II, Nos. 2357 t, 2359; II, 2, No. 672.
van Slee, J. C. De Rijnsburger Collegianten. The Hague, 1896: 196-200.
De Zondagsbode XLIV (1930-31): No. 52.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 982-983. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Wormerveer (Noord-Holland, Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wormerveer_noord_holland_netherlands.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Wormerveer (Noord-Holland, Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wormerveer_noord_holland_netherlands.