European Family Heritage Adventure DAY 1

Our group of 12 Canadian and American travellers arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Our first stop was Asperen, Netherlands where we learned about the Dirk Willems story. Dirk Willems was an Anabaptist martyr, who in 1569 was arrested by Catholic authorities and held in a castle prison for 5 weeks. He managed to escape using a rope of knotted rags, and even cross a frozen pond unharmed. But, when he saw the guard pursuing him fall into the icy water behind him, Willems stopped to save his enemy. It was because of this act of compassion that Willems was ultimately killed, as he was recaptured and later burned at the stake for his beliefs.

Some of us climbed the 200 steps to the top of the church tower where Willems was held in the days before his execution. Looking out over the land, we could see the river where Willems was taken to be burned.


– Joyce Yoder

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