The Hutterites

Hutterite girl Hutterites are Anabaptist cousins of the Amish who share certain traits in common, including plain dress, the practice of social shunning, and adult baptism.  They differ in a few key areas, including technology–Hutterites accept a wide array of technologies, including the automobile, but especially those that help increase yield on the wide parcels of land they farm.

While Amish live in individual homes next to non-Amish neighbors, Hutterites live in isolated compounds.  By essentially removing themselves physically from the outside world, they feel they are able to better hold worldly influences at bay.

Hutterites also practice community of goods, while Amish individuals and families manage their own finances and possess private property.  Hutterites in contrast have few personal possessions, and colony assets are held in common.  Colony members are not paid, and colony finances are managed by a ‘colony boss’.

With a population of approximately 50,000, Hutterites are one of the larger Old Order groups.


After the response to the Trouble in Amish Paradise documentary, I thought you might enjoy the documentary on Hutterites (see below).  It’s old–made in 1964–but an interesting half-hour introduction to the Hutterite people.  Hutterites reside in Canada and the Upper Midwest, having originally arrived in America from Europe in the 1870s. The documentary examines an Alberta Hutterite community.

image credit: ualberta.ca

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    17 Comments

    1. I have heard of the hutterites but didn’t know much about them at all. Thanks for the post!

      1. Amy Beth

        Question for Ozark Michelle

        I have really enjoyed seeing your handiwork and pictures! My best friend was born in Nevada MO. Also I see you wearing a black cap or head covering- is that also crocheted? I know some Mennonite ladies in PA used to wear a black crocheted head covreing, and I would love to find this pattern. Any ideas?

    2. juan carlos

      is the link to view the documentary not working for anyone else?

    3. Matthew

      There is an excellent overview of the Hutterites, Amish and Mennonites in the book “On the Backroad to Heaven”, which takes time to compare the similarities and differences between the various groups. I highly recommend it.

    4. Glad you liked it Michelle, Juan Carlos I just checked it and it is still working on this end…Matthew that is a good one, I second the recommendation!

    5. Great documentary, even if it is does evoke memories from my childhood. Not that I am from a Hutterite community, but because I haven’t seen cars and trucks like that in quite a while!

      Erik, do you have any information on how many “plain people” of all denominations, orders, etc there are in total in North America? The world?

      Thanks,
      OldKat

    6. Oldkat those were some fine vehicles. You know, I don’t have it offhand, but let’s see: 230,000 Amish, 50,000 Hutterites, maybe 30,000 Old Order Mennonites, Old Colony Mennonites that is a bit harder, I don’t have a number in front of me but it was 40,000 in Mexico alone in 1988, if they double every 20 years that would make roughly 80K in Mexico, plus populations in other countries, I’d guess at least 100K or more, but that is a very rough guess…then you have other smaller groups, German Baptists, Brethren, but those aren’t big numbers…Amish, Hutterites, OOMs and OCMs would be the main ones, unless I’m totally missing something…so looking at the above, maybe a total pop of 400-450,000 plain people?

      Well, this may not be too accurate as it’s back-of-the-napkin but maybe it’s a start

    7. Those are meant to be total pop estimates, baptized and non-baptized which I guess is what you meant..

    8. Rick

      Another excellent, educational choice, Erik. Other than the name, I had no knowledge on this group.

      Off-topic question but but the opening scene makes me ask… do the Amish wear contact lenses?

    9. Glad you found it interesting Rick!–can’t make universal statements but offhand, have bumped into contacts before, in Lancaster for example–but more doubtful in more conservative communities

    10. Sam

      Has it already been taken down? It says only transcripts are available?

    11. Sam I have no problem accessing it from the link–it is hosted on a Canadian site and I am currently in Poland–I don’t know if geography would be an issue but I am aware that people stateside, if that is where you are, have been able to access it at the above link. If not try a search for ‘hutterite documentary’ and that may yield results–hope you can view it!

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    13. Carol Wong

      I loved the video. It reminded me so much of my grandmother. She always said that the blood of martyrs flows in our veins, and she used to view work in exactly the same way as in the film.

      CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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    15. Carolyn B

      Just watched this video that was referred to in Erik’s 6/5/2012 blog. I still can’t believe I sat through the whole 28 minutes; I’m not patient on the computer. Very interesting & entertaining. Thanks for the info always, Erik.

    16. Debbie

      I loved the National Geographic special on the Hutterites. I know there was some contraversey surrounding it but I loved those people and seeing their everyday struggles, different but just like the rest of us.