Medieval churches in 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

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

Buurkerk

The Buurkerk is a former medieval parish church. It is documented as being burned in in 1131, 1173, 1253 and 1279. The tower dates from 1370, but was never finished. In 1577 a cannon was installed in the church tower, aimed at Vredenburg (castle) where the Spanish soldiers there were under siege by the Utrecht schutters. Around 1580 the church endured the protestant reformation and in 1586 it was formally handed over to t ...
Founded: 1279 | Location: Utrecht, 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

Martinikerk

The Martinikerk (Martin"s church) is the oldest church in Groningen. The church and its associated tower (the Martinitoren) are named after Saint Martin of Tours (316–397), the patron saint of the Bishopric of Utrecht to which Groningen belonged. The church was a cathedral for a short period during the first bishopric of Groningen (1559–1594). The origins of the Martinikerk are a cruciform church built i ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Groningen, Netherlands

Grote Kerk

The Grote Kerk or St. Bavokerk is a former Catholic cathedral located on the central market square in the Dutch city of Haarlem. This church is an important landmark for the city of Haarlem and has dominated the city skyline for centuries. It is built in the Gothic style of architecture, and it became the main church of Haarlem after renovations in the 15th century made it significantly larger than the Janskerk. First men ...
Founded: 1479 | Location: Haarlem, Netherlands

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk is a Protestant church and only remnant of the medieval city of Rotterdam. The church was built between 1449 and 1525. In 1621 a wooden spire was added to the tower, designed by Hendrick de Keyser. Poor quality of its wood caused the spire to be demolished in 1645. A stone cube was added to the tower, which proved too heavy for the foundation in 1650. New piles were driven under the tower and in ...
Founded: 1449-1525 | Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands

Basilica of Saint Servatius

The present-day Basilica of Saint Servatius is probably the fourth church that was built on the site of the grave of Saint Servatius, an Armenian missionary who was bishop of Tongeren and died allegedly in 384 in Maastricht. A small memorial chapel on the saint's grave was replaced by a large stone church built by bishop Monulph around 570. This church was replaced by a larger pilgrim church in the late 7th century, which ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Maastricht, 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 Provinc ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Maastricht, Netherlands

Grote Kerk

The Grote Kerk (Church of Our Lady) is the most important monument and a landmark of Breda. The first notice of a stone church in Breda is from 1269. In 1410, the construction of the church started with the choir. In 1468, the church was ready but in 1457 the old tower collapsed and between 1468 and 1509 the current tower was built. They continued building until 1547 when the church was finished in its current shape. In ...
Founded: 1410 | Location: Breda, Netherlands

St. John's Cathedral

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John (Sint-Janskathedraal) is probably the best sample of gothic architecture in the Netherlands. It has an extensive and richly decorated interior, and serves as the cathedral for the bishopric of "s-Hertogenbosch. The cathedral has a total length of 115 and a width of 62 metres. Its tower reaches 73 metres high. Originally, the cathedral was built as a parish church and was dedi ...
Founded: 1340 | Location: 's-Hertogenbosch, 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

St. John's Church

The Sint Janskerk (St. John's Church) is a large Gothic church, known especially for its stained glass windows, for which it has been placed on the UNESCO list of Dutch monuments. The church is dedicated to John the Baptist, the patron saint of Gouda, and was built during the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1552 a large part of the church burned, including the archives. Most information of the early period is taken from the ...
Founded: 1485 | Location: Gouda, 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

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

Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk

The Groote Kerk of St. James (15th and 16th centuries) has a fine vaulted interior, and contains some old stained glass, a carved wooden pulpit (1550), a large organ and interesting sepulchral monuments, and some escutcheons of the knights of the Golden Fleece, placed here after the chapter of 1456. It is remarkable for its fine tower and chime of bells, and contains the cenotaph monument of Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam, de ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hague, Netherlands

Basilica of Our Lady

The present-day Basilica of Our Lady is probably not the first church that was built on this site. However, since no archeological research has ever been carried out inside the building, nothing certain can be said about this. The church"s site, inside the Roman castrum and adjacent to a religious shrine dedicated to the god Jupiter, suggests that the site was once occupied by a Roman temple. It is not unlikely that the t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Maastricht, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.

After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.