St. John's Church

Gouda, Netherlands

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 diaries of Ignatius Walvis. Around 1350 a tower was built (only the lower part remains). In 1485 the foundation was built for the present-day choir. This expansion made the church the longest in the Netherlands, with a length of 123 meters.

The stained glass windows were made and installed primarily by the brothers Dirk and Wouter Crabeth I, in the years 1555-1571, and after a short stop for the Protestant Reformation, until 1603. During the Reformation the church was spared, because the city fathers sided with the reigning king Philip II of Spain, rather than William the Silent, representing the Orange rebels. Later, after the orangists conquered the northern half of Holland, Gouda reverted to Orange in 1572. It was only during this period that the church was in danger, and three weeks later an angry mob stormed the church and plundered the contents, but fortunately left the windows intact. The church was closed, but many wealthy regents of the city attempted to have it reopened. In 1573 the Gouda council prohibited the practise of Roman Catholic religion and in the summer it was opened for the Protestant Dutch Reformed faith, which it still has today.

In 1934 the Van der Vorm chapel was added to house the 7 regulierenglazen from the monastery in the town of Stein in Limburg.

In 1939 the stained glass was removed in anticipation of war with Germany. Later during the war, in 1944, when 51,000 men were called for service from Schiedam and Rotterdam, about 2800 were marched to Gouda, where they spent the night in this church on November 10.

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Founded: 1485
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sunny Honey Miami (9 months ago)
Famous for its 72 stained glass windows, this Gothic icon is the longest church in the Netherlands. The organ was playing while visiting the church. It's a must see in the city of Gouda.
Cedric Ferre (10 months ago)
Let’s get that straight, I hate to have to pay to enter in a church, that’s my general rule, and still I rate my experience here 5 stars. It’s a must to visit to get a deeper in the history of the country through the eyes of the Gouda’s windows friends. More than a church this is a museum, the audio guide is particularly well design and the explanations are very detailed.
M Prins (10 months ago)
Well curated audio tour, friendly staff… and what a building! They really focus on the stories and history of the stained glass windows—the most of any church in the Netherlands, I believe! I was lucky enough to be there while musicians practices the piano and flute, too!
Lisa Whelpley (11 months ago)
would say this is just a “maybe” to visit, because it’s nice but nothing’s really extraordinary. You get an audio guide with ear buds to listen to explanations in your language, but the machines are kind of clunky. Bathrooms were clean but overall the church stinks, like a damp attic.
Julia M (11 months ago)
An incredible place with strong energy. Greatness and uniqueness at every step. Entrance is paid, but it's worth it!
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