The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John (Sint-Janskathedraal) is probably the best sample of gothic architecture in the Netherlands. It has an extensive and richly decorated interior, and serves as the cathedral for the bishopric of 's-Hertogenbosch. The cathedral has a total length of 115 and a width of 62 metres. Its tower reaches 73 metres high.

Originally, the cathedral was built as a parish church and was dedicated to St. John Evangelist. In 1366 it became a collegiate church, and in 1559 it became the cathedral of the new diocese of 's-Hertogenbosch. After 1629, when the city was conquered by the Protestants and Catholicism was banned, a Protestant minority used the church, which came to be in a heavily dilapidated state. When Napoleon visited the town in 1810, he restored the building to the Catholics.

A Romanesque church used to stand on the spot where the St. John now resides. Its construction is thought to have started in 1220 and was finished in 1340. Around 1340, building began to extend the church, from which its current gothic style came. The transept and choir were finished in 1450. In 1505, the romanesque church was largely demolished, leaving only its tower. Construction of the gothic St. John was finished about the year 1525.

In the year 1584, a fire broke out in the high wooden crossing tower, more majestic than the current one. Soon the whole tower was set ablaze, and it collapsed upon the cathedral itself, taking with it much of the roof up to point where the organ was situated. In 1830, another fire damaged the western tower, which was repaired by 1842.

Underneath the clock tower there is a carillon. The clockwork can be found at the top of the Romanesque tower.

The first restoration of the cathedral lasted from 1859 to 1946. A second attempt at restoration was executed from 1961 to 1985. The third and most recent restoration started in 1998 and was completed in 2010, costing more than 48 million euro. Major parts of the building are once again covered by scaffolding erected for restoration of the outer stonework, but also, ironically, to remedy mistakes made by earlier restoration attempts.

The large organ in St. John's Cathedral is one of the most important organs of the Netherlands. The organ case of this organ is one of the most monumental of the Renaissance in the Netherlands. This organ has a long history that begins with the construction in the period 1618-1638 by Floris Hocque II, Hans Goltfuss and Germer van Hagerbeer. The rood loft and the organ case were built by Frans Simons, a carpenter who probably came from Leiden. The sculpture of the organ case was carved by Gregor Schysler from Tyrol, who, however, like Floris Hocque, was originally from Cologne.

The organ was renovated, expanded and improved in past centuries by several organ builders, according to the latest fashions. The last renovation took place in 1984 and was conducted by the Flentrop firm. The organ was restored to about the situation of 1787, as the German organ builder A.G.F. Heyneman left it. Use is made of many pipes of that era, but also of pipes from later periods. In late 2003 the organ was thoroughly cleaned.

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Founded: 1340
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

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User Reviews

Daniela McDonald (19 months ago)
This church is a WOW kinda place, it is under renovation now, but the visit was pleasant and definitely will be back to see this place again!
Yvette Alders (19 months ago)
We had a great experience. Our volunteer guide had great stories about the history of the cathedral!!
Malcolm Snelgrove (20 months ago)
St Jan's is a very large and impressive and old. Locals like to say that the Cathedral was already here while Amsterdam was a swamp! See if you can find out why the tower was restored differently then the rest Cathedral! In December until the 6th of January there is a very popular and large Christmas Nativity scene here.
Ryco Montefont Photography (2 years ago)
lBeautiful capital in the middle of the city my favourite city in poland of cause I have to say I have not been to the city season but I have the best experience in fact life experience in the box under construction we could not see the full potential of it and do not Go inside but i look at you pictures all in all it was a good experience. After this I bought plenty of stuff and fluffed about the wonderful Dutch woman. A day later revisited fan for two in Rotterdam.
Yilmaz Meric (2 years ago)
If somebody asks me which is my favourite city in the Netherlands, and believe me I have been to many of them as I live there, I will answer without any doubt – it is Den Bosch!  St John's Cathedral great architecture✝️
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