Pilgrim Fathers Church

Posted on March 6, 2010


Just across the canal from my apartment is a rather plain looking church. The church drew my attention with the chimes the regularly can be heard. The sound of the bells makes me feel like I am in old Europe, it is very pleasant.
The church has a long history, particularly relevant for American visitors. It was the launching point for the Speedwell, the ship that took the Pilgrims to America. The church is a stark white color inside, but there are a variety of interesting stained glass windows. The church was fortunate to escape the bombing during World War 2 that leveled much of the rest of the city. Currently there is a brewery next to the church called “The Pilgrim”.

From the website of the church:
“On July, 21st of 1620 a group of English religious dissenters first living eleven years in Leiden decided to become Pilgrims and cross the wide waters to America, where they might worship God in their own way and still be Englishmen. Their journey started in Delfshaven, in that period leading a prosperous existence as the main harbour of the city of Delft. In that harbour a ship awaited them, the Speedwell, that was bound for America.

According to the chronicles the Pilgrim Fathers knelt down in prayer on the quay near the church, that was later to be named after them, the Pilgrimfathers’ Church.

Historical research shows that US President Barack Obama is descended from the Pilgrim Fathers who left the Dutch town of Leiden in 1620 to found the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts. Mr. Obama is the seventh American president directly descended from the Pilgrim Fathers.

The history of the Pilgrimfathers’ Church goes back as far as 1417, when the Roman-Catholic church of St. Anthony was consecrated on this site.

The oldest known depiction of the church dates from 1512. During the Reformation the church came into Protestant hands and was altered to suit its new function.

The most radical rebuilding took place in 1761. At this time the church was heightened considerably and was given its present facade with the bell-shaped gable. Much later, American visitors gave it its third name: Pilgrimfathers’ Church.”

I find it interesting that there are no longer active services in the church. The only hours posted are for visitors. It looks like the Pilgrims were right to flee, religion has died in much of Europe.

Posted in: Rotterdam