The name ten Have, is a place name meaning “of the harbour”.

┬áThe earliest ten Have to whom we can trace a direct link lived in Zwolle in the early 1500s. However, there were ten Have’s in Zwolle before that time.

Zwolle is the capital city of the province of Overijssel, Netherlands, 120 kilometres northeast of Amsterdam. It has a population of about 120,000.

The city was founded around 800 AD by Frisian merchants and troops of Charlemagne. The name Zwolle is derived from the word Suolle, which means “hill” and refers to an incline in the landscape between the four rivers surrounding the city.

Map of Zwolle in 1652
Map of Zwolle in 1652

Zwolle was a trading centre but not a harbour. The nearby harbour of Vollenhove, could possibly be the source of the name ten Have.

A notable early resident of Zwolle was Berthold Tenhave who died in 1433. Berthold was prominent early member of the Brethren of the Common Life and in 1386 donated the land to build a monastery and church at Windesheim for the Brethren.

Windesheim Monastery in its heyday. (The brewery is at the top right corner of the main building.)
Windesheim Monastery in its heyday.
(The brewery is at the top right corner of the main building.)
All that remains of the monastery today is the brewery - now used as a church
All that remains of the monastery today is the brewery –
now used as a church

The Brethren of the Common Life was a religious organization in the Netherlands founded by Gerhard Groot in the last quarter of the fourteenth century. Gerhard Groot was a lay preacher who spoke out against the corruption and the declining spirituality within the Catholic Church. Following the ideas of Meister John Eckhart, Groot encouraged the search for individual salvation and spirituality through the performance of pious and charitable works and scriptural study.

The Brethern began in Deventer and Zwolle and spread throughout much of Northern Europe where they established many schools and more then a hundred monasteries (both male and female). As well as Barthold Tenhave, the early followers of Gerhard Groot, included Thomas a Kempis and Adrian Dedel, who became Pope Adrian VI. Those educated in their schools included Martin Luther, Erasmus, Nicholas of Cusa and three popes.