Medieval churches in Netherlands

Great Church

The Great Church (Grote Kerk) dates from the 15th century. Prior to the Protestant Reformation it was named for St. Vitus. It survived the Spanish invasion of 1572 and the subsequent burning of the town. The church has numerous wooden vaults that are painted with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. These were hidden for many years and were only rediscovered in a recent restoration. The church is the venue for a number ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Naarden, Netherlands

Valkhof

The Valkhof is on a hill overlooking the river. It is the site of a former Charlemagne fortification and the surviving Carolingian elements are quite modest. There are two buildings with a Carolingian element. The first is an octogon chapel built in the style of Aachen in the 8th or 9th century. The initial building was constructed about 1000 and rebuilt about 1400. It used material from Charlemagne"s fortification a ...
Founded: c. 1000 AD | Location: Nijmegen, 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

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

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

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter's Church (Petruskerk) was originally a wooden church, which was burnt down in 1202. The stone church was built in the 13th century. It has been enlarged and several times like in 1492-1509. After the Reformation in 1572 all sculptures and altars were removed from church. During the French Invasion 1672 the church was badly damaged by fire.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Woerden, 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

St. Martin's Church

Like many churches in Friesland, St. Martin"s Church was built on a terp, a heightened piece of land to protect whatever was on it from floods. Several churches had been standing on this spot before this one, although the terp had been at least two metres lower when the first church was built. The current church dates from the early 15th century and was named St. Martinus until the Reformation of 1580, when it was co ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dokkum, 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

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

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

Munsterkerk

Munsterkerk, built in the 13th century, is the most important example of Late Romanesque architecture in the Netherlands. It was built as part of Cistercian Munster Abbey, a nunnery founded around 1218 by count Gerard III van Gelre. The oldest part of the church is a choir which was influenced by German cathedrals in Cologne, Speyer etc. The nave was probably built between 1220 and 1244. The church was restored by Pierre ...
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Roermond, 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

St. Peter's Church

At an impressive 80m, Saint Peter"s spire is the tallest church tower in the south of Limburg and it"s also called the Grote Kerk, or Big Church, by locals. This Gothic cruciform house of worship was built in 1292 and boasts a prominent peak and layered walls made of brick and marlstone. Despite some adversity in its past, including a fire set by French troops in 1677 and a lightning strike in 1857, the church i ...
Founded: 1292 | Location: Sittard, Netherlands

Broederenkerk

Broederenkerk is a Roman Catholic church built between 1335-1338 to the site of earlier abbey. In the 16th century it was moved as a Reformed church by Calvinists, but returned to Catholic in 1799.
Founded: 1335-1338 | Location: Deventer, Netherlands

Grote Kerk

The medieval Grote Kerk originates from the 11th century. It is a church in the Brabantine Gothic style with an unfinished tower and is the second oldest church in the city. The oldest part of the current church, St. Mary"s chapel, dates from 1285. The current church was built mainly between 1367 and 1504. The interior represents Renaissance style and dates from 1538-1541. The choir was built in 1744 and overwhelming ...
Founded: 1285 | Location: Dordrecht, Netherlands

Lebuïnuskerk

The Great Church or St. Lebuinus Church is a Gothic hall church, built between 1450 and 1525. Originally consecrated to the English missionary Lebuinus, it was one of the most distinguished churches of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Utrecht. In 1580 the temple was taken by the Calvinists, who completely eliminated the interior decoration and renamed it the Great Church. Nowadays the temple belongs to the Protestant Chu ...
Founded: 1450-1525 | Location: Deventer, Netherlands

Burgum Church

The tuffstone edifice of Burgum Church was built c. 1100 and was enlarged about a century later. It was again enlarged about a century after that and possesses a monumental Pipe organ that was built from 1783-1788 by L. van Dam & Zn. from Leeuwarden.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Burgum, Netherlands

Grote Kerk

The Grote Kerk was built between 1470–1498 by Anthonius Keldermans. It is dedicated to St Lawrence contains the tomb of Floris V, Count of Holland (d. 1296), a brass of 1546, and some paintings (1507). The mechanical clock has 27 bells by Melchior de Haze (1600s), and 8 modern bells. The tower bell was made by Jan Moer in 1525, with a diameter or 130 cm. The two organs are world-famous. The smaller one, called the ...
Founded: 1470-1498 | Location: Alkmaar, Netherlands

Ter Apel Monastery

Ter Apel Monastery is the only monastery in the larger area of Friesland and Groningen that survived the Reformation in a decent condition, and the only remaining rural monastery from the Middle Ages in the Netherlands. The convent buildings house a museum for monastery and church history and for religious art, as well as two contemporary art galleries. The former lay church of the monastery still functions as a reformed ...
Founded: 1464 | Location: Ter Apel, Netherlands

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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.