In the Dutch province of Utrecht early Anabaptism had a smaller following than in some other Dutch provinces like North Holland and Friesland. In the southwest part of the province around IJsselstein and Benschop there was in 1534-44 a live movement of more or less Münsterite character, which was permitted to develop by the tolerant attitude of Ghysbrecht van Baeck, district governor of IJsselstein, whose wife Elsa van Lostadt even belonged to the Anabaptists. In the cities of Utrecht and Amersfoort Anabaptist activity during the 16th century was not very strong. The puzzling information by V. P. in Successio Anabaptistica that about 1535 the Anabaptists of Utrecht set up "a king" obviously does not refer to the town of Utrecht but rather to Benschop.
The present province of Utrecht belonged to the territory of the Catholic bishop of Utrecht until 1528, when Emperor Charles V attached it to his dominions. In 1577 Utrecht broke away from Spanish tyranny and joined the United Provinces of the Netherlands, then governed by William of Orange. About this time Calvinism became predominant in the province and the Mennonites were no longer persecuted. The relative smallness of the Mennonite congregations in this province may have made the Calvinists of Utrecht more tolerant than they were elsewhere.
In the early 17th century there were in the province, besides Utrecht city, Mennonite congregations at Amersfoort, Bunschoten, Spakenburg, Maarseveen, and Veenendaal, all of which died out in the 17th-18th centuries; from 1754 to 1923 the congregation in the city of Utrecht was the only one in this province.
According to the official census there were in this province 340 Mennonites in 1859, 1,088 in 1899, and 2,912 in 1947. The total number of baptized members of the Mennonite church in the province of Utrecht was 100 in 1847, 553 in 1900, and 1,337 in 1958.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1863): 94-103.
Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1954: 231-41.
Scheffer, Hoop and 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. 263, 269, 402, 402a, 408.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 792. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Utrecht (Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/U85.html.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Utrecht (Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/U85.html.