News Articles

German churches keep Emden’s a Lasco Library solvent

Named after minister of Dutch refugees

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

EMDEN, Germany - The Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek, a library originally founded in 1559 within the Reformed Church in Emden, needs an infusion of capital after its reserves dropped to a low of 1,6 million euros. The library lost over 7 million euro during the tenure of a director who was forced out late last year. German churches plan to contribute 6 million euros to keep the library solvent.

The Johannes a Lasco library is named after a former Polish priest who joined the Reformation in the Netherlands and who laboured among Dutch exiles in Emden, East Frisia (now Northwestern Germany), during the Inquisition in the 1540s. In the 1550s, he worked among Walloon and Dutch/Flemish refugees in London until forced to flee again, now to Emden, when the English political climate changed during Queen Mary’s rule. A student of Erasmus, a Lasco died in 1560 in Poland at the age of 61.

The library has been the custodian of a rich and important collection from the sixteenth century up until the present. After the destruction in 1944 of the former Great Church of Emden, the ruined church was rebuilt as a library and research centre and reopened in 1993 when the collection was named after the Reformer.

The John a Lasco Library is an acknowledged special research library in the field of Reformed Protestantism and is financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for collection acquisition and for a project in the digitalization of sixteenth-century printed books.

In 1998, the John a Lasco Library started to organize international symposia. Its research program is co-financed by Foundation of Lower Saxony (Stiftung Niedersachsen) and the State of Lower Saxony. Apeldoorn professor dr. H. Selderhuis served as academic director of the library till 2007.

The John a Lasco Library is organized as a church foundation or registered charity under German law.