The Netherlands, also known as Holland, comprises 12 provinces, including those of North and South Holland. Dutch is the official language of this constitutional monarchy, located on the northwestern boundaries of Europe, although Frisian is also spoken in the northern provinces. In 1998 the population was approximately 16 million. Although many thousands have joined the Church in the Netherlands over the years, significant numbers immigrated to America.
Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Jewish rabbis in Rotterdam and Amsterdam in 1841 en route to his mission in the Holy Land. His brochure “A Message to the Hebrews” was translated into Dutch.
Full-time missionary work began on 5 August 1861 with the arrival of two missionaries, Paul August Schettler and Anne Wiegers van der Woude. The first baptisms took place in Friesland on 1 October 1861. In 1936 a monument commemorating this event was erected near the site in Broeksterwoude. The first branch was organized in Amsterdam in 1862. The Book of Mormon was translated in 1890, and six years later the Dutch magazine, De Ster, began publication.
Missionary work began under the Swiss-Italian-German Mission, but on 1 November 1864 the Netherlands Mission was organized. To reflect the mission’s labors with the Flemish-speaking people of northern Belgium, the name was changed on 31 January 1891 to the Netherlands-Belgium Mission. The name reverted to the Netherlands Mission on 15 May 1914, although missionary work continued in Flanders. On 10 June 1974 the First Presidency designated the name Netherlands Amsterdam Mission.
One of the most noteworthy events of the Church in the Netherlands was the magnanimous outpouring of love by Dutch Saints following World War II. In 1947 they grew and shipped 75 tons of potatoes to suffering German Saints, and the following year they sent another 90 tons of potatoes and 9 tons of herring. In 1953 President David O. McKay visited Queen Juliana in her palace, and two years later, August 1955, the Church was given official recognition in the land.
On 12 March 1961, the first non-English-speaking stake of the entire Church was organized in The Hague, South Holland, with J. Paul Jongkees as president. Initially called the Holland Stake, it was later changed to The Hague Netherlands Stake. The Apeldoorn and Rotterdam Stakes now encompass the rest of the country, with the exception of several Church units in southern Netherlands, which are part of the Antwerpen Belgium Stake.
In August 1999 the Church announced the construction of The Hague Netherlands Temple. By the beginning of the year 2000, there were 7,627 Church members living in three stakes and 43 wards and branches.
Among prominent Church leaders with connections to the Netherlands are native-born Elder Jacob de Jager, emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Alonzo A. Hinckley, Sylvester Q. Cannon, and LeGrand Richards, who served as missionaries in the Netherlands and were later called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 16,407,000; Members, 8,286; Stakes, 3; Wards, 19; Branches, 16; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, .05, or one in 2,027; Source: 2007 Church Almanac.]
Lyon, T. Edgar. “Landmarks in the Netherlands Mission.” Improvement Era 39 (September 1936): 546-47, 573.
1995-1996 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1994. 263-65.
Tobler, Douglas F., Barton W. Marcois, and J. L. W. van Langendijk. “Geschiedenis van de Mormoonse Kerk in Nederland en Vlaanderen.” Horizon (March 1982): 46-55; (July 1982): 48-55; (September 1982): 51-56; (March 1983): 47-53; (May 1983): 50-57; (September 1983): 53-60.
Warner, Keith C. History of the Netherlands Mission. Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1967.
HOYT W. BREWSTER Jr.
From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 833-34. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.