There used to be a chapel on this spot for a long time, but it was often rebuild, until the church as it looks now (more or less) was finished in the 15th century. The tower has been rebuild afterwards a couple of times, it's 76 meters high now.
It is said that the river Aa formed a small harbour at the side of the Vismarkt around 1200. From that time there was a small church for fishermen on this place. In 1226 it was consecrated as: Kerk van Onze Lieve Vrouwe ter A. In 1246 it was dedicated to the Holy Mary and St Nicolas, patron saint of sailors. In the 15th century it was rebuilt in gotic style. It started with a new choir in 1425 and 40 years later the rest of the church was made the same height. Around1520 the entire interiour was renewed with beautifull frescos. In 1594 Groningen was rteformed and the roman catholic statues were removed from the church. In the night of 1 to 2 may 1671 lightning struck the tower and it burned down. The tower was rebuilt but not very good, it collapsed in 1710. In 1718 the new tower was ready it is a design of Allert Meijer. From 1975 to 1987 major restorations took place.
Today the church is called der Aa kerk, or simply a-kerk.
The church can be visited during expositions. or with an guided tour by appointment, call the number for info and prices.
Archaeologists suspect that, in the Middle Ages, the Drentse Aa river formed an inland harbour where the current Vismarkt is now located. At that time, a wooden church must have stood at this harbour, devoted to the patron saint of sailors. In 1226, the church was consecrated under its official name: Kerk van Onze Lieve Vrouwe ter A (Church of Our Lady of the Aa). The church was rebuilt in Gothic style in the fifteenth century.
The church is also famous in the Netherlands since A-Kerkhof, where the church is located, is a street you can buy on the Dutch version of Monopoly!
Another big gothic church is the Der-Aakerk, named like that because it was built near the river Aa. Note how the tower is in a totally different style compared to the rest of the church. This is because the original tower collapsed and destroyed part of the nave. As the remaining part of the church was still big enough a new tower was built on the place were the missing traves of the nave had been.
The Der Aa-kerk, or simply A-kerk, is a Gothic church that in catholic times was dedicated to Mary and St. Nicolaas. An originally Romanogothic church was rebuilt into a Gothic one, of which the tower and part of the nave collapsed in 1710, after which these parts were replaced by the current, colourful tower.