26. Ordinance for the Use of the Churches by both `Religions’ in The Hague, 27 August 1572

Explanatory Note : On account of the diversity and difference of the two religions now practised in The Hague and in order to prevent all disturbances, disorders and tumults which might thereby arise to the great detriment of the commonalty of The Hague a sure ordinance must be framed and observed for the protection and freedom of both religions and their adherents so that in the exercise of the same religion the Lord God may be served and honoured in peace and upright conscience according to the way in which men of either religion may be led to seek their salvation.

Text: Therefore the baljuw, schout, burgomasters and court of The Hague, with the judgement of the members of the vroedschap and also with the advice of the deputies of the States of Holland and in conformity with the good intent and wishes of the Prince of Orange, as stadhouder and captain-general for Holland, Zeeland, West Friesland and Utrecht on behalf of His Majesty have ordained and ordered and do ordain and order hereby:

first, that those of the Reformed religion shall have at their disposal the church of the Dominicans here in The Hague, leaving the Grote Kerk of The Hague for the use of those of the Catholic or Roman religion;

that everyone may freely practise and exercise their religion in the aforesaid churches and the one may not offend or insult by word or deed, directly or indirectly, nor ridicule or mock the other, no matter how, on pain of being punished at the discretion of the schepenen;

they ordain and order furthermore that everyone shall be free to attend without let the sermons [predicatien] of both the Roman and the new Reformed religions and to remain in the religion which he believes and understands shall lead his soul to salvation;

they forbid furthermore anyone, irrespective of his rank, circumstances or religion, to presume to damage or injure the aforesaid churches, as well as the hospitals, sister-houses [houses for devout women] and chapels, or to commit any other insolence or violence against the same, on pain of forfeiting his life and estate;

they also forbid hereby all unseemly, unlawful and secret assemblies, whether by day or by night, whatever the reason or the alleged reason for the same, on pain of corporal punishment;

they ordain and order all the inhabitants of The Hague to conduct themselves in accordance with these articles on pain of incurring the penalties and fines laid down in this ordinance.

Executed and proclaimed after the ringing of the townhall bell on 27 August 1572.

Source : J.Smit, Den Haag in den geuzentijd (The Hague, 1922) 363-64.