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Franciscan Missionaries in the North of the Dutch Republic (c. 1600–1680)

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Chapter Summary

In the Northern regions of the emerging Dutch Republic, the provinces of Frisia (Friesland) and Groningen and the 'Landscape' of Drenthe, Calvinism became the official and more or less the only fully tolerated religion by the end of the sixteenth century. In Frisia, Calvinism was imposed by the authorities from 1578 onwards, once the mitigating influence of George of Lalaing, Count of Rennenberg was on the wane. Catholic religious services were suspended, monasteries were forced to close down, and provincial ordinations were published that announced the prohibition of the Catholic religion. This chapter draws attention to the role of the Franciscans; because a number of problems and typical features of Catholic missions in these Northern provinces are very clearly visible in their surviving letters and mission reports. Although many historians still see the Jesuits as the proverbial missionary order in confrontation with Protestantism.

Keywords: Calvinism; Catholic religion; Dutch Republic; Franciscans; Protestantism



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