The single statue fronting the Oude Kerk is a simple stylized image of a cloaked woman, Geertroyt van Oosten ( 1320-58 ). Born in Voorburch Holland, she was devout from childhood. After moving to Delft to work as a housekeeper, she was jilted and joined the local Beguinage and devoted her life to charitable works and piety. The surname van Oosten has been variously attribulted to her origins in an eastern neightborhood and her repeated singing of the hymn The Day Breaks in the East, which she may have written. She bore the stigmata and is alleged to have had the gift of prophecy.
Geertroyt was also instrumental in convincing the city council to build the Nieuwe Kerk, based on the visions of a local beggar.
Over 400 remains are buried beneath commemorative stone slabs at the Oude Kerk, some of major historic importance. This practise extended from the Middle Ages to the early 19thC with stones ranging from small to very large for family vaults. Gravestones indicated great family wealth as limestone and bluestone had to be imported. One could spend hours searching out favorite stones, but with the Vermeer Center just scant blocks away, a better investment of time is to find a few important stones and move on.
Famous persons interred here include the naval heroes Piet Hein and Maarten Tromp from the 17th C and physician Regnier de Graaf. Johannes Vermeer, master painter and a personal favorite, died destitute and ended in the family vault of his in-laws. The plaques visible today have been placed within the last century.
The astounding gravestone for the family vault of Joost van Lodensteyn, prominent local politician, and his family dates from the 17th C and features the skeletal figure of death staring at the world with empty eye sockets. Around his head the ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail and implying renewal after death. Beneath his right hand an overturned hourglass - time has ended for those beneath. Another symbol of renewal is the upturned burning torch rather than the traditional extinguished torch head down.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) is amongst the most famous subterranean residents. The inventor of the microscope, he was the first to see and study sperm, red blood cells and bacteria and is called the Father of Microbiology. His preparations made him also a pioneer in observing blood flow. And he was a well known local politician and is believed to have been a close friend of Vermeer ( handled his estate ). His 91 year life span was remarkable for the time - in his later years, he suffered from involuntary muscle spasms of the diaphragm and upper abdominal muscles, a condition known to this day as van Leeuwenhoek disease.
There are enough gravestones at the Oude Kerk to keep one busy for hours.
The Interior - the main chapel of the Oude Kerk is typicall of the Protestant Reformation, austere and absent extensive wall decor.
The Pulpit - the highly detailed wooden pulpit dates from 1548, creator unknown. It features St John the Baptist and evangelists, beautiful work of art. Somehow the pulpit escaped destruction during the Reformation as most art and furnishing considered too Catholic were destroyed around it.
The Organs - During the Reformation, organs were considered papal frippery and destroyed or damaged, but the congregation of the Oude Kerk became one of the first Dutch churches to again use an organ to supplement their voices, repairing the damaged instrument in the early 1600's.Today the Oude Kerk has three organs, the largest with 2832 pipes, built in 1857 replacing the repaired one and still in use each week for services.
Entering Delft from the train station, the Oude Kerk dominates the background of the lovely Oude Canal with its slightly tilted 75m high tower. A small stone church occupied this site as early as 1050, enlarged by a civil servant Bartholomew van der Made in 1246 to include a choir and 2 aisles, coincident with the city receiving a charter and consecrated to St. Bartholomew. The tower and four turrets were added between 1325-50 encroaching on the adjacent canal which narrows conspicuously at the church site and for that becomes even more scenic. The land on which the tower was built could not support the weight and the tower is off true center by 2 meters despite restorative efforts. By the mid 14thC, the church was rededicated to St. Hippolytus, the martyr and antipope as well as the patron saint of Delft.
Major restorations have followed the great fire of 3 May 1536 ( when lightning struck the Nieuwe Kerk ), the Reformation, the Delft Explosion of 12 October 1654 ( when the city's gunpowder store exploded ), the collapse of the entire floor in the 18th C, and a major fire in 1921 which closed the church for over three years. Through the renovations the turrets on the tower have been variously oriented perpendicular to the tower or to ground level.
The Oude Kerk remains active as a church today with regular weekly services, also used for concerts and lectures. Its huge bell is sounded during major disasters and on the burial of a royal family member.
Entrance to both the Oude and Nieuwe Churches is included on the same ticket for the same price.
The Oude Kerk is the one with the wonderfully 'wonky' tower and is the oldest in Delft.A srone church stood on the spot in 1050...a tiny one, just 12m by 30m. That building was rebuilt and expanded during the mid-1200s. During the following centuries additions and changes were made to those original buildings, creating the structure which exists today.
Like the Niewe Kerk, the mid-1500s fire and the mid-1600s explosion damaged the building, as did the Iconoclasm. But the tower has its wonkiness simply because it was built (in the 1300s) on soil which was too soft and foundations which were not strong enough to support its weight. It subsided as it was being built, which is why it appears to have a kink in the middle: once the subsidence was stopped the masons simply carried on building vertically.
There has been much concern about the safety of the tower over the centuries, understandably, but it is now stabilised...although also closely monitored! You can get views of the tower, and its lean, from the canal which runs alongside.
There are some lovely stained-glass windows in Oude Kerk, mostly dating from the 1800s and 1900s (the fire destroyed the stained-glass from the 1300s, the explosion destroyed their replacements from the 1500s. One, installed in 1956, was created to commemorate the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945.
And there are several elaborate tombs in the church as well as some wonderfully carved gravestones set into the floor near the altar. I particularly liked the tomb of Elisabeth Morgan (see photo), despite its skulls, crossed bones and faces expressing horror.
Although Vermeer is buried in the church he died a pauper and so had no headstone or monument of his own. His body was placed in the family grave of his mother-in-law, in the northern transept and marked with a small stone. A larger commemorative stone was added in 2007.
