The Kloosterkerk (or Cloister Church) was originally a monastery first built for the Dominicans in The Hague in 1397. A thriving new center of arts was established in The Hague by the Court of Albrecht of Bavaria (1336–1404) and his second wife Margaret of Cleves. Some known artistic products to have been produced in this period are an important illuminated manuscript, the Hours of Margaret of Cleves commissioned between 1395-1400, and the visually similar Biblia pauperum.
In 1420 a fire raged through the monastery, but serious renovations are not recorded until the church's southern transept was added in the beginning of the 16th century. The church was expanded around 1540 with an enlarged aisle and side chapels. The center barrel vaulted aisle is 20 meters high and 11.5 meters wide. The worship space became a pilgrimage church, where people could visit and pass through, while services were being held in the central aisle or nave. At this time the church was also dedicated to St. Vincent, a Valencian Dominican missionary who was canonized in 1455.
The church was stripped of Catholic decorations during the beeldenstorm (iconoclasm of 1566). A number of monks lived on for a few more years, but in 1574 the last few monks left. After being abandoned for 12 years, the church had deteriorated and some suggested to tear it down. In 1588 a cavalry company seeking shelter settled in the former church. The following year the church and choir were made into a cannon foundry for the States of Holland and West Friesland. The choir was used as a foundry and the church served as a munition store with the two walled off from each other. On November 3, 1690, the ammunition stored in the church exploded leaving only one wall of the monastery remaining. The monastery then temporarily served as a hospital. In 1583 most of the monastery was demolished, though the church remained.
A part of the building became a church again in 1617 after remonstrants had successfully 'squatted' it. In 1620 a mechanical clock was added to the tower, made by Huyck Hopcoper. For the centuries to follow the church was used for Dutch reformist worship with the pulpit standing against the north wall. Throughout the 17th century, the burial of people in the church brought money and numerous hatchments. Most walls and columns were covered with hatchments, with the graves predominantly in the choir.
Rosettes in the ceiling are attributed to Gerhard Jansen (1868–1956). Other furnishings include a pulpit of oak with Flemish carvings, circa 1700. Carvings on the pulpit show the Four Evangelists. Stained glass windows throughout the church are attributed to Lou Asperslagh (1893–1949). The first liturgical service of the Dutch Reformed Church was held in the Kloosterkerk in 1911 and an impending demolition avoided in 1912. For the next two years the dilapidated church building was restored. Subsequent improvements include restoration of furniture brought from the former Duinoord Kloosterkerk; and the wall between the nave and choir was removed. In 1966 an organ by Danish organ builder Marcussen was installed.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.