Balk

 

Balk is a village in the municipality of De Friese Meren, in the Dutch province of Friesland, which is located northwest of Lemmer, between Harich and Wijckel. The river Luts flows through the village. In 2020 the village had 4,075 inhabitants.

 

History

Balk originated from a simple beam bridge over the Luts, hence the place name. This wooden beam bridge was later replaced. The place is first mentioned as Balc in 1491. In 1509 it was mentioned as toe balc, in 1520 as Wyckelderbalk and in 1573 as Balck. At first Balk belonged to Harich.

In 1585 Balk was looted by Spanish soldiers from Groningen. It became prosperous in the 18th century through the butter trade, and by the 19th century it had become an independent village.

Until January 1, 2014, Balk belonged to the municipality of Gaasterland-Sloten. It was the main town with the town hall of the municipality.

Religion
Balk traditionally had various religious communities. One of these was the Mennonite congregation in Balk, which was very strict in teaching. In the middle of the 19th century, a large group moved to the United States to settle there in the Goshen area, Indiana. A gable stone in Balk still reminds us of this old religious community.

At the end of the 17th century, a large number of Huguenots settled in Gaasterland. A Walloon church was established in Balk between 1684 and 1721.

The largest denomination is Protestantism. The Protestant municipality of Balk has about 1800 souls and has 2 church buildings: a monumental church on the Luts and a new (er) church building from 1982. The village also has a Catholic parish with a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Ludgerus.

From 1954 to 1986, almost all Ambonese Muslims lived in the Wyldemerck Moluccan camp (see History of the Moluccans in the Netherlands). The second mosque in the Netherlands was therefore built in Balk in 1956.