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 city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.