Winterswijk (Gelderland, Netherlands)

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Winterswijk, a town in the Dutch province of Gelderland (pop. ca. 23,000 with ca. 120 Mennonites in 1959, 29,231 in 2007; coordinates: 51° 58′ 0″ N, 6° 43′ 0″ E), seat of a Mennonite congregation, concerning whose origin there is no exact information. F. C. Fleischer sug­gests that Mennonites living at Winterswijk and sur­roundings because of persecution crossed the border to adjacent Westphalia, Germany, as early as 1543, and settled in Bocholt and other Westphalian towns until they were expelled by a mandate of the bishop of Münster ca. 1610. Then some Mennonites, including the Walien and Willink fam­ilies, settled in Winterswijk. A note in the old Winterswijk church book says that Mennonite meetings started in 1611 in the home of Hindrick Walien at Winterswijk. At least in 1638 there was a Mennonite congregation here, whose membership until the mid­dle of the 19th century was very small, seldom surpassing 30 members. This congregation in the 17th and 18th centuries was called Waterlander, which means simply that it was rather liberal. Whether there was also a second (Flemish?) church at Win­terswijk is questionable. A meetinghouse, still in use, was built in 1711 after meetings had been held for a century in the Walien home.

Mennonite families found at Winterswijk in the 18th century were ten Broeke, ten Gate, Coenders, Coster, Dekkers, Eppenhof(f), Hoedemaker, Hofkes, Nieuwenhuys, Walien (Walyen), Wenkelaar, and Willink, soon after also van Lochem and Paschen. Nearly all these families died out or moved elsewhere in the 19th century or earlier, only the Paschen and Willink families being found here until recent times. Most members of the Winterswijk con­gregation, nearly all engaged in business and manu­facturing, particularly textiles, iron, and brickyard's, were well-to-do in the 18th century. In 1733 and 1736 they contributed 150 and 95 guilders for relief of the Prussian Mennonites.

At first the congregation was served by a preacher chosen from the membership. Harmen Eppenhof, the last of these untrained and unsalaried ministers, served until he died in 1693. From 1700 the church was served by preachers who received some salary and had some training for the ministry, but had no uni­versity or seminary education. The first pastor of Winterswijk trained at the Amsterdam seminary was Pieter van Delden, serving 1786-1800. He was succeeded by A. R. Fink, a former Lutheran pastor, 1802-1834, G. H. van Velsen Coster 1836-1865, A. Snellen 1867-1874, S. Lulofs 1875-1877, P. E. Lugt 1878-1908, F. C. Fleischer 1909-1924, C. C. de Maar 1925-1940, and Miss J. M. Eelman 1942-1955. Since 1956 the congrega­tion has been served by the pastor of Zutphen. The baptized membership, numbering 24 in 1746, was ca. 40 in 1800, 13 in 1847, 19 in 1861, 45 in 1900, 63 in 1926, 76 in 1940, and 150 in 1958. The mem­bers live at Winterswijk and surrounding towns.

Until 1786 the deacons, sometimes called directors, always two, were chosen from the married men. After 1786 unmarried men were also eligible. From 1825 until ca. 1920 there was usually only one deacon, who served for many years. Church activities now (1958) are a ladies' circle and a Sunday school for children.


Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht en Gelderland, 2 vols. Amsterdam: P.N. van Kampen, 1847: II, 49, 205, 233.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1909): 172.

Fleischer, F. C. De Doopsgezinde gemeente te Winters­wijk. n.p., 1911.

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 2344-46.

Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de vereenigde Nederlanden. Amsterdam, 1804: 69.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Winterswijk (Gelderland, Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 Jun 2018.,_Netherlands)&oldid=86174.

APA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Winterswijk (Gelderland, Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2018, from,_Netherlands)&oldid=86174.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 963-964. All rights reserved.

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