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Foundation Friends of the Pilgrimfathers' church

As a private individual and corporate sponsor, you contribute to safeguarding the building as a unique historical heritage with national and international significance for the future. The Old or Pilgrimfathers Church is related to the departure of the originally English Pilgrimfathers on July 20, 1620 with the Speedwell from Delfshaven to the promised land of America. With a stopover in England, Plymouth they switched from the leaky Speedwell to the Mayflower. After a heavy sea journey of more than 2 months, they landed in Massachusetts.

The departure of the Speedwell from Delfshaven in 1620 is depicted in a large painting (3.60 m. by 5.40 m.) called Embarkation of the Pilgrims, painted by Robert W. Weir for the US Congress. The artwork is an icon in American state history and has been hanging in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington D.C. since 1843. The Old or Pilgrimfathers Church in Historic Delfshaven is therefore inextricably linked to America. 'Democracy and Freedom' are a continuing pursuit for society - all over the world.

The exhibition Pilgrimfathers Presentation, renewed in 2020 in the Ankie Verbeek-Ohr room by the Friends Foundation, marks 400 years of Commemoration of the Pilgrimfathers. This has been appropriately commemorated in the US, the Netherlands and England. The opening of the exhibition planned in October 2020 by the US Ambassador together with the Mayor of Rotterdam had to be postponed due to the second corona wave. The postponed opening will still take place at a suitable time.

In 2021 it was 400 years of Thanksgiving Day. In this context, the Friends, in collaboration with Erasmus University, have organized an essay competition between the universities of Leiden, Delft, Rotterdam and Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. The Erasmus Trust Fund has sponsored the prize, 1 week student stay in the Netherlands/USA and vice versa. The theme of the essay competition was the spoken word 'The Hill we Climb' by Amanda Gorman, inauguration Joe Biden January 6, 2021. The future of society and the world is rooted in the past with its good and bad sides to learn!

Become a Friend

The Friends Foundation was established in 1994 in order to support the church in the broadest sense of the word. Preserving the church building as a monument and its development into the ecclesiastical and cultural centre of Delfshaven are its main aim. Support by preserving, maintaining and modernising the interior of the church, as well as assisting in acquiring fundraising partners are emphasised.
To continue our efforts we are very much indebted to our Friends for financial support. We would benefit greatly from gaining as many Friends as possible, not only because it means we can do more, but also because it enlarges, broadens and strengthens the support base for the church, so it can continue to be a hub of cultural activity in Delfshaven.
Therefore, please consider becoming a friend. In order to do so, send a message, preferably by e-mail, with your name, address and telephone number to the contact address below.
For the annual fee of € 30 (minimum) we will keep you informed of what is happening in the church and the foundation.

The Friends of the Old or Pilgrimfathers Church Foundation has an ANBI (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling) status in The Netherlands. For individuals and companies, the ANBI status of the Friends of the Old or Pilgrimfathers Church Foundation is beneficial (only if tax is paid in The Netherlands): donors may deduct their donations from income or corporate income tax (for the most up-to-date information on this, please refer to the Tax and Customs Administration). The amount of your donation is of your own choice. Every year there is a joint meeting in the church. For companies there are various possibilities for contributions with associated exclusive benefits. Businesswise, the intended relationship between the Netherlands and the US may also be of interest to you.

Specifically for U.S. taxpayers, the Netherlands America Foundation (NAF) has established a legal structure to facilitate tax-efficient cooperation in fundraising for the Old or Pilgrimfathers' Church. The Friends Fund of the NAF gives U.S. donors the advantage of a U.S. income and gift tax deduction for their gifts. This means your contributions will be tax-deductible for the purpose of U.S. federal and state taxes, to the extent permitted by federal and state law. To donate to the Old or Pilgrimfathers' Church using the Friends Fund Program of the NAF, click here.


Contact data

Stichting Vrienden van de Oude of Pelgrimvaderskerk (Foundation of Friends)
c/o P. O. Box 54562
3008 KB Rotterdam
E-mail: vrndpelgrimvaderskerk@gmail.com 

ANBI-Data (Public benefit organisation)

Name: Stichting Vrienden Van De Oude Of Pelgrimvaderskerk
Established 23 August 1994; ANBI-Foundation since 2008
Fiscal Number: 8032.80.968


S.B. de Vries, chair
M.Y. van Schijndel, secretary
E.J.H. Bouwens, treasurer


Remuneration of the Board: This is a voluntary organisation, the board is not paid in any way.

Objective: The foundation’s main objective is to support the Pilgrimfathers’ Church of Rotterdam-Delfshaven in the broadest sense of the word.

