Pilgrims to America: A Pictorial History - LIFE IN AMSTERDAM

LIFE IN AMSTERDAM (Illustration) Famous Historical Events Famous People Geography Government History Law and Politics Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs Visual Arts American History

Pieter Bast created this engraving of Amsterdam Harbor, circa 1599. As such, we can imagine that the “Scrooby Pilgrims” would have observed a scene like this as they arrived in Amsterdam after escaping from England. Click on the image for a much-better view. Online via Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.


The Scrooby Pilgrims (who would also become known as the "Leiden Separatists") spent little time in Amsterdam—only one year—before they moved to Leiden, home of the famous university. It appears that disagreements over church affairs (with fellow Englishmen in Amsterdam) were, at least in part, the reason for their departure.

Not much in Amsterdam commemorates the presence of the Pilgrims in that city. Some of the highlights, still standing, are:

  • The Zuiderkerk: Now deconsecrated (and used as an exhibition center instead of a church), the Zuiderkerk was finished not long after the Pilgrims arrived and is the burial place of Richard Clyfton. Pastor of All Saint's Parish in Babworth, England (where a model of the Mayflower reminds today's parishioners of their connection to the Pilgrims), Clyfton was William Bradford's minister. (Bradford later followed his pastor to Amsterdam). The separatist movement, at All Saint's, began  under Clyfton's teaching. He died, in Amsterdam, before the Pilgrims left for America.
  • In the middle of Amsterdam, one of Europe's busy cities, is a beautiful spot known as the Begijnhof. In this oasis-like place, a church (built in the 14th century) was given to English-speaking Protestants (in 1607). The Scrooby Pilgrims - as commemorated by a plaque - worshiped in that church during their Amsterdam days.

Moving to Leiden, the Pilgrims settled in for more than a decade. Where did they live?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2006

Updated Last Revision: Jun 06, 2018

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"LIFE IN AMSTERDAM" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2006. Feb 23, 2020.
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