The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), formerly the church of St. Ursula (14th century), is the burial place of the princes of Orange. In 1584, William the Silent was entombed here in a mausoleum designed by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser. Since then members of the House of Orange-Nassau have been entombed in the royal crypt. The latest are Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The private royal family crypt is not open to the public. The church tower is the second highest in the Netherlands, after the Domtoren in Utrecht.

The Nieuwe Kerk is remarkable for its fine tower and chime of bells, and contains the splendid allegorical monument of William the Silent, executed by Hendrik de Keyser and his son Pieter about 1621, and the tomb of Hugo Grotius, born in Delft in 1583, whose statue, erected in 1886, stands in the market-place outside the church. The tower was built 1396-1496 by Jacob van der Borch, who also built the Dom in Utrecht during the years 1444-1475. The monument for Hugo de Groot was made in 1781. The mechanical clock has 18 bells by Francois Hemony from 1659 and 30 modern bells. In the church tower there is a bell from 1662 made by Francois Hemony.

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Founded: 1396
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Johan Schaeffer (2 years ago)
A unique impression of the royal family's eternal resting place
Shannon Zamouzaridis (2 years ago)
The stained glass windows
Ian Hughes (2 years ago)
An historic building full of history and insight into Dutch Royal family. Completely different from Catholic Cathedrals. An emphasis on the Word of God.
Cristina Brito (2 years ago)
This is the church in which several royal members of Netherlands are buried. The most famous mausoleum is William of Orange, it was amazing. The ticket for this church is also valid for the old church. I spent one and a half hours but wasn't enough to read all the history. Worth the visit.
Jason Chang (2 years ago)
Very picturesque square. Plenty of restaurants and cafes surrounding this place as you take in the atmosphere. If you're more interested in shopping, there are smaller independent stores too. You can find many cycling through this place especially students given the proximity of the university
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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.