Twijnstra, Hendrik (1892–1945)

By Reinder Bruinsma


Reinder Bruinsma, Ph.D. (University of London), is a retired church administrator, scholar, and author. From September 2011 to early 2013 he served as the interim-president of the Adventist Church in Belgium and Luxembourg. Since then he has returned to his status as a retiree but remains active in preaching, lecturing, and writing.


First Published: January 29, 2020

Hendrik Twijnstra was a pioneer Seventh-day Adventist pastor and leader in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia).

Born in the Netherlands in 1892, Twijnstra went to Germany to study theology at the Friedensau Missionary Seminary (which was the normal route for Dutch Adventists who were interested in entering the ministry, as the church in the Netherlands did not operate an educational facility at that time). He began his career in the Adventist Church in the Netherlands after having finished his studies. He was ordained around 1923.1 Having served in his native country he responded to a call to work in the Netherlands East Indies (1929).2

At the time the work in the Netherlands and in Germany was organized in one union. The Netherlands East Indies, being a Dutch colony (until 1949), became a natural destination for Dutch and German missionaries.

Archaeologist Siegfried Horn was another of the workers who, a few years later, in 1932, also joined the missionary force in the Dutch East Indies. In 1933 Twijnstra was one of the pastors who participated in the marriage ceremony of Siegfried Horn and his wife in the mission field. The Netherlands East Indies Union experienced significant growth in the 1930s, from just over 2,100 to about 4.500 members.

From 1929 to 1934 Twijnstra served as a pastor in Djakarta on the island of Java. He then served as director of the West-Java Mission, then director of the North Celebes Mission (1937-1939), before moving to Sumatra to lead the North Sumatra Mission. At the beginning of World War II, Twijnstra, with his wife and two children, together with a few other missionaries and their families, was put in an internment camp by the Japanese occupying force in Pematang Siantor, North Sumatra.3 Hendrik Twijnstra died at age 53, only one day after the camp was liberated.4


“In Memoriam.” De Adventbode, October/November 1945.

“Interneringskamp Baros.” De Adventbode, October/November 1945.

Schell, H. E. R. “Indonesia during the war.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1, 1945.

Twijnstra, H. “In de Middellandsche Zee.” De Adventbode, July 1929.

Weekes, Peter. Nantje; Het Verhaal van dr. Nans Twijnstra. Phuket Bulletin, 2004.


  1. ‘In Memoriam’, De Adventbode, October/November 1945, 6.

  2. H. Twijnstra, “In de Middellandsche Zee,” De Adventbode, July 1929, 5.

  3. Peter Weekes, Nantje; Het Verhaal van dr. Nans Twijnstra (Phuket Bulletin, 2004), 22-29.

  4. ‘Interneringskamp Baros, De Adventbode, October/November 1945, 5; H. E. R. Schell, “Indonesia during the war,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, Vol 31-10, Dec. 1, 1945, 2.


Bruinsma, Reinder. "Twijnstra, Hendrik (1892–1945)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024.

Bruinsma, Reinder. "Twijnstra, Hendrik (1892–1945)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 24, 2024,

Bruinsma, Reinder (2020, January 29). Twijnstra, Hendrik (1892–1945). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024,