Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Beguinage (Begijnhof) Amsterdam

Hi Dear Folk,

The Begijnhof, in about 1150 a group of women came together to live in a religious community, primarily to look after the sick.  these were, in effect, the first 'Beguines" although the name was not yet used.

The women were not nuns and nor did they live in the seclusion of a convent.  They had no founders nor did they make lifelong vows.  They did have to be unmarried, to make a vow of chastity and to promise obedience to the parish priest, but since they were not expected to make a vow of poverty, they were free to dispose of their own possessions.  They could renounce their vows at any moment and leave the Beguinage, for instance to get married.

The first time the word 'beguines' was used was in an official document of 1307 found in the accounts of the Bailiff of Amstelland.  Another document, dated 31 July 1346, speaks of the Beghijnhuis (house of the Beguines) ceded to them by one Cope van der Laene on St Peter's Eve, in 1393, on 7 August, Albrecht can Beveren (Albert of Bavaria) ratified the regulations of the Beguinage by letter, taking them under his protection and giving a number of rules for those in the Beguinage to observe.   He also stipulated that a woman could only be admitted as a Beguine after she had lived at the Beguinage for at least 18 months.

In 1421 and 1452 much of the Beguinage was destroyed by fire, but rebuilt in brick.

In 1587 almost all of Amsterdam was Roman Catholic 26 May 1578 the Orangist Calvinist took over key magistrate positions in the city and it was strictly forbidden for Roman Catholics to profess their faith, the church in the court yard was handed over to the English and has since then been called The English Church.

Here I am at the entrance to the Begijnhof, with my Vera look as my sister says, of course you know she's referring to the British TV series Vera.

It truly is a little haven in the city, and opens up to this.


1 comment:

  1. I like your "Vera" look. I love little tucked away squares. This one is beautiful and the history very interesting.


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