Religious sites in 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

Moses and Aaron Church

In the first centuries after the Reformation, the public display of Roman Catholic services and accessories was not tolerated – officially forbidden in 1660 – in Amsterdam. So in 1641 the Franciscans opened a house church, the second of its kind in the city, at a house called the 'Moyses' (Moses), at the back of the present church. In 1682, the house was joined by the neighboring house 'Aäron' (Aaron) with the purcha ...
Founded: 1837-1841 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

St. Catherine's Church

St. Catherine"s Church, built in 1861-1867, is probably the highlight in the first period of P.J.H. Cuypers" long and fruitful career. It"s a three-aisled cruciform basilican church with a three-aisled transept and a choir with an ambulatory and three hexagonal radiating chapels. At the front the church has three connected porches and two differently detailed towers. Its design was based on 13th-century Fre ...
Founded: 1861-1867 | Location: Eindhoven, 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

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

St. John's Church

Saint John’s Church is a Romanesque basilica was founded shortly after 1040 by Bishop Bernold and dedicated to John the Baptist. It was in the Middle Ages one of five collegiate churches of the city. Saint John’s Church was originally largely identical to the St Peter’s Church and the defunct church of Paul Abbey.
Founded: c. 1040 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

St. Eusebius' Church

St. Eusebius church is named after the 4th-century saint Eusebius, Bishop of Vercelli. On the site of the present building initially stood a church dedicated to St. Martinus but after some relics of St. Eusebius arrived in the town during the early part of the 15th century, it was decided to build a new church dedicated to the saint at the old site. This new structure gradually replaced the old building over the next cent ...
Founded: 1450 | Location: Arnhem, 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

Sint-Lambertuskerk

The Sint-Lambertuskerk was built between 1914 and 1916 and named after the Maastricht-born saint Lambert. At the time of its completion, it was the first church outside the old city wall. The church was designed by Hubert van Groenendael in neo-Romanesque style on a cruciform plan. The church was initially operated as a Roman Catholic parish church. Soon after its completion in 1916, subsidence cracks developed in the st ...
Founded: 1914-1916 | Location: Maastricht, 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 pulp ...
Founded: 1285 | Location: Dordrecht, 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

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

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

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

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

St. James' Church

The Jacobikerk is named after its patron saint St. James the Greater. The church is one of the medieval parish churches of Utrecht, along with the Buurkerk, the Nicolaïkerk and the Geertekerk. Today it is known as the starting place for Dutch pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella along the Way of St. James. The current gothic church dates from the end of the 13th century, but was expanded in the 14th and 15th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.