Dutch term – Zoeaaf

A zoeaaf is a zouave, a member of the infantry forces of the Papal states. In the mid 1800s, the Papal states were threatened by forces in Italy who wanted all the states to join under one nation. In 1860, pope Pius IX sent out a call to young unmarried Catholic men to join the infantry force and defend the papacy. The zouave papal … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Familiebijbel

A familiebijbel is a family bible. Some Dutch families recorded births, marriages, and deaths in their bibles. Familiebijbels were not as common in the Netherlands as they were in other parts of the world. Until the 1900s, a large part of the population was illiterate and only richer people were able to create their own records. You rarely see … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gemengd huwelijk

A gemengd huwelijk is a mixed marriage. The term typically refers to two people with different religions, but is sometimes also used for two people of different racial backgrounds. Until recently, many churches would not perform a mixed marriage ceremony and required the other party to convert and promise to raise all their children in that … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Verzuiling

Verzuiling, literally: "pillarization," is the segregation of a society by religion or socio-economic background. By the late 1800s, the Dutch society become increasingly segragated. As a child of Roman Catholic parents, you would not just worship in the Catholic church, but you would also attend a Catholic school, sing in a Roman choir, and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Abdij

An abdij is an abbey. Especially during medieval times, abbeys were important land owners. Many of them owned large estates, farmed by tenants or serfs. In addition, they were often entitled to tithes of several properties, usually a percentage of the proceeds. The archives of these abbeys can sometimes give information about the earliest known … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Protestant was not the Dominant Religion Everywhere

Many people think that the Netherlands was predominantly Protestant or Dutch Reformed, and that Catholics were a minority. While that may have been true for the country as a whole, there are several areas where almost everyone was Catholic. Areas that are predominantly Catholic include: Noord-Brabant Limburg Some parts of Overijssel … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Religion affected more than just the church they attended

Religion did not just determine where people went to church, but also whom they hung out with. It determined where children went to school, what choirs they sang in and what gym clubs they joined. People met their partners in church and formed friendships and family bonds that survived emigration to other countries. See this overview of popular … [Read more...]