This European heritage tour traces the Anabaptist/Mennonite story through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands. Visits to significant sites will bring to life the stories of Jakob Amman, Martin Luther, Michael Sattler, Pilgram Marpeck, and many other Reformation and Anabaptist leaders. Other tour highlights include: an afternoon cruise on the Rhine River, a visit to the Rijksmuseum, standing in caves where Anabaptists worshipped in secret, visiting Trachselwald Castle, riding a cable-car up a mountain, and visiting the Weierhof, a semi-communal Mennonite village. Experienced tour storyteller Ayold Fanoy will share insights as you travel in these beautiful countries that were so important to our Anabaptist ancestors.
2023 Anabaptist Story in Europe Tour
Wednesday, September 6 Amsterdam (recommended arrival)
Arrival on September 6th is highly recommended, so as to be well-prepared for the day’s activities tomorrow.
Thursday, September 7 Amsterdam
Today, visit Asperen to hear the story of Dirk Willems.
Friday, September 8 Amsterdam
Early this morning, visit the impressive Aalsmeer flower auction where 20 million flowers from around the world are traded daily. Then, experience Amsterdam via a guided city tour. Visit the Singel Mennonite Church. Browse the Rijksmuseum, known for its collection of Dutch Golden Age works, to see pieces by world-renowned artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Jan Steen. Be sure to see the museum’s collection of Mennonite works too! Then climb aboard a boat for a tour of Amsterdam’s canals.
Saturday, September 9 Berlikum
Following an early breakfast, tour the impressive Aalsmeer flower auction where 20 million flowers from around the world are traded daily! Later, visit the charming city of Haarlem. Tour the Corrie Ten Boom House, the former residence of a faithful Christian family who provided refuge for enemies of the Nazis during World War II. Experience Zaanse Schans, a historic Dutch village with traditional Dutch Mennonite houses, working windmills, and artisans crafting things like wooden shoes and cheese. Tonight, enjoy the warm hospitality of your host family in Berlikum.
Sunday, September 10 Münster
Our hosts, who have planned our day, will welcome us to Witmarsum: Menno Simons’ hometown. A visit to the hidden church at Pingjum will also be a feature of today. Later, travel to Münster, Germany and take a walking tour to gain greater insight into the darker times of Anabaptist history. Hear about the violent uprising of radical Anabaptists during the Münster Rebellion. Visit the city museum to see the room of the Anabaptist uprising. See the cages where the bodies of Anabaptist leaders were displayed—the cages which still hang from the St. Lamberti Church tower today.
Monday, September 11 Weierhof
Begin the day in Köln, with a visit to the twin-towered Gothic cathedral. Then drive to the historic town of Boppard where you will relax and enjoy the scenery on a Rhine River cruise. Visit the Weierhof this evening: a semi-communal Mennonite village in the Palatinate, and be introduced to the Weierhof archives.
Tuesday, September 12 Colmar
Worship this morning with the Weierhof congregation. Explore the historic city centre of Colmar on the tourist train. Then drive the famous wine road to the old walled town of Riquewihr, where there will be free time for exploring the quaint town, shopping, and lunch. On a walking tour, remember the sympathetic villagers that hid your Anabaptist forbears at great risk and cost to themselves.
Wednesday, September 13 Emmental
Transfer to the Swiss Jura: a forest-covered ridge with many gorges which made it a favourable refuge location for Anabaptists throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Visit the Bellelay cheese factory for lunch, and see Bellelay Abbey, where some residents converted during the Protestant Reformation. Stop at the Swiss Mennonite archives in Jeanguisboden to peruse historical artifacts like the Froschauer Bible, copies of the Martyrs Mirror, song books, and family trees with well-known Anabaptist family names. End the day with a visit to the Bridge of the Anabaptists: another secret meeting place where you can still see Mennonite inscriptions on the rocks that date back as far as 1633!
Thursday, September 14 Emmental
Visit Trachselwald Castle, a fortress once used to imprison radical Anabaptists, such as Hans Haslibacher. Hear Haslibacher’s story and visit the farm where some of his descendants still live today. Visit traditional Swiss cowbell and Örgeli shops. Stop at the Kambly Cookie factory in Trubsachen for lunch. Take in the stunning view over the Emmental hills and the Alps to reach a typical Swiss homestead in Hinterhutten. Here, see a secret room that once hid Anabaptists on the most wanted list from their pursuers. See the Langnau Mennonite Church, the oldest in the world, and look for familiar names in its cemetery.
Friday, September 15 Emmental
The charming town of Bern is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site. In the morning, take a walk through this quaint town and see the well-known clock tower, cathedral, and illustrious bear park. Reflect at the harbour, where a group of Anabaptists were exiled from Bern. After lunch and free time in Bern, revisit the beautiful Emmental region.
Saturday, September 16 Luzern
Today is a day for the Alps! First, visit the Reformed church in Steffisburg, where you will learn about connections with the Amish. In Lauterbrunnen take the cog train to Mürren, and cable car to Schilthorn. This offers a fantastic and much more impressive mountain sight to the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger. Spend some free time in the mountains where you can enjoy the glorious views over lunch. Descend via cable car to Stechelberg, and explore the area. This evening, enjoy a short walk and dinner in Luzern’s city centre.
Sunday, September 17 Schleitheim
Zürich and its surrounding area are central to the story of how the Anabaptist movement began. This morning, experience a church service at the Gross Münster Zürich, the church of Zwingli and Conrad Grebel. Continue your exploration of old Zürich with an Anabaptist walking tour of sites related to the birth of Anabaptism in 1525. Enjoy an included raclette lunch, a traditional Swiss dish made of melted cheese served with boiled potatoes, pickles, and cured meats. Later, visit a former secret worship site: the Anabaptist Cave at Bäretswil, for worship and reflection.
Monday, September 18 Munich
Today, take a wagon ride up the Anabaptist climb (Täuferstieg) near Schleitheim where the first Anabaptist confession was forged in 1527. Reflect at a unique monument placed in 2004 by Reformed Church leaders as an act of repentance and reconciliation between Anabaptists and their former persecutors. This afternoon, travel to Bavaria to see the famous 19th-century fairytale castle: Neuschwanstein.
Tuesday, September 19 Munich
This morning, spend a sobering but meaningful time at Dachau, one of the notorious concentration camps of World War II. The memorials, film and visual displays will remind us of the atrocities committed. Later, travel to Munich for lunch and afternoon free time in the city centre.
Wednesday, September 20
Depart for home from Munich with new insights and memories that will last for years to come.
Q: How much walking will I do on this tour?
A: This tour is rated as “Active”. Expect up to 2-3 hours of walking each day including well-paced walking tours with regular breaks. Read more about our activity levels here.
Check the pricing page for what is included and excluded in the tour fare.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.