Friends of the Pilgrimfathers’ Church

Friends of the Pilgrimfathers' Church

Foundation Friends of the Pilgrimfathers’ Church at Rotterdam-Delfshaven (Stichting Vrienden van de Oude of Pelgrimvaderskerk te Rotterdam-Delfshaven)

This 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.
In the 1990s the Foundation played a key role in the restoration of both the church organ and the church building by finding sponsors and by paying from funds raised by the “Friends” themselves. They also aided in enabling purchases for the church interior and helped to fund the mounting of the Pilgrim Presentation, the permanent exhibition about the Pilgrim Fathers, as well as the refurnishing of the Study Room and the renovation of the Klockhuys.
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 € 25 (minimum) we will keep you informed of what is happening in the church and the foundation. Information about events that are being organised in the church can be found by navigating to the homepage of this website.

Contact Data

Stichting Vrienden van de Oude of Pelgrimvaderskerk (Foundation of Friends)
c/o P. O. Box 54562
3008 KB Rotterdam

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


J.M. Vervat, chair
M.Y. van Schijndel, secretary
E.J.H. Bouwens, treasurer
S.W.A. Lak, member
S.B. de Vries, member


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 2022 by the Friends of the Old or Pilgrim Fathers Church Foundation

Covid-19 left its mark on the general goings-on of the Friends in 2022 as well as the exploitation of the Church. The restrictions due to the Corona pandemic meant a delay in the developments that were initiated, but we remained committed to rise to the challenges. The suddenly sky-high energy costs due to, among other things, the war in Ukraine also had an impact on the exploitation of the church. However, the volunteers did not sit on their hands and persevered.

The Board of the Friends of the Old or Pilgrim Fathers Church Foundation met three times in 2022. In addition, two board members of the Friends Foundation sit on the board of the Management and Exploitation Foundation of the Old or Pilgrim Fathers Church. Within this Foundation, the board met often in 2022, due to the impact of the corona pandemic and high energy costs. Halfway through 2022, the chairman and a board member left the Friends Foundation, retiring because of age considerations. These two functions are expected to be filled again in 2023.

A lot of work has been done by board members individually to ensure the progress of necessary activities. In 2022, the board continued looking for sponsors to finance the upgrade of the audiovisual presentation installation in order to expand the operating possibilities of the church. This includes holding symposia, conferences, and meetings of institutions/associations/companies, etc. Partly due to the corona pandemic, the necessary funds have not yet been collected. It is expected that this will be successful in 2023.

In 2022, the refurbishment of the Ankie Verbeek-Ohr room in the church was completed. In the context of Delfshaven400, an upgrading of the "Pilgrim Presentation" exhibition took place here in 2020. This upgrade was carried out by a project team of professional volunteers. Board members of the Friends have served on the project team in a personal capacity. The “Pilgrim Presentation” is sponsored by Rotterdam Festivals, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht and Matrans Port Companies. In a museum setting and redecorated in a modern color scheme, at a glance the visitor sees the complete picture of the timeline and the historical places of residence of the Pilgrim Fathers in England, the Netherlands and America. In 2022, thanks to sponsor resources, blackout curtains operated by remote control were purchased for the Ankie Verbeek-Ohr room, which also improve the acoustics. Another addition is the purchase of 32 comfortable conference chairs of good quality. The room is now ideal for various gatherings such as presentations, lectures, and meetings. The room is much more attractive and we expect that as a result it will be more in demand for rentals.

 We still intend to invite the (new) ambassador of the US to open the renewed “Pilgrim Presentation” Exhibition. Initially, the exhibition was to be opened with an official act on October 10, 2020 by the (then) ambassador of the US, Mr. Pete Hoekstra, and the mayor of Rotterdam, Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb. Together they would ring the 555-year-old bell of the church, the sound that the Pilgrim Fathers heard when they left the quay in 1620. An ensemble from the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra would provide the musical accompaniment to the program. Unfortunately, due to the second Corona wave in the fall of 2020, this official opening could not take place. The US Embassy's commitment to take part in the official opening at a later date was recorded. Because the Democrats in the US won the elections at the end of 2020, Mr. Pete Hoekstra returned to the US in early 2021. The new ambassador to the Netherlands has now been announced: Mrs. Shefali Razdan Duggal. We will approach her in 2023.

Thanks in part to a financial contribution from the Friends Foundation, a candle-lit Christmas concert and carol-singing event could be organized on December 12, 2022 for the first time in three years by the congregation using the Pilgrimfathers Church. While enjoying hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, guests could listen to, among others, the Rotterdam Chamber Choir.

At the end of 2022, the Friends Foundation started developing a professional website that focuses exclusively on the possibilities of renting the church for various events (in keeping with the nature and dignity of the church). This is expected to improve the exploitation of the church because the church will become more 'visible' and 'findable'.

According to custom, in 2022 all donors of the Friends Foundation have been invited to the annual Friends concert in the church, namely a performance by the Vocaal Ensemble Kralingen. In 2022, one Newsletter was sent to the donors of the Friends Foundation.

Planned activities in 2023

The following activities are planned for 2023:

  • Sending a Newsletter to the members of the Friends Foundation;
  • Decision-making about the purchase of audiovisual equipment for the church;
  • Approaching sponsors for the funding of audiovisual equipment;
  • Recruit companies that want to sponsor the church on a structural basis;
  • Participate in partnerships and bodies that concern the operation of the church;
  • Opening of the 'Pilgrim Presentation' by the US Ambassador;
  • Launch a professional website focusing on the Church's rental opportunities for various events (in accordance with the nature and dignity of the Church).