MAASSLUIS – A group of several hundred men and women threatened Monday in Maassluis dozens of people and destroyed their furniture. They also harassed people in the street. The ringleaders are angry about the introduction of a different way of singing in church. It is a temporary low point in a protracted conflict that began last year.

Eyewitness Moerings Henry did not know what he saw when he was here in town.

"A troop of five hundred men went to the homes of everyone for the new singing. They incited each other. They drank liquor mixed with gunpowder, where they were furious. They took one of our fellow citizens out of his house and bound him with heavy ropes. At the ends pulled up to five or six men on either side him forward, while others ransacked his home. "

Until loved rioting 'long singers' home in the late evening in Maassluis. They were, among others, provide the cantor, Bartholomew Ouboter, which the church had learned the new way of singing. They abused the painter and glazier, beat his shop smithereens and rolled the clothes of his family by the paint.

Other prominent "short singers' had to take the rap. An organist was beaten, a former elder and former mayor, who had been in the church, was hunted down the street in his nightclothes, the wife of a shoemaker was pulled through the streets by her hair and a mason was a brick through the window. In another, the wine cellar was emptied.

The rioters shouted "Hurray!"And" We want back the old show again. "The new way of singing they called 'dance- one komediezang '. Others shouted them all today Prince, Staten, government, pastors and all were together and had to get their way. Only towards the end of the evening calm returned in Maassluis. some residents, including victims as Cantor and Mason, do this without waiting and fled to Delft.


As everywhere in Holland and West Friesland in Maassluis early last year introduced a new Psalter. The new so-called metrical psalms was compiled on behalf of the government. The reason was the growing discontent among ministers and linguists over the old lyrics from Peter Datheen 1566. The result was published in 1773 on the market, after which the government was everywhere enter the rhyming.

But not only the words of the popular psalms were overhauled. The way of singing was different. Only the latter did not on behalf of the States General, but the churches themselves. Which wanted to get rid of the extremely slow manner of singing each note lasted as long. Also Maassluis the church was in favor of the new singing that was more rhythmically, So with alternating whole and half notes. But that was without some of the congregation.

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Especially fishermen Maassluis are very attached to the old slow way of singing. When they are home they'd raise a psalm board to, especially on Sunday as the ships at anchor in the Dogger Bank. They then gather at one moment and hold a private service with very slowly sung psalms, With the old words Datheen.

The church of Maassluis should have provided problems with fishermen. The introduction of the new texts was already a hot issue - they were finally in the course of last year, albeit reluctantly, by most people sung. But singing was rhythmically for some Maassluizers, especially the poorer part of the population, a bridge too far. So they sang or the new text, but the old way.

In order to introduce the new way of singing, the church decided last spring to when the fishermen were at sea for several weeks, to practice with the remaining congregation. A cantor and some schoolmasters helped to rehearse rhythmic chant. But when the fishermen were back, hit the flash in the pan.

Fishermen found it quicker to sing nothing. It was in their eyes' popish, Luther one afgodisch '. In August began some of them cross to imitate the song over the sound of bleating sheep and screaming. The pastor was so upset that he could not continue and sent everyone home. Then it went from bad to worse. Fishermen also frequent the church put the ancient psalms in Datheen, she sang much better than the new songs.


Not only the supporters of the old way of singing, the so-called long-singers', be seen, even the proponents of the new way, the 'short singers', let themselves heard. Church services have changed more than once in a complete chaos, which is also the organist took an oar in by hard as he could play. When "Long singers' organ threatened to break down, union in the church. In September, they restored the old way of singing, but on the new texts.

The months after have the 'short singers' constantly trying to get back to the table the action of the church. This resulted in February in a new compromise. Henceforth, there would indeed be sung slowly, but with alternating whole and half notes. But this measure made the problems only get worse Maassluis. Now one had his sentence.

Last Saturday, a group of 'long singers' along with the pastors and administrators of the church and the sheriff. They demanded that old-fashioned slow the next day, with whole nuts, be sung. The authorities were obliged to admit. A big mistake, as it turned out two days later, groups when pulled al rellend by Maassluis.

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Schout Pieter Phantom says that he is not let down. Rumors are that he bailiff, the highest judiciary in Delfland, wants to get there, which would then have to restore calm. Even the Prince of Orange would have these days in Delft. Possibly he also briefed. Whether that happens, is the appearance of this notice not yet known.

How it went

Phantom has indeed traveled the next day to Delft, along with a mayor and an alderman, to signal the bailiff. The sheriff promised his help. Whether the prince, an opponent of the psalms of Datheen,  while still played a role, is not clear. The days of Psalms Riot were arrested at least several suspects. Seventy Maassluizers arrests did not wait and took the legs. That number surprised the authorities, after an amnesty was created. Would only be sentenced worst troublemakers. Two of them were 12 imposed exile years, two others disappeared for six years from Maassluis.

After the riot was sung in churches in Maassluis, As in most other churches in Holland, the new metrical psalms and moreover rhythmically. Althans, mostly. Occasionally even tried a long cool 'to be on whole notes, transverse to sing in against the rest. Op 14 mei 1778 issued the bailiff, a kind of police chief, against a warning from.

In Vlaardingen the Psalms came to a Riot, under the leadership of long-singer 'Anthony Buytenweg, which singer in his church and the psalms sung in such a manner onstichtelijke or rather shouted ", the uproar arose in the church.

In 2006 in Maassluis born writer Maarten 't Hart wrote a novel set including at the time of the Psalms Riot. A son of the main character is emerging as one of the leaders of the 'long-singers'. 'T Hart was based among other things on eyewitness reports of the riots in his city.

Today the metrical psalms of Datheen still in such 30 churches sung, especially in municipalities oudgereformeerde.


And now when – Psalms Riot

Luth (and the.) – The Church Song – A history (Zoetermeer 2001)

P.H.A.M. Abels – Between freedom of conscience and religious coercion. Religion in Holland ', in: Th. the News and E. Beukers, History of Holland Share 2 1572-1795, p. 326-32

Mastenbroek – "The Maassluise War 1775-1776 ' – historical Sketch 27 (1995), p. 7-17

Dekker – Holland in turmoil. Riots in 17de en 18de century (Baarn 1982)

Author: Drs. A.P.B. van Meeteren

published: 01-10-2018

story number: 203

This story was written as part of the History Month 2018. The theme of this year's 'Uprising'. In this case, was a part of the population rebelled against the changes imposed from above of how religion should be practiced.

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