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, climbing into the foothills of the Swiss Alps to the Cave of the Anabaptists, visiting Trachselwald Castle, riding a cable-car up a mountain, and visiting the Weierhof, a semi-communal Mennonite village. Historian and experienced tour leader John Sharp will share insights as you travel in these beautiful countries that were so important to our Anabaptist ancestors.
2022 European Anabaptist Heritage Tour
Wednesday, August 10 Innsbruck, Austria
Whether you’re coming from North America or from Oberammergau, meet the rest of your fellow travellers in Munich, Germany. Travel together to Innsbruck, and learn about the Jacob Hutter Anabaptist story in Innsbruck. Also, enjoy apple strudel on the famous Maria Theresien Strasse.
Thursday, August 11 Innsbruck, Austria
In nearby Rattenberg, hear about Pilgram Marpeck, the Menno Simons of the South, who left his home to escape arrest as an Anabaptist. See the house where Marpeck lived, which today has a lead crystal blowing centre and store. Visit Hutter Park in Innsbruck to see a memorial to Anabaptist martyrs—twelve boulders arranged in a circle to represent the communal life of the Hutterites. Tonight you can attend a Tyrolean folk show to experience authentic local music, dancing, and more.
Friday, August 12 Zurich, Switzerland
On your way to Zurich, stop for lunch at St. Gallen, the city of Conrad Grebel’s famous brother-in-law Vadian. Spend time in Zurich for an Anabaptist walking tour of sites related to the birth of Anabaptism in 1525.
Saturday, August 13 Zurich, Switzerland
Take a wagon ride up the Anabaptist climb (Täuferstieg) near Schleitheim where the first Anabaptist confession was written 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. Next, visit a former secret worship site, the Anabaptist Cave at Bäretswil, for worship and reflection.
Sunday, August 14 Bern, Switzerland
Cross the Sustenpass into the Emmental and Bern Canton and join in Sunday worship at a local church. See the Langnau Mennonite Church, the oldest in the world, and look for familiar names in its cemetery. Hopefully experience the hospitality of a local Mennonite family by sharing lunch together in their home. In the Emmental region, visit other key sites including Trachselwald Castle, a fortress once used to imprison Anabaptists. Also stop at Yoder cave, if time permits. See the historic Reformed church at Würzbrunnen which has an abundance of Anabaptist stories.
Monday, August 15 Bern, Switzerland
Begin the day with a walking tour of Bern. Then learn more of the Amish story in the heart of their homeland. Visit Thun. Tour the church at Erlenbach in the Simmental where Jakob Amman was baptized. At a cemetery and Reformed church in Steffisburg, learn about connections with the Amish. Finish the day by taking a cable car up the Stockhorn mountain for fabulous panoramic scenic views.
Tuesday, August 16 Strasbourg, France
See medieval and early Renaissance art in the Unterlinden museum in Colmar. Have lunch in the quaint town of Riquewihr, known for its narrow streets and half-timbered houses, then continue on the wine route to the Alsace region where Jakob Amman lived to hear more of the Amish story. Travel to Strasbourg, a relatively tolerant city, to learn more about Pilgram Marpeck who was a civil engineer and a leader of the local Anabaptists.
Wednesday, August 17 Sinsheim, Germany
In the productive Kraichgau region of Southwestern Germany, visit Sinsheim and Bammental. Step into the cellar at Steinsfurt where 53 Anabaptists worshipping in secret were arrested, and climb the Steinsberg Tower for a panoramic view of farms and villages.
Thursday, August 18 Köln (Cologne), Germany
In the Palatinate region, visit the semi-communal Mennonite village of Weierhof, including the Mennonitische Forschungsstelle, Germany’s only major Mennonite archives. Have lunch in Worms where you’ll visit the Luther Monument and learn about the Reformation. Relax and enjoy the scenery on a Rhine River cruise from Boppard to Oberwesel. Continue to Köln for the night.
Friday, August 19 Münster, Germany
Visit Köln’s twin-towered Gothic cathedral. In Münster, 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. See the cages that were once used to imprison Anabaptist leaders which still hang from the St. Lamberti Church tower today. Visit the city museum with its Anabaptist room. During free time this afternoon, optional activities include visiting an outdoor museum or renting bikes to ride around the old city. In the evening, meet Maartja Salje, the city’s tower keeper.
Saturday, August 20 Berlikum, the Netherlands
In Friesland in the Netherlands, learn about the Menno Simons story with stops at the hidden church at Pingjum, and the Menno Simons monument at Witmarsum—the village where he was born. Visit Leeuwarden. Tonight, enjoy the hospitality of locals with homestays in Berlikum.
Sunday, August 21 Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands
Worship with the Mennonite believers of Berlikum this morning, then cross the 22-mile Afsluitdijk. Visit Zaanse Schans, a historic Dutch village with traditional 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.
Monday, August 22 Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands
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. Then climb aboard a river boat for a leisurely tour of Amsterdam’s canals.
Tuesday, August 23
Say farewell to friends old and new as you depart for home from Amsterdam.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.
Cover Photo: Grossmünster, Zurich by Lukas Schlagenhauf