Medieval churches in Netherlands

Cunerakerk

During the Middle Ages Cunerakerk was an important pilgrimage site. The church has stored the relics of the Saint Cunera since the 8th century. The first church on site was dedicated to Petrus (before 11th century). In the 11th century the church was dedicated to Saint Cunera. A legend tells about her stay at the court of king Radboud in Rhenen. The church was built and enlarged in the 15th century. The tower was built fr ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rhenen, 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

Dorpskerk

The Dorpskerk of Ouddorp is completed in 1348 and situated in the towns centre. The tower is completed in 1508. Originally it was a Roman Catholic church. During the Reformation it became a Protestant church.
Founded: 1348 | Location: Ouddorp, 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

Broerekerk Ruins

The Broerekerk was built as part of a Franciscan monastery founded in 1270. The church was built in two phases, starting in 1281, and was probably completed in 1313, which makes it the oldest building in Bolsward. It"s a three-aisled pseudo-basilica in simple Gothic style. On the north side the gable of a pseudo-transept can just be seen. The facade is the richest part of the church, and is decorated with a climbing ...
Founded: 1281 | Location: Bolsward, Netherlands

Boazum Church

The Protestant church of Boazum or Saint Martin’s church is a late 12th century Romanesque church with inner walls of brick and outer walls of tuffstone with a 13th-century tower. It was built out of yellow and red brick. The choir is likely the oldest part of the building. The church was originally a Roman Catholic temple dedicated to Saint Martin, becoming a Protestant church after the Protestant Reformation.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Boazum, Netherlands

St. Lambert's Church

St. Lambert"s Church name of the church refers to Lambert of Maastricht, the Bishop of Maastricht. In the 12th century there was a church in Rosmalen, which was made of wood. In 1300 the church was made of Tuff, a stone which was used very common in these years. The tower of the church has its shape since 1430. The nave of the church was rebuilt in 1550. After the Siege of "s-Hertogenbosch, the church was used ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Rosmalen, Netherlands

St. Walfridus Church

St. Walfridus kerk was founded ca. 1050. Bedum became a place of pilgrimage because of the graves of martyrs Walfridus and Radfridus. Two churches were built, originally in wood. Nothing remains of the chapel of Radfridus, and the St. Walfridus church did not survive in good state either due to a downturn in pilgrimages after the 16th century. In ca. 1050 work started on a three-aisled cruciform basilica in Romanesque st ...
Founded: c. 1050 | Location: Bedum, 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

Jorwert Church

Saint Radboud’s church in Jorwert is an early 12th-century Romanesque church with a long round closed choir and a late 12th-century tower. The church is largely built of tuffstone. In 1951 the tower collapsed, soon after it, it was rebuilt. The monumental Pipe organ of the church was built in 1799 by Albertus van Gruisen.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Jorwert, 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

Damwâld-Dantumawâld Church

The Protestant church of Damwâld-Dantumawâld was built in the 12th century out of Tuffstone. In 1775 the current triple closed choir was built, in it are two large Romanesque windows. The tower dates from the 13th century and is built out of brick. The Pipe organ was built in 1777 by Albertus Antoni Hinsz.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Damwâld, Netherlands

Damwâld-Moarrewâld Church

The Protestant church of Damwâld-Moarrewâld is a Romanesque church built c. 1200 out of red brick with a straight closed choir dating from the early 16th century and a tower from the 13th century. The pipe organ was built in 1895 by Bakker & Timmenga.
Founded: 1200 | Location: Damwâld, Netherlands

Dronrijp Church

The reformed church of Dronrijp, originally named St. Salvius, is a one-aisled building with a polygonal choir. The original smaller Romanesque church was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1504. The northern wall of the nave still shows Romanesque details. The tower was built in 1544 and is in late-Gothic style. Unusual for this province is the presence of an octagonal upper part. In the 17th century portals in Classical style ...
Founded: 1504 | Location: Dronrijp, Netherlands

Oudega Church

The Romanesque Saint Agnes church in Oudega was built in the early 12th century out of tuffstone and has a tower from c. 1250. In the 14th century the church was lengthened with a straight closed choir The monumental Pipe organ was built in 1875 by L. van Dam & Zn. from Leeuwarden and expanded by Bakker & Timmenga in 1922.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Oudega, 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

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

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

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

Jistrum Church

Jistrum church was built in the 13th century, the tower is a little older and dates from c. 1230. The church was once a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Peter but was stripped of the Saints statues and painted/decorated walls in one week in 1581 during the Protestant Reformation and became a Protestant church. It is a well preserved and complete 13th century Romanesque church built of red brick. The church has a ...
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Jistrum, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.