When: May 19—Jun 03
Tour Style:
Activity Level:

Celebrate 500: Classic Anabaptist European Tour

On this commemorative Anabaptist heritage tour in Europe, visit significant sites that will bring to life the stories of Menno Simons, Jacob Hutter, Pilgram Marpeck, Dirk Willems, Jakob Amman, and other important Anabaptist leaders. See the historic Dutch village of Zaanse Schans, take a cable car up Stockhorn mountain, reflect in a cave where Anabaptists worshipped in secret, and stay in the homes of hospitable locals in Menno Simons’ hometown, Witmarsum. Along the way, experience the cultural richness that the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Austria have to offer. Connect past to present by joining Anabaptists from around the world at a 500th anniversary celebration of the first adult baptisms in Zürich, organized by Mennonite World Conference. Experienced tour leader and former Hesston College Professor John Sharp will guide you on this journey of discovery and fellowship.

At A Glance


  • May 19 – June 3, 2025
  • 16 Days

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Itinerary

May 18     (pre-tour)
We suggest arriving a day early to help your body adjust to the time change.

May 19    Alphen aan den Rijn   B, D
Arrive in Amsterdam by 10:00 AM and meet your fellow travellers. In the afternoon, visit Zaanse Schans, a historic Dutch village with traditional Dutch Mennonite houses, working windmills, and artisans crafting things like wooden shoes and cheese. Finish the day’s explorations with a visit to Asperen to hear the story of Dirk Willems.

May 20    Alphen aan den Rijn  B, D
Following an early breakfast, tour the impressive Aalsmeer flower auction where 20 million flowers from around the world are traded daily! 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! Visit the Singel Mennonite Church and Dam Square. Then climb aboard a river boat for a leisurely tour of Amsterdam’s canals.

May 21    Witmarsum   B, D
Cross the 22-mile Afsluitdijk to Friesland to learn about the Menno Simons story. 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. Tonight, enjoy the warm hospitality of your host family in/around Witmarsum.

May 22     Münster   B, D
Over breakfast, say goodbye to your new friends at Witmarsum. During some free time, enjoy a canal cruise or stroll the streets of Giethoorn, a charming town known as the “Venice of the Netherlands”. 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.

May 23    Worms   B, D
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 from Boppard to St. Goar. Later, visit the Weierhof: a semi-communal Mennonite village in the Palatinate, and be introduced to the Weierhof archives.

May 24     Sinsheim   B, D
Step into the cellar at Steinsfurt where 53 Anabaptists worshipping in secret were arrested. Climb the Steinsburg Tower for a panoramic view of farms and villages. See other local sites related to Anabaptist history as time allows.

May 25     Strasbourg   B
Drive through the Alsace region where Jakob Amman lived to hear more of the Amish story. Have lunch in the quaint town of Riquewihr, known for its narrow streets and half-timbered houses. Travel to Strasbourg where Pilgram Marpeck was a leader of the local Anabaptists to learn more of his story. Then spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring Strasbourg on your own or relaxing in a local café.

May 26 & 27     Bern   B, D
During two days in the Emmental region, there’s so much to do and see! Visit Langnau Mennonite Cemetary to see familiar names, and gain a better understanding of local history during a visit to the cultural museum. Tour the church at Erlenbach in the Simmental where Jakob Amman was baptized as an infant in 1644. Take a cable car up the Stockhorn mountain for fabulous panoramic scenic views. Visit Trachselwald Castle, a fortress once used to imprison Anabaptists. See the historic Reformed church at Würzbrunnen which has an abundance of Anabaptist stories. At a cemetery and Reformed church in Steffisburg, learn about connections with the Amish. Visit the 12th-century Thun Castle and the picturesque municipalities of Schangnau and Eggiwil.

May 28     Zürich   B, D
Zürich and its surrounding area are central to the story of how the Anabaptist movement began. Over three days in this region, become familiar with the earliest days of Anabaptism. Today, spend time in the old city of Zürich for an Anabaptist walking tour of sites related to the birth of Anabaptism in 1525. Take in an afternoon Vespers at Einsiedeln Abbey, one of the most important baroque monastic sites and the largest place of pilgrimage in Switzerland. Savour Swiss Raclette (fondue) at a traditional restaurant.

May 29     Zürich   B
Gather with Anabaptists from around the world to partake in the 500th anniversary celebration, hosted by Mennonite World Conference. Expect workshops, musical concerts, theatrical performances, panel discussions and more scattered throughout the downtown. The day will culminate in an ecumenical worship service that recognizes the many steps toward reconciliation that have occurred in recent decades and an act of public witness.

May 30    Zürich   B
Travel to the municipality of Schleitheim where the first Anabaptist confession was forged in 1527. Visit the local museum to gain more insights into this history. Enjoy lunch at the famous Rhine Falls. Visit a former secret worship site, the Anabaptist Cave at Bäretswil, for worship and reflection.

May 31    Innsbruck   B, D
Travel to Innsbruck, Austria. Visit Hutter Park to learn about Jacob Hutter and the oppression of Anabaptists in Austria. See the site of Jacob Hutter’s execution in the shadow of the Golden Roof. Enjoy lunch and apple strudel on the famous Maria Theresien Strasse, followed by free time to get to know Innsbruck for yourself. Tonight, attend a Tyrolean folk show to experience authentic local music, dancing, and more.

June 1     Munich   B, D
Travel to Rattenberg to hear about Pilgram Marpeck, the “Menno Simons of the South”, who left his home to escape arrest as an Anabaptist. See Marpeck’s house, now a lead crystal-blowing facility, where you can marvel at this historic art form and its beautiful results. Climb the Rattenberg castle ruins. Later, 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. Travel to Munich for the night.

June 2    Munich   B, D
On a tour of Augsburg, learn about the strong Anabaptist presence in this city in the earliest days of Anabaptism, and about the Martyrs’ Synod which worked to form a common foundation of beliefs. Reflect on the past weeks’ experiences at a farewell dinner together. Depart for home from Munich with new insights and connections into your Anabaptist heritage.

June 3     Departure   B
Depart for home from Munich with new insights and connections into your Anabaptist heritage.

 

FAQs

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. Please consider if this level of activity will be feasible for you before you register. Read more about our activity levels here.

 

Please note: itinerary is subject to change.

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.