Activities carried out in 2023 by the Friends of the Old or Pilgrim Fathers Church Foundation

The board of the Friends of the Old or Pilgrim Fathers Church Foundation met four times in 2023. In mid-2022, the chairman and one board member (due to age) left the Friends Foundation. The chairmanship has been filled internally, on an interim basis. In addition, two board members of the Friends Foundation participate in the board of the Management and Exploitation Foundation of the Old or Pilgrim Fathers Church. Within this Foundation, the board met in many meetings in 2023, due to the impact of the corona pandemic and high energy costs on operations.

In the beginning of 2023, the board of the Friends Foundation developed a professional website that focuses primarily on the church's exploitation options: events and rental possibilities (in accordance with the nature and dignity of the church). The board has spent a lot of time to develop the website: writing texts, finding and taking suitable photos and consulting with the developer of the website. The result is impressive, see the site https://www.huurpelgrimvaderskerk.nl/ . It is expected that this new website will improve the exploitation of the church because the church will become more visible and ‘findable’ on the internet.

In May 2023, the board initiated a first meeting with the Netherland-America Foundation (NAF). The Netherland-America Foundation supports bilateral relations between the United States of America and the Netherlands. The aim of the Foundation is to support exchange programs between the two countries in the fields of education, art, science, etc. The NAF was founded in 1921. One of the founders is Franklin D. Roosevelt, later president of the United States. The patroness and patron from our country are two members of the Royal House, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven. They always participate in the NAF's annual gala party in New York.

Through the Friends Fund of the NAF, it is possible for Americans to donate to a number of Dutch ANBI organizations. An ANBI is a Public Benefit Institution. An institution can only be an ANBI if it is almost entirely committed to the public interest. The Friends of the Old Pilgrim Fathers Church Foundation is an ANBI organization. At the beginning of 2024, the board of the Friends Foundation signed the agreement with the NAF to participate in their Friends Fund. Further details will follow this year (2024).

The 'Pilgrim Presentation' exhibition as set up in 2020 in the Ankie Verbeek-Ohr hall is an excellent basis for social studies in a broad sense. Members of the board, professionals in terms of quality, invested a lot of time and effort to update the exhibition. The story of the Pilgrim Fathers characterizes in particular the historical connection of the Netherlands with the government of (the United States of) America based on the Dutch Act of Abandonment, dated 1581. The story illustrates the Dutch culture of freedom as well as the 400 years of social developments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In 2023 the board of the Friends Foundation developed an introduction program regarding this historical connection for students at primary schools in Rotterdam. After various discussions, this has led to the program being included in a school program as set up by Ikapitein (water recreation company, Historical Delfshaven) with the theme 'Sail your own and cleaner course'. This school program comprises a three-day awareness program, set up for 4 primary schools (groups 7 and 8) in Rotterdam Delfshaven. In addition to information about circular thinking, the 'plastic soup' in the ocean, a sustainable society and Delfshaven, the children come to the church for an educational visit. There they will see the short movie about the Pilgrim Fathers and learn about the relationship Delfshaven/Rotterdam and the USA. The first primary school (De Vlinder) visited the church in June 2023, and three more primary schools will follow in the spring of 2024. Ikapitein, together with the board of the Friends Foundation, is currently working to include more Rotterdam primary schools in this program and to obtain funds to make this happen.

In mid-2023, the board drew up a project plan to develop an audio tour for the church, both for educational purposes and for visitor information. This plan can be implemented as soon as funds are available.

A lot of work has been done separately by the board members in the ongoing necessary activities. In 2023, the board was busy looking for sponsors to finance the renewal of the presentation installation in the church with modern audiovisual equipment. This is necessary to expand the church's operating options. This includes holding symposia, conferences and meetings of institutions/associations/companies, etc. The required funds have now almost been raised. This is expected to be implemented in concrete terms in 2024.

Partly thanks to a financial contribution from the Friends Foundation, the traditional candle evening could be organized by the Reformed Municipality of Delfshaven on December 18, 2023. While enjoying hot chocolate and a Christmas wreath, you could listen to, among others, the Royal Excelsior Singing Association, led by Mirjam van den Hoek.

As usual, all donors of the Friends Foundation have been invited to the annual Friends Concert in the church. In 2023 the donors were invited to a shortened performance of the musical piece Canto Ostinato by Simeon ten Holt, performed by 4 pianos. Also in 2023, the annual Newsletter was sent to all donors of the Friends Foundation.

Planned activities in 2024

For 2024 the following activities are planned by the Friends Foundation:

  • Completing 'our' web page on the Netherlands-America Foundation site;
  • Setting up and rolling out a PR campaign in the USA with the aim of drawing attention to the possibility for Americans to donate to the Friends of the OPK Foundation;
  • Informing our donors by sending out the annual Newsletter;
  • To contribute in renovation activities where possible;
  • Recruiting companies that want to contribute to the operation/exploitation of the church on a structural basis;
  • Participate in partnerships and forums regarding the monumental Pilgrim Fathers Church and its history.


Corporate Friends

  • Exedo - Webdesign Bleiswijk
  • iKapitein Boats & Bites
  • Fotografie Paul Martens