This tour traces the Anabaptist and Amish story through the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, and Switzerland. Visits to significant sites will bring to life the stories of Jakob Amman, Dirk Willems, Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz and other important Anabaptist leaders. Reflect in the Yoder cave where Anabaptists worshipped in secret, and visit the dungeon in Passau where the earliest 51 hymns of the Ausbund were written. This special tour also includes seeing the Oberammergau Passion Play, which is only performed every 10 years. Esteemed and experienced tour leaders John Sharp and Steven Yoder will guide you on this unique journey of discovery and fellowship. Travel from North America to Europe will be by ship. All transportation in Europe is by bus, boat or train.
Amish Heritage Tour with Oberammergau Passion Play
Sunday, May 31 to Saturday, June 6 Queen Mary 2
Depart Port New York around 12 noon on Sunday, May 31. Get to know your fellow tour members as you journey by ship aboard the Queen Mary 2 for the next seven days. Also enjoy onboard activities like afternoon tea served in the British tradition, reading in the ship’s library stocked with more than 8,000 books, or taking a virtual tour of the stars and planets in the ship’s planetarium.
Sunday, June 7 Strasbourg, France
Arrive in Port Southampton, England this morning and disembark from the ship. Transfer to London’s St Pancras railway station and travel by train to Strasbourg.
Monday, June 8 Bern, Switzerland
Meet your coach bus this morning and continue from Strasbourg to Bern. In Bern, take a walking tour of Anabaptist sites, including the place Hans Haslibacher was executed and where hundreds of Anabaptists were exiled from the city and sent on rafts down the Aare and Rhine Rivers to Amsterdam. There will also be time for shopping in Bern as you explore the town on your own. Visit an Emmental cheese factory in Affoltern, then continue to Trachselwald Castle, where Anabaptists were imprisoned until they were transported to Bern for trial and execution or exile. If time permits, visit the Langnau Mennonite church which dates from 1530.
Tuesday, June 9 Würzbrunnen, Switzerland
Make your way to the Yoder cave, where early Anabaptists worshipped in secret, and spend time worshipping there as you reflect on your spiritual ancestors. Visit the church in Erlenbach, where in 1644 Jakob Ammann was born. As a bishop of the Amish/Anabaptist fellowship, he challenged Hans Reist about lack of discipline and the salvation of half-Anabaptists. See other points of interest in the area as well. Be amazed by breathtaking views of the Alps on a cable car ride to the top of Stockhorn Summit where you’ll have lunch. At the Emmental cultural museum, learn about local history, culture and customs, and look for common family names in the local cemetery. Experience local hospitality through homestays in Würzbrunnen.
Wednesday, June 10 Zürich, Switzerland
Travel to Zürich through the Susten Pass through the Swiss Alps; admire the spectacular views, including of the Stein Glacier. On a walking tour of Zurich, see the site of the first baptism in January 21, 1525, Conrad Grebel’s home, and the site of Felix Manz’s execution—along with five other Anabaptists drowned here and the beheading of Hans Landis in 1614. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to relax at a café, shop, or discover more of the city on your own.
Thursday, June 11 Lindau, Germany
In Schleitheim, where the 1527 Anabaptist Brotherly Union was debated and adopted, travel by wagon to reflect at the Schleitheim monument. See the spectacular Rhine Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe, then continue to Lindau for the night.
Friday, June 12 Oberammergau, Germany
Arrive in Oberammergau, home of the famous Passion Play! Almost 400 years ago, the villagers promised God that if he would spare them from the bubonic plague that was ravaging their region, they would depict the life and death of Jesus in the form of a play. God kept his side of the promise and the villagers performed their first re-enactment of the Passion of Christ in 1634 to fulfill their vow. 2020 will mark the 42nd time the villagers have performed the play. This morning, explore the village, and perhaps choose to shop for clocks. In the afternoon and evening, watch the renowned play, with about half of the 5,400 residents of Oberammergau participating in this epic re-enactment as actors, singers, instrumentalists and stage technicians. The play includes Old and New Testament scenes woven together to tell the story of Jesus.
