St. John's Church (Sint-Janskerk), named after St.John the Baptist, was originally built as a baptistery for the St. Servatius Chapter of Maastricht. In 1633, after a period in which it functioned as an autonomous parish church, it came into the possession of the Dutch Reformed Church, established in 1632. This as a result of the capture of Maastricht from the Spanish army in 1632 by the troops of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands under the command of Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange. After the establishment of a state-church, i.e. the Dutch Reformed Church, all catholic churches had become protestant in the regions already conquered.
The Prince Bishop of Liège, the Duke of Brabant and Prince Frederik Hendrik agreed that in Maastricht in principle only smaller chapels should be handed over to the protestants. The bigger churches remained catholic, which was exceptional from a national point of view. However, already in 1633 the protestant chapels proved to be too small and after new discussions two churches, one of which was St.John's, came into the possession of the protestants. The first service of the Dutch Reformed Church took place on the 1st of January, 1634.
Since 1987 the church has been in the use of the 'Protestantse Gemeente St. Jan', a federation of two different reformed communities.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.