The Anabaptists or Mennonites were represented in Utrecht as early as the 1530s. However, they were severely persecuted for their radical views. Later they became more moderate. The Mennonites, like other non-Calvinist Protestant groups and Catholics, were officially banned from practising their religion in public until the late eighteenth century, but the ban was never really enforced. This is why their 'secret' places of worship were gradually made less inconspicuous. The present-day Mennonite Church at Oude Gracht 270 in Utrecht was built in 1772/1773, on the site of the former 'Witte Leeuw' brewery. Some structural elements of the brewery, particularly the side and back walls, were integrated into the church. The facade, however, was entirely new and designed in Louis XVI style. The interior is very plain, in keeping with the Mennonites' religious views. Cabinetmaker Wajon's pulpit is an impressive piece of craftsmanship. The layout of the church, with a central women's section surrounded by the men's pews, is a remnant of the days of persecution, it is said.
Points of interest
Location and route