Medieval churches in Netherlands

English Reformed Church

The English Reformed Church is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. It is home to an English-speaking congregation which is affiliated to the Church of Scotland and to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. The Begijnhof, an enclosed courtyard, was a 14th-century residence for the sisterhood of the Catholic Beguines, and the church was originally established as their chapel. It was confiscated from the Catholic la ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Grou Church

Saint Peter"s church in Grou was built in the first half of the 13th century out of tuffstone. Already in the 13th century the church was heightened. In the 15th century the church was lengthened to the west and heightened for the second time with brick. The current tower dates from the early 15th century. The monumental Pipe organ was built in 1853 by L. van Dam & Zn. from Leeuwarden.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Grou, Netherlands

Goutum Church

On the north side of Saint Agnes church in Goutum remnants of the an older tufa church from the 11th century or 12th century can be seen. The church was enlarged and heightened with brick in the 15th century and has a tower from the same century. The church was originally a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Agnes, becoming a Protestant church after the Protestant Reformation.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Goutum, Netherlands

Den Burg Church

The Reformed church of Den Burg was built around 1400 on the boulder foundations of a Romanesque church. During the uprising of the Georgians at the end of the Second World War, the church was severely damaged. The striking building was restored immediately after the war.
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Den Burg, Netherlands

Deinum Church

The Protestant church of Deinum or Saint John the Baptist church is an early 13th-century building with a tower that dates from 1550-1567. The historic pipe organ was built in 1865 by Willem Hardorff from Leeuwarden.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Deinum, Netherlands

Maria Magdalenakerk

The Grote (Great) or Maria Magdalenakerk is a late-Gothic cruciform basilica replaced an earlier church built in the 12th century which probably stood at the location of the nave of the current church. In the 15th century, when Goes transformed from a village into a town, the church was extended to the east. Between 1455 and 1470 the choir was rebuilt. Originally a hall-choir seems to have been intended, consisting of thr ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Goes, Netherlands

St. John's Church

Saint John’s Church is a Romanesque basilica was founded shortly after 1040 by Bishop Bernold and dedicated to John the Baptist. It was in the Middle Ages one of five collegiate churches of the city. Saint John’s Church was originally largely identical to the St Peter’s Church and the defunct church of Paul Abbey.
Founded: c. 1040 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Thorn Abbey Church

Thorn Abbey Church is a Gothic church built mainly in the 14th century. The Benedictian abbey was originally founded in 975 by bishop Ansfried. The oldest parts in the western part date from c. 1150. The abbey was closed in 1797 and after that its church has server as a parish church. It was restored in 1860-1881 by Pierre Cuypers. There is a famous mummy located in the glass sarcophagus in the church crypt. The rich int ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Thorn, Netherlands

Der Aa-kerk

Originally there was a chapel situated on the site of the current Aa-kerk church. This chapel was devoted to Mary and to Saint Nicholas, the patron of the bargees who cast off the vessels at the Westerhaven. In 1247, the chapel became the parish church and was named Onze Lieve Vrouwe ter Aa (Our Lady at the Aa) - Aa being the nearby river. Groningen had two centers at the time. One of them was around the chapel. Here liv ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Groningen, Netherlands

Wyns Church

The nave and quintuple closed choir of Saint Vitus Church in Wyns date from c. 1200 and are built out of red brick. The building has a tower that dates from the 13th century and a pipe organ that was built in 1899 by Bakker & Timmenga from Leeuwarden.
Founded: 1200 | Location: Wyns, Netherlands

St. Peter's Church

The Pieterskerk (St. Peter"s Church) is one of the oldest in Utrecht. Its construction began in 1039 and it was inaugurated on 1 May 1048 by Bernold, Bishop of Utrecht (although the lost west towers were probably only finished about a century after the inauguration). Characteristic of the Romanesque style in which it is built are the church"s large nave pillars, each hewn from one piece of red sandstone, and the ...
Founded: 1039-1048 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Nieuwe Kerk

After the Oude Kerk ('Old Church') grew too small for the expanding population of the town, the bishop of Utrecht in 1408 gave permission to build a second parish church in Amsterdam. The Nieuwe Kerk ('new church') was consecrated to St. Mary and St. Catharine. The church was damaged by the city fires of 1421 and 1452 and burned down almost entirely in 1645, after which it was rebuilt in Gothic style. ...
Founded: 1408 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk ('old church') is Amsterdam’s oldest building, founded ca. 1213. Over time, this structure was replaced by a stone church that was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. The church stood for only a half-century before the first alterations were made; the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. Not long ...
Founded: 1213 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

St. Martin's Cathedral

St. Martin"s Cathedral or Dom Church was the cathedral of the bishopric of Utrecht during the Middle Ages. The first chapel dedicated to Saint Martin in Utrecht was founded around 630 by Frankish clergy under the patronage of the Merovingian kings but was destroyed during an attack of the Frisians on Utrecht shortly thereafter. The site of this first chapel within Utrecht is unknown. Saint Willibrord (died 739), the ...
Founded: 1023/1254 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

St. James' Church

The Jacobikerk is named after its patron saint St. James the Greater. The church is one of the medieval parish churches of Utrecht, along with the Buurkerk, the Nicolaïkerk and the Geertekerk. Today it is known as the starting place for Dutch pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella along the Way of St. James. The current gothic church dates from the end of the 13th century, but was expanded in the 14th and ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

St. Nicholas' Church

The St Nicholas" Church is a medieval parish church from the 12th century that was reconstructed in the 15th century into a gothic church. An unusual feature is the 14th century cupola painting in the crossing with its ornamental and geometric shapes.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

St. Eusebius' Church

St. Eusebius church is named after the 4th-century saint Eusebius, Bishop of Vercelli. On the site of the present building initially stood a church dedicated to St. Martinus but after some relics of St. Eusebius arrived in the town during the early part of the 15th century, it was decided to build a new church dedicated to the saint at the old site. This new structure gradually replaced the old building over the next cent ...
Founded: 1450 | Location: Arnhem, Netherlands

Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk (Old Church), nicknamed Oude Jan ('Old John'), is a Gothic Protestant church founded as St. Bartholomew"s Church in the year 1246, on the site of previous churches dating back up to two centuries earlier. The layout followed that of a traditional basilica, with a nave flanked by two smaller aisles. The most recognizable feature of the church is a 75-meter-high brick tower that leans about two ...
Founded: 1246 | Location: Delft, Netherlands

Nieuwe Kerk

The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), formerly the church of St. Ursula (14th century), is the burial place of the princes of Orange. In 1584, William the Silent was entombed here in a mausoleum designed by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser. Since then members of the House of Orange-Nassau have been entombed in the royal crypt. The latest are Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The private royal family crypt is not ...
Founded: 1396 | Location: Delft, Netherlands

St. John's Church

St. John"s Church (Sint-Janskerk), named after St.John the Baptist, was originally built as a baptistery for the St. Servatius Chapter of Maastricht. In 1633, after a period in which it functioned as an autonomous parish church, it came into the possession of the Dutch Reformed Church, established in 1632. This as a result of the capture of Maastricht from the Spanish army in 1632 by the troops of the Seven United Pr ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Maastricht, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.