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:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.