Take a chance an get off the train at Leiden. It's not nearly as touristy as Amsterdam and it's an easy place to see a couple of windmills up close. Head east from the train station. The main roads will take you over a couple of canals and you'll been in the center of town with the main shopping street. One of the sites worth seeing is the Hartebrug Kerk, completed in 1837.
The Hartebrugkerk church dates from 1836, a time when the Dutch laws guaranteed Religious freedom for all and this new Roman Catholic church could be constructed.
The Church's official name is "Onze Lieve Vrouw Onbevlekt Ontvangen", but the church is better known after the Hartebrug bridge over the former Mare canal. An older name is "Coelikerk" after the roman inscription on the facade of the building: "Hic domus Dei est et porta coeli" (Here is the House of God and the Gate to Heaven).
On the front wall there also is the eye that sees everything, symbolizing God, who is everywhere.
Mo: 0:30PM - 4:30PM
Tu-Fr: 8:30AM - 4:30PM
The Pieterskerk church or Saint Peter church history goes back to 1100, when at this location the chapel of the counts of Holland was build. This chapel was rebuilt in 1121.
Hereafter the present church construction started in 1390 and the construction was finalized in 1570. Like in the other old churches, many famous people like John Robinson, one of Pilgrim Fathers are buried in the basement of the church.
The church had beautiful stained glass windows, that were partly destroyed during the so-called Beeldenstorm and damaged even more at the explosion of a gun powder ship in 1807.
In 1880 the church was renovated.
The building was deconsecrated in 1971 and since 1975 it is managed by a foundation.
The church is open to the public at:
Mo-Su: 1:30PM - 4PM
Mo-Fr: 10AM - 4PM
Sa-Su: 1:30PM - 4PM
The Reformation started by Maarten Luther in 1517 soon reached Leiden. Pamflets and Lutherean books were printed around 1519. The Roman Catholic church tried to stop the Reformation by ban Lutherean books in 1521 and putting the printers on trial.
The surpression did not work at all and in 1572 Leiden was declared a Reformed town.
Many refugees came to Leiden to practise their religion and from 1587 there was a Lutherean community. Services were held in common houses.
The first church was build in 1618. The present facade dates from 1888.
The Hooglandse kerk church history goes back far in time. In 1316 Gwijde van Avesnes, Bishop of Utrect granted permission for the construction of a wooden chapel devoted to Saint Pancratius. Later that century a small church replaced the wooden chapel. The need for a bigger church grew with the increasing of the Leiden population. So, in 1377 the construction of a new church, that should surpass the size of its rival the Pieterskerk was started. In the next 150 years parts of the building were build and later even extended.
The works do not progress as wanted, due to the wars that had to be payed too.
In 1475 there were plans to get the church the cathedral status. the 80 year war and the Reformation put these plans to a halt.
In August 1566 during the Reformation "beeldenstorm" the church interior and archive was damaged. In 1572 the church becomes a Protestant church. After the prosper 17th century the church declines. In 1807 an ammunition ship exploded nearby and damaged a part of the church construction. Plans to demolish the church were made, but in stead the church got a big renovation in 1903.
After WWII from 1952-1972 the church was renovated again.
The Marekerk church was constructed from 1639 till 1649. The design is by Arent van 's-Gravesande. The construction was supervised by Arent's trainer Jacob van Campen.
The sand stone main entrance at the Lange Mare dates from 1657. The building is octagonal, because it was the first Dutch church designed for a protestant service with a central pulpit.
The organ made by Pieter de Swart dates from 1560 and first was part of the Pieterskerk; in 1733 the organ was moved to the Marekerk.
I haven't had a chance to go into this church but I've walked by quite often as my friends live right down the street from it. So there's my endorsement! Not much in the area of descriptiveness but hey, here's a nice picture of it!
And check out how pretty it looks when I used the "Find Edges" filter in Photoshop, on it! Looks like a card.
When you arrive at Haarlemmerstraat, the shopping street in Leiden CBD, you will notice the Hartebrug Church.
Centuries after the reformation, in 1830, Pastor Goffers still held church services in this church in the Haarlemmerstraat. Post reformation, Catholic churches were forbidden in Leiden and the north of the Netherlands so they went underground and held services in dark attics. In 1830 the Reformation was long over and a freedom of religion reigned.
The Pastor wanted more space to receive more believers so he located a building in another part of the street. Unfortunately the building belonged to a protestant who wouldn't sell it to him (old prejudices die hard). So Pastor Goffers used a friend to buy it. Then the story spread this friend was really buying it for the church. To counter this the pastor sent carpenters to the old underground church, to keep up appearances. The protestant believed the old church was being renovated and the rumor was not true so he sold the building. In 1836 a new church designed by Th. Molkenboer stood on the spot . The motto in golden characters on the facade (Hic Domus Dei est et Porta Coeli) mean: this is the house of God and the gate to heaven.
The church is open much of the time and features a classic interior.
I loved the inside of this Cathedral. Whenever I look at this picture I feel as if men in Top Hats and women in gowns should be dancing here!
Update: September 2006 - Went back to Leiden and attended a wedding and it's reception here. Still no men in top hats but it was a beautiful setting and I've added some photos to prove it!
Pass the Waag and go right over the bridge. Straight ahead you cross a street to come to the Haarlemmerstraat, the shopping street in Leiden citycenter. Right in friont of you is the Hartebrug Church.
In 1830 centuries after the reformation Pastor Goffers still held church services in his hiding church in the Haarlemmerstraat. After the reformation catholic churches were forbidden in Leiden and the north of the Netherlands. But the churches went in hiding, they held services in dark attics. In 1830 it was long over, there was a freedom of religion.
The Pastor wanted more space to receive more believers. He found a building in an other part of the street. But the building belonged to a protestant, he wouldn't sell it to a catholic church. Pastor Goffers used a friend to buy it. Then the story spread this friend was really buying it for the church. The pastor sent carpenters to the old hiding church, to keep up appearances. The protestant believed the old church ws renovated and the rumor was not true, he sold the building. In 1836 a new church designed by Th. Molkenboer stood on the spot . The motto in golden characters on the facade ( Hic Domus Dei est et Porta Coeli) mean: this is the house of God and the gate to heaven.
Most of the time the church is open and you can see the classicistic interior.
Cross the bridge over the Rapenburg here. And enter into the Kloksteeg. This street is taking you to the Pieterskerk.
The Gotic Pieterskerk was the main church in Leiden. From 1121 there was a chapel on this spot. It was the chapel of the Counts of Holland, in their backyard. The church, as it is now, started from 1390. The first tower was 120 meters high. It collapsed in 1512 and was never rebuilt.
Due to the Reformation the church came into protestant hands in 1572. This meant all the rich catholic artpieces were destroyed. Only one altarpiece of Lucas van Leyden survived, it is now in the citymuseum the Lakenhal.
The building is no longer in use as a church, but it is now used for cultural purposes.
In the chuirch you will find the graves of many famous people, like the painter Jan Steen, the family of Rembrandt, and the leader of the Pilgrim Fathers John Robinson.
The Pulgrim Fathers fled england, where they were persued for their faith. Leiden (as most of Holland) was very tolerant and like many other faiths they found refuge here. They lived here for 12 years. Then they became irritated by the tolerance that first sheltered them. They thought there was too much freedom here and moved to the New World (today USA) around 1620