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26 BULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION FRIENDS IN HOLLAND IN THE LATER TWENTIETH CENTURY By Jim Lieftinck IN 1829 died the last Quaker in Holland, whose name was John Mollet. In 1928 there was a new rise of Quakerism in Holland. The gap between does not show any Quaker life at all. Yet between John Mollet and the rise in 1928 there are connections. I will not tell about the Quakerism of the seventeenth, eighteenth , and nineteenth centuries in the Netherlands; that can be found and more fully and more adequately in the old annals ; but I will give a short survey of present Quaker life in Holland, since 1928. It was at a gathering of old Woodbrookers in the Hague, in October 1928, that two of them invited my wife and me to share with them in the experiment of adopting a devotional meeting for worship after the manner of Friends, in Amsterdam, as all of us four were living in Amsterdam. The first meeting would take place in the room of an English Quaker lady, who lived in Amsterdam also. We gladly accepted the invitation, as we had such deep and rich remembrances of those meetings at the time we were at Woodbrooke, where we had first made acquaintance with Quaker thought. After the first meeting we decided to continue the experiment ; and gradually there came also more attenders, being invited by some of our little group. Some of these had also attended the meetings at Bilthoven of the Kees Boeke movement, the members of which were scattered since the movement had died out; and much of their life inspired our young group. These were the two main sources by which the group was fed in the beginning. In another way, or rather many other ways, the soil had been prepared by Woodbrooke, already long before. In 1908 the movement Woodbrookers in Holland was established by a number of old Woodbrookers, and the thoughts and ideas brought by this society spread also among other denominations in Holland, the orthodox as well as the liberal Christians ; though there had not been any group before that felt the need of adopting a Quaker FRIENDS IN HOLLAND27 life. We felt that the necessary spread of Quaker thought and practice could only be produced, if there were adopted a well marked Quaker life. We were rather conscious of that. In our second year, after having come together regularly every fortnight at the ordinary Dutch Church time, Sunday morning, we invited Carl Heath to be with us and give a series of lectures in different places for different sort of people. These meetings were, though not crowded, well attended and gave a new strong stimulus to our young group; and it was also on his instigation that we decided to form and to establish ourselves as an independent Yearly Meeting, which gave us a feeling of stronger responsibility. Meanwhile there had come a meeting in the Hague also, where some other old Woodbrookers gathered together for devotional worship on Sunday morning; and we held our first Yearly Meeting in Bilthoven. GRADUALLY but slowly we grew ; we began to publish our meetings for worship in the press, but we felt that greater publicity should be avoided, as we had to grow into the depths of religious experience ourselves first, before we could be strong enough to be adequate publishers of our message. In Amsterdam we had meanwhile moved to another place of worship. It was to the little school "Amsterdam's Welvaren" in the Berenstraat, well known to many foreign Friends, specially to those who were in Amsterdam for the International Friends' Conference in 1932. This little school, an infants' school, now used under the auspices of the Dutch Reformed Church, was first established in 1829, the year of John Mollet's death. It was he who, having visited England and seen Quaker schools of that type there, wanted to erect such institutions in Holland as well. There were however no funds and so he applied to London Yearly Meeting, and found out that there were still funds deposited by the late John Warder, an English Friend who had received insurance money for a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 26-29
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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