update: 17-11-2010

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Documentaire Omrop Fryslân





click picture for youtube

stills created from the youtube movie

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Harmonium kalenders

Uit historische kranten

Harmonium in de Letterkunde



Pictures of ds. Zelle

Dominee Zelle

Dominee Zelle

Dominee Zelle


Background readings on Zelle

Dutch wikipedia

Information in Dutch (Acrobat)

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Link to youtube movie



Ds. Zelle - a theatre show in Fryslân

Freark Smink spillet dûmny Zelle

(Freark Smink plays ds. Zelle)


In the northern province Friesland a pre-medieval language is still in use in daily conversation and printed publication. Hence 'Fryslân' as the name of the province is pronounced in Frysian (Frysk) language. This language comes in a number of variations, Western, Eastern, and German/Danish. All of them coming from Old Frysk, a language strongly resembling Old English. Still some similarities are found between Frysk and modern day English. (i.e. British English).


Ministers in Dutch churches are referred to as 'dominee', derived from Latin 'Dominus' meaning 'lord', 'master'. They have a title before the name "ds." which is short for Dominus. This title is not an academic one, only ordained ministers use this title.

Ds. Zelle was a minister in one of the protestant denominations, named Reformed Church.



Why is this information on this website? Recently, in 2009, a theatre play premiered in Fryslân, the part of the Netherlands where ds. Zelle resided almost all of his life. The only years living outside Friesland were the years when he studied theology at Amsterdam Reformed University and his one and only ministry in the Reformed Church of Rockanje, a little village at the shore of Northsea, during the years 1949-1956.


ds. Johannes Hendrikus Zelle (John Henry) was born 8 april 1907 at Leeuwarden, the capital city of Fryslân. He was an impressive and extremely peculiar man. The story of his life will be told here in English only, because Dutch people have access to all information in Dutch.
In the theatre play Frysk musician Hoite Pruiksma played two harmoniums. A harmonium and a German suction instrument.



The story will be written soon.


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