Don't miss taking a close look at the beautifully carved and intricately-detailed wooden pulpit in the centre of the church. For some reason it escaped damage during the Iconoclasm. It's not in its original spot: before it stood nearer to the centre of the nave and it is thought possible that this position is what saved it from destruction: the Reformers believed that a central pulpit symbolised the Bible being central to everything and were against religious rites and instruction before performed only at or near the altar.
Opening times are on the website below. Entrance in April 2013 (combined ticket which also gives entrance to the Nieuwe Kerk) was 3.50 euro
The Oude Kerk (Old Church), nicknamed Oude Jan ("Old John"), is a Gothic Protestant church in the old city center of Delft. Its most recognizable feature is a 75-meter-high brick tower that leans about two meters from the vertical.
The Oude Kerk (Old Church) is open for visits
April 1 to October 30
Monday up to Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Monday up to Friday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Feb-Mar Mo-Fr open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Adults € 3,50
Group (min. 20 pers.) € 3,00
Children (0 to 5 years) free
Children (6 to 11 years) € 1,50
Students (12 - 18 years) € 2,00
Students (19 - 25 years) € 2,00
Entrance ticket entitles you to visit the Nieuwe Kerk for free.
There's much to see inside the Oude Kerk apart from the stained glass. It has three organs. The main one, seen here, dates from 1857 and was built by the famous organ maker Christian Gottlieb Friedrich Witte. The three keyboards and 41 stops allow you to play 2,580 pipes!
The second pic shows the mausoleum of Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, designed by Jacob van Campen. There's detail depicted the naval battle in which he perished in the middle of the white marble pedestal where his head rests on a cannon and his body is stretched across a ship's rudder.
The third picture is a detail from the pulpit. After the fire and the iconoclasts went through in the 16th century this was all that was left intact. It dates from 1548 and John the Baptist and five evangelists are depicted upon it.
The fourth one shows one of only six memorial inscriptions intended to commemorate distinguished towns folk. It's clearly dated 1600.
The last picture shows the tomb of naval hero Petrus Heinius, sometimes listed as Piet Hein or Pieterzoon Hein, and it stands in the main chancel. The plinth and statue were carved from a single block of marble. The coat of arms is listed in the guide book as being a black raven on a black gate against a golden background. In fact, on the tomb it's the white marble you see at the top.
Originally a wooden building it has an official history dating from 1246. It was then that Bartholomew van der Made started rebuilding and extending the parish church and from then onwards the church bore the name of the patron saint of its founder, St. Bartholomew. Four building phases followed over the next 100 years, heralding in the current shape of the edifice, it was then the wonky tower was added though it was last restored in 1995.
The angle towers (the four on the extremities) were replaced around 1900.
The last picture shows the part where two unique bells hang, they are the Trinitas Bell (1570) and the Laudate Bell (1719).
The Trinitas (sometimes called Bourdon) Bell is the most exceptional of the two with its 7 metre perimeter and almost nine tonnes of weight. When a hammer chimes the hour and half hour, this is the bell you hear.
It isn't used at other times, except Royal funerals and such, as constant ringing causes such significant vibrations it might damage the building.
It is believed with some factual evidence to support that this site has been used as a church for nearly 1,000 years. Heck, that's older than my grandma was when she died.
After you get past the exterior you cannot fail to be impressed by the stained glass. Though mainly of 20th century origin it depicts not only biblical history but also that of the region.
I found the William of Orange (William the Silent - pic 3)) one to be very colourful except that at times the extensions of the body seem almost not to belong to it.
The guide book to both churches is available at both and the entry fee includes both the new and old churches.
This book in an invabuable aid to viewing the works on display.
Dating from the 13th century, the Oude Kerk (Old Church) is easily recognizable by its 75m high leaning tower. Fearing collapse, the city council of the mid-nineteenth century had to be persuaded not have the tower pulled down to the level of the roof.
On the market square you have both the Oude (old) and the Nieuwe (new) Kerk (church). I did not like the total structure of the old church, but the design of this side entrance was very nice. I especially liked the stairs that have worn away to almost nothing under the constant foot traffic. You can also see some "new" wooden supports (or frames) in the windows, a mix of the old and the new.
The Oude Kerk (Old Church) was built way back in 1246. The famous Delft painter Johannes Vermeer has his final resting place inside the church.
Visiting hours are -
3rd of April until the 30th of October
Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The Delft townscape has been defined by the robust and leaning tower of the Oude Kerk since 1246. The tower is home to the Bourdon, and this is a church bell weighing almost 9 tonnes; it only tolls on special and memorable occasions. When a member of the Royal House of Orange dies, The Bordon is the only bell in Delft to sound across the City. I was told during a tour of the church that the tower is approximately 2 m out of true - however it is unclear if this was intentional or not. The alignment of thew tower is now montiored by the the Municipality of Delft.
Over the years the Church has undergone several restorations and this seems to add to the beauty of the interior; two notable points to mention are the stained glass windows and a wonderfully tooled pulpit.
The church is also the last resting place of many Dutch notables and they include Johannes Vermeer, Anthony van Leeuwenhoek (inventor of the microscope) and two sea heroes Piet Hein and Maerten Tromp.
This church founded 1200. It is realy old.
Here are tombes of two very importen people for human civilisation. One is famous painter Vermeer, and the other is Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, the man who invented microscope in 1668. He changed the world by his inventure.
The old church of Delft is situated at the Oude Delft near to the Prinsenhof. It was built in the 13. century. It includes the tombs of Piet Hein and Admiral Tromp as well as a tombstone of Johannes Vermeer. A small exhitibiton (dutch only...) gives you information about the history of the church.
If you buy an entry ticket for the Old Church (2,50 EUR), you can also visit the New Church for free (and vice versa).