Like in so many other towns and villages here in the Netherlands the religious buildings or structures seem to overpower and draw you into the old city center. Here in Delft, the Nieuwe Kerk with its bell towers is the dominant one.
This is what I found in Wikpedia...
"In 1584, William the Silent was entombed here in a mausoleum designed by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser. Since then members of the House of Orange-Nassau have been entombed in the royal crypt. The latest are Princess (Queen of the Netherlands from 1948-1980) Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The royal crypt is not open to the public."
Located on the market square of delft directly across from the City hall, the Nieuwe Kerk and it towerhas make a mark on the skyline for centuries. The tower of the kerk rises to almost 109 metres and this height is only exceeded by the Domtoren in Utrecht.
For many centuries, members of the Royal house have been interred in the the catacombs below the church. Situated above the royal crypts is the Mausoleum for Prince William of Orange who was murdeed in1584. The Kerk is also home to many other memorial stones including that of Hugo the Great.
The windows have been damaged and replaced through the years and most recently completely replaced following WWII (1939-1944).
At Nieuwe Kerk we saw the tomb of Willem of Orange, the memorial that VT member ATLC had told us about when we visited her in Brielle.
After Willem was assassinated by a Spanish spy in 1584, his dog (who had once saved his life by alerting him to the presence of an intruder) refused to eat and simply pined away. When the tomb was designed, the sculptor decided to memorialize the faithful dog along with his master.
The stained glass windows in Nieuwe Kerk were especially lovely, with the rich, deep colors of precious stones: ruby, topaz, amethyst, garnet.
The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is on the Markt and dates back to 1496. This church has the royal vault where the members of the royal family rest in peace.
You can also climb the 108 metre high tower but the church is closed on Sundays.
The new church is a church in late gothic style built in 1381. It houses the royal vault (not open for public) where almost all members of the Orange family are buried. Other items of interest are the stained glass windows, showing different aspects of dutch history and an exposition about the history of the royal family. The tomb of William the Silent (het praalgraf) is very impressive. Among others, also Hugo de Groot has an oustanding monument tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk.
The entry fee is 2,50 EUR and you can visit the tower for an additional fee of 50 cents. However, it is recommended to show up early, for visitng the tower as well as for the church itself. The number of visitors for the tower is limited and there are also large queues for the church. With the ticket for the new church, you can visit the old church (oude kerk) for free (and vice versa).
In 1609 the States General gave the order for the construction of a mausoleum in honour of Prince William of Orange. This was built between 1614 and 1623by master builder and sculptor Hendrick de Keyser. The mausoleum was drastically renovated in the period between 1997 and 2001 as the marble had been seriously damaged by salts.
The statue of the dead Prince is carved from white marble and is lying on a bed carved from the same block of marble. At his feet lies his faithful dog, who, according to legend, refused to eat or drink after the death of his master.
A white marble STATUE OF KING WILLIAM I can be seen close to the Mausoleum of the Prince William V. Engraved on the pedestal is a verse from the Book of Wisdom. The King himself is depicted in a semi-recumbent attitude, resting against a lion, also carved from marble.
Just above it, against the wall of the Church, a relief in white marble commemorates William George Frederick
The STAINED GLASS WINDOWS in the Nieuwe Kerk have been destroyed twice. The first time this happened was when a fire raged through the city in May 1536. The windows were destroyed a second time by an explosion in a Delft gunpowder factory in October 1654. It took almost three centuries for new stained glass windows to be installed, during which time the windows were partly bricked up and partly fitted with ordinary glass.
The accompanying picture is of THE ZEELAND WINDOW. Coats of arms of the Prince of Orange, as Marquis of Veere and Vlissingen, of the Province of Zeeland and a number of towns in Zeeland. Designed by Georg Reuter.
For an additional 2 Euro you'll have the chance to climb all the way up to the tower of the New Church. 365 steps will take you to the breathtaking view on Delft. On a clear day you'll be able to see The Hague and it's "skyscrapers".
