Bolland, Or Bollandns, John, a learned Jesuit, born in Limburg or in Brabant in 1596, died Sept. 12, 1665. In 1607 Heribert Rosweyd, a Jesuit of Antwerp, formed the design of collecting memoirs of the lives of all the saints; and this design being finally approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, Bolland was appointed to carry it into effect. At his request Godfrey Henschen was appointed in 1635 as his coadjutor. The plan pursued was chronological, taking up the saints in the order of the calendar, and the work was entitled Acta Sanctorum. The first two volumes, treating of the January saints, were published in 1643. The February saints, in three volumes, were completed in 1658. Bolland did not live to finish the March saints, although he prosecuted the work until his death. From Bolland the writers of the Acta Sanctorum, who have been appointed from time to time, have been designated as Bollandists. Five years before the death of Bolland the order appointed another colleague, Daniel Pape-broek, and the work went on until the March and April saints were completed, and 16 days of May, when Henschen died in 1681. Other successive appointments followed, until, with two interruptions (the first in 1773, when the order of Jesuits was abolished, and the second in the French revolution), the work reached 53 volumes.

It was then for a time suspended, but resumed in 1837, under the patronage of the Belgian government, which appropriated annually 6,000 francs for the continuation of the work. Among the principal Bollandists, besides those already named, were Baert, Jan-ning, Bosch, Suyskens, Hubens, Berthod, and Ghesquiere. The 60th volume was published in 1867, in which year the Belgian government withdrew its annual appropriation.