Saturday, June 13 Nuremberg, Germany
In Passau, Germany, tour the dungeon where the earliest 51 hymns of the Ausbund were written while Michael Schneider and other Anabaptists were imprisoned between 1535 and 1540. Continue to Nuremberg for the night.
Sunday, June 14 Worms, Germany
Participate in morning worship today in a local church in Sinsheim. Visit the Steinsfurt Cellar where Anabaptists were arrested while in worship. Climb the Steinsberg Tower for a view of Mennonite villages and the rich farming land enjoyed by Mennonites before migrating to Lancaster and Franconia, PA. In the Weierhof, see a semi-communal Mennonite village in the German Palatinate and visit the Weierhof archives. After dinner in Worms, see the Martin Luther Monument and hear the story of the early Reformers.
Monday, June 15 Münster, Germany
Relax and enjoy the lovely scenery—including castles and ruins—aboard a Rhine River cruise to Boppard. On a tour of Münster, learn about the violent Anabaptist Kingdom of Münster and the attempt to destroy the wicked and establish a New Jerusalem. On the Lambertikirche tower, you can still see the iron cages in which the bodies of Anabaptist leaders were displayed as a warning. Menno Simons reclaimed nonresistance as an essential teaching of the church, but the violence of these people spoiled the testimony of Anabaptism for hundreds of years. If time permits, tour the stunning cathedral in Köln.
Tuesday, June 16 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Travel from Germany into the Netherlands to tour Zaanse Schans, a historic Dutch village with traditional houses, working windmills, and artisans crafting things like wooden shoes and cheese. Then climb aboard a river boat for a leisurely tour of Amsterdam’s canals. Visit the historic Singel Mennonite Church, formed by the merger of the Sun, Lamb and Tower churches in 1608. Optional: visit the Anne Frank House or the famous Rijksmuseum.
Wednesday, June 17 Arlon, Belgium
Tour the Aalsmeer flower auction where 20 million flowers from around the world are auctioned daily! In Asperen, see the setting for the Dirk Willem’s escape from imprisonment and heroic act of saving his guard’s life as he crossed the frozen Hondegat. He was arrested again and imprisoned in the tall church tower and in 1569 he was executed along the Linge River. This may be the most well-known Anabaptist story and demonstrates Jesus’s call to love enemies. Continue to Brussels, Belgium, and tour the city, including the Grand Place (town square) where you will marvel at the elaborate guild houses built in the late 1600’s.
Thursday, June 18 Strasbourg, France
Tour Zweibrücken, one of the last Amish settlements in Germany. This is where Amish families settled after fleeing persecution in the Alsace region of France. Then travel on to Strasbourg.
Friday, June 19 Strasbourg, France
Visit Ste. Marie-aux-Mines (Markirch) in Alsace, France, to visit the valley where Jakob Ammann and his followers settled. See the Old Mill where Jakob Amman met with other Anabaptist leaders, the Salm Oak, the former Jakob Amman house, and the former Bishop’s daughter’s house. This afternoon, tour Strasbourg, the largest city in the Alsace region, then enjoy free time to explore the city on your own.
Saturday, June 20 Paris, France
Catch the train this morning to travel to Paris, the capital city of France and a global centre for art and culture. During free time to tour the city, consider taking a canal ride or trying a hop-on hop-off bus. This evening tour the city together. Admire the view of the Eiffel Tower’s lights after dark.
Sunday, June 21 Le Havre, France
Continue by train to Le Havre, the port city where you’ll meet the ship for your journey home.
Monday, June 22 to Monday, June 29
Board the Queen Mary 2 on June 22 with the sights and sounds of the Old Country—the places our ancestors called home—lodged in your hearts and minds. Cross the Atlantic and arrive in New York on June 29.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.