Climbing up the stairs is not easy. The serpantine stairs are very tiny and only one person at a time can walk. This is another reason why only 60 people are allowed to be at the tower at one time. The balcony on the top is also very tiny and can't accommodate many people. Some steps are still the same as they used to be when the church was built i.e. made of wood. It's kinda scary. Also, by the time you'll get to the top your head will be spinning, maybe it's a good idea to bring some water with you.
On your way downstairs you'll be meeting exhausted people making their way up and asking you how much longer they have to suffer :) Nice, once a life experience, but I'll never climb those stairs again.
Besides the Royal Thomb and the Gravemonument of William of Orange, the New Church offers more. There is a permanent exposition of religious items from the Netherlands, such as a State Bible. This translation of the original Bible was the first without a double interpretation, such as the first modern bibles were. In the Netherlands the bible got transalted direct from copies of the Dead Sea scroles and so not from interpreted versions in Latin. Furthermore remarkable are the glass-in-lead windows that show biblical scenes as well as memorable events from the royalties in the House of Orange and the Dutch history.
In 1536, the high tower of the New church became the doom of Delft. Lightning struch during a fierce storm and not only the tower was damaged heavily, but everything in Delft Westwards from the church burned down to the ground in the great fire of Delft. The initial apple on top (symbol of infinity) was replaced by a peak, that as well got struck by lightning in 1872. Only then the present top section of the tower was constructed, reaching a height of 108,75 metres and making it the second highest church within the Netherlands (only the Dom in Utrecht reaches closer to heaven with 114 metres). 356 steps lead to the higher ground from where a spectacular view over Delft can be seen.
History recalls the following legend that stood at the basis of the construction of the New Church:
In Januari 1351 brother Symon (a strange beggar) meets Jan Col, that wanted to bring him some food. Symon mumbles to Jan Col "Don't you see the heaven's opening?" and both look up onto a shining golden church, devoted to holy mother Mary. Shortly after Symon dies, but every time that Jan Col is on the Market, he sees this golden church rising in front of his eyes, bathing in light. He descides that a church should be built here and two "Begijntjes" support him in this idea. After some persuations, the city governement allow it and constructions of a wooden church start. The New Church was a fact and later became larger, higher and more significant then the excisting Old Church. The wooden church always has been devoted to Lady Mary (in Dutch "Maria"), but the basilica came under protection of the holy saint Ursula.
And here we stand in front of a rising tower and an enormous church. The most remarkable building on the Markt as well as inside the town of Delft itself, is for sure the "Nieuwe Kerk" (New Church). It's significant two coloured tower is visible from The Hague as well as from Rotterdam and attracts many people to Delft, not in the last place, Dutch people that hold the royal family close to their heart (and most Dutch do). In the crypt underneth the church are the graves of the members of the Royal House of Orange. The church was the second in Delft and therefore called the "New Church". At first a wooden one (until 1420) when construction were already surrounding it since from 1396 until 1496 this stone variant slowly arose. Slowly, as every brich, every piece has been done by hand ! The fact that this masterpiece has been built in only 100 years, means a top job done by the constructors. Also reckoning with the fact that building such heavy church in swamp land, could have had disasterous effects. Only in 1933 new concrete fundaments have been put underneath the excisting building.
The Nieuwe Kerk ('new church') was Delft's second parish church, and until the Reformation was called St. Ursula. Early in the 80-Years War it was confiscated by the protestants. The choir is now the mausoleum of the family of Oranje-Nassau, the current royal family, with graves of all Oranges starting with prince Willem I up to queen Juliana, who was buried here in 2004. The tower is one of the tallest in the country.
The New Church actually is not so new, it was built between the years 1383 and 1510, but it got the name New since it is "younger" than the Old Church. Delft and especially this Church has a very strong connection to the Royal family. It is the place where William the Silent is burried, as well as present Queen's husband Prince Claus. All the Royal events are being held in this church, the next one will be the marriage of Beatrix' son Prince Johan Friso. Worth looking inside, especially at the monument which was added to the William The Silent's grave some time after he was shot. Very impressive monument is combined of 2 statues of the Prince and four other statues, each on one corner, that represent Liberty, Justice, Church, and Power!
I created this page a few hours before the Queen Juliana passed away! Looks like the next event at the church is going to be the funeral instead of the wedding. Juliana died at the age of 94