Medieval churches in Netherlands

Grote of Jacobijnerkerk

Grote of Jacobijnerkerk is the largest medieval church in Leeuwarden, built between 1275-1310. It was originally part of the Dominican abbey. It was badly damaged by fire in 1392. The large southern hall was added in the late 15th century and the nave enlarged in the early 16th century. The organs were made by famous Christian Müller in 1727.
Founded: 1275-1310 | Location: Leeuwarden, Netherlands

Hantumhuizen Church

Hantumhuizen Saint Anne"s church was built in the first half of the 13th century out of red brick in Romano-Gothic style. The tower dates from c. 1200 and the quintuple closed choir date from the 18th century. The Pipe organ was built in 1907 by Bakker & Timmenga.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Hantumhuizen, Netherlands

Nicolaïkerk

The Nicolaïkerk is a Romano-Gothic hall church built in 1225. It was enlarged several times during the following centuries. The current bell tower dates from 1835. The church has a rare organs built in 1744 by Albertus Antoni Hinsz. There are also medieval frescoes in the walls, which were revealed in the 1950s.
Founded: 1225 | Location: Appingedam, Netherlands

St. Peter and Paul Church

The church of Saints Peter and Paul (Petrus en Pauluskerk) was built in 1217. The single-nave Romanesque church was rebuilt several times during the next three centuries. The organs date from 1562 and pulpit from 17th century. There are also several tombs from the 16th and 17th centuries in the church. Walls were decorated with murals in the late 15th century.
Founded: 1217 | Location: Loppersum, Netherlands

Eastermar Church Ruins

The former Protestant church of Eastermar was demolished in 1868. Today only the medieval tower from the 13th century remains. The church is surrounded by a graveyard. Next to the tower stands a grave diggers building. The mechanical clockwork in the tower was made by the Gebr. van Bergen from Midwolda, Groningen in 1924.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eastermar, Netherlands

Dearsum Church

Saint Nicholas church in Dearsum is a Romanesque church from c. 1200 with a 13th-century tower build out of red brick. In the 16th century four large windows where added to the south side. The Pipe organ was built in 1895 by the Gebroeders Ademaand was restored in 1916 and 1983 by Bakker & Timmenga.
Founded: 1200 | Location: Dearsum, Netherlands

Basilica of St. Plechelm

The basilica of St. Plechelm is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the 8th-century Irish monk Saint Plechelm, whose festival on 15 July has been on the calendar of the medieval diocese of Utrecht ever since his canonisation in the 10th century. The oldest parts of the existing building date from the middle and the second half of the 12th century, but the history of the church goes back to the 8th century, when the trav ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Oldenzaal, 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

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

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

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

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.