Medieval churches in Netherlands

Middelburg Abbey Church

The Premonstratensian abbey in Middelburg was founded in 1127. Most of the buildings were destroyed by fire in 1492 and 1568. Today there are two adjacent churches, Koorkerk and Nieuwe Kerk. The Nieuwe Kerk dates from the 16th century, with the nearby Koorkerk abbey church dating from the 14th century. The octagonal tower, known as Lange Jan (Tall John), also originally dating from the 14th century but unfortunately has b ...
Founded: 1127 | Location: Middelburg, Netherlands

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael"s Church in Zwolle was first time mentioned in 765 AD and the Romanesque church was erected around 1200. The current three-aisled church was erected between 1406-1466. The massive tower collapsed in 1682. The church contains a richly carved pulpit, the work of Adam Straes van Weilborch (about 1620), some good carving and an exquisite organ (1721).
Founded: 1406-1466 | Location: Zwolle, Netherlands

Gytsjerk Church

Gytsjerk Saint Martin’s church is a late 12th century Romanesque church with a 19th-century facade. Over time the church was several times changed/converted but the North wall, South wall and choir show still beautiful signs of the Romanesque tuffstone church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gytsjerk, Netherlands

Bolsward Church

The Protestant church of Bolsward was renewed and enlarged between 1446 and 1461. The tower of the church was built in the 15th century and the gabled roof was added in the 17th century.
Founded: 1446-1461 | Location: Bolsward, Netherlands

Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren

The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren ("The Tower of Our Lady") is a Late Gothic church tower which is 98.33 metres tall and reaches high above the inner city. It"s one of the most eye-catching monuments in town and the third highest church tower in the Netherlands. The church that belonged to the tower was destroyed by a gunpowder explosion in the 18th century. The first chapel on site was constructed on this site i ...
Founded: 1444 | Location: Amersfoort, 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

Bears Church

The early Gothic nave of Saint Mary church in Bears was built in the 13th century and the quintuple closed choir dates from the 14th century, both are build out of yellow and red brick. In 1857 the original tower was replaced by a new one.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bears, Netherlands

St. Stephen's Church

St. Stephen"s Church dates probably from the 7th century AD, when bishop Kunibert of Cologne lead the campaign of spreading Christianity. It was enlarged and restored severaltimes during centuries, but the current exterior dates mainly from the 16th century. It was badly damaged in the Second World War but restored in 1969.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Nijmegen, Netherlands

Oentsjerk Church

Saint Mary church i Oentsjerk was built c. 1230 out of red brick and has a tower from the 14th century. On the West gallery is a monumental Pipe organ, built in 1871 by P. van Oeckelen.
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Oentsjerk, Netherlands

St. Nicholas Church

The Mountain Church or Saint Nicholas Church is a Romanesque basilica built between 1198 and 1209 and consecrated to Saint Nicholas. In the 15th century the Mountain Church underwent several renovations, which gave it a more late Gothic appearance. The two characteristic tower spires are built in that period. The lower part is still original. In 1580 the Dutch Reformed Church took the temple and renamed it the Mountain Ch ...
Founded: 1198-1209 | Location: Deventer, Netherlands

Susteren Abbey

Susteren Abbey is a former Benedictine abbey founded in the 8th century. Early in 714 Pepin of Herstal and his wife Plectrude sent Saint Willibrord letters of conveyance and protection for the monastery, permitting free election of abbots. The Benedictine foundation served as a refuge for the missionaries working in Friesia and the Netherlands. The abbey was destroyed by the Vikings in 882 and refounded as a house of secu ...
Founded: 714 AD | Location: Susteren, Netherlands

Buitenpost Church

The Protestant church of Buitenpost is a late Gothic church with a quintuple closed choir was built in the late 15th century. The tower of the church is much older and dates from c. 1200 it was heightened in the 16th century and has a tented roof. The monumental pipe organ was built in 1877 by L. van Dam & Zn.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Buitenpost, Netherlands

Bovenkerk

The Bovenkerk (also known as the Church of St. Nicholas) is a large Gothic church and the most striking element on the skyline of Kampen. The interior of the church contains an early-Renaissance choir screen, a stone pulpit and a monumental organ. The church has 1,250 seats. It is a Reformed church. The construction of the church took place in several phases. The 12th century Romanesque church was modified as Early Gothi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kampen, Netherlands

Gertrudiskerk

According the legend, the Gertrudiskerk was founded the church in 654 by Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, abbess of the abbey in Nivelles. The older part of the church consisting of the towers, dates to around 1370. These were later incorporated in probably the 14th and 15th century when changes were made to the church. The current church building, completed in 1477 was designed by Evert Spoorwater. He devised a new chancel wi ...
Founded: c. 1370 | Location: Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands

Grote Kerk

The Grote Kerk of Harderwijk is a gothic cross-basilica, dating from the 14th and 15th century. Around 1435 work started on building a tower for the new church, which took five years to finish. In 1560 and 1561, when the roof was repaired, Ewolt van Delft painted the vaults. His paintings concern unique biblical tales. In 1578, Reformation took place in Harderwijk, and from that moment on the church has only been used for ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Harderwijk, Netherlands

Zuiderkerk

Zuiderkerk is a two-aisled late Gothic church founded around 1423. It was mainly completed in 1458 and 75m high tower in 1524.
Founded: 1423 | Location: Enkhuizen, Netherlands

Westerkerk

Westerkerk was first time mentioned in 1311. The building of current three-aisled church began around 1470. The free-standing wooden bell tower from the was built after 1533 and is one of the few survived in Netherlands. The pulpit was built in 1566, organs in 1549 and choir in 1547. There are also tombs under the floor.
Founded: 1470 | Location: Enkhuizen, Netherlands

Rinsumageast Church

Saint Alexander’s church in Rinsumageast was built of tuffstone originally in the 11th century. The semicircular choir was built in the 12th century followed by the nave and the tower dates from the 13th century. Under the choir is a crypt, uniek for the north of the Nederlands. The church was enlarged in ca. 1525 with the replacement of the southern aisle by a new one. The monumental Pipe organ was built in 1892 by ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rinsumageast, 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

St. Andreas' Church

St. Andreas" Church (Grote of Andreaskerk) was originally built in 1225. The tower is the only part remaining of this church. The current church was built in the early 15th century. The Gothic nave was completed around 1425. The church has been restored and enlarged later. The pulpit was made in 1635. The font from the 13th century dates from the first church.
Founded: 1407-1425 | Location: Hattem, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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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.