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

Rene Janssen (3 months ago)
Siteseeing Delft, the challenge is to climbing up the church-tower, and the rewards to have a amazing view over the city centre Delft. Stunning views, challenging steps to climb up.....have fun to discover Delft❤
Thomas Karanikas (4 months ago)
A wonderful place not yet visited from the inside
Manuel K (4 months ago)
Ask for English translation if you go for Dutch mass service. Very kind staff. They arrange ENglish bible & also with translator with headphone
George Skylark (4 months ago)
Amazing view at the Delft, Hague and everything that the weather let you see. 8euros to see both tower and church. I was amazed how much items has still remained here untouched.
Ashley Wilkinson (11 months ago)
Beautiful church that is also the resting place of the Dutch royal family (including Willem of Orange!) I would highly recommend climbing the tower at least once. Fair warning: It's a LOT of stairs, and it's also very narrow in places, with people going both up and down. But the view at the top is absolutely fantastic!!!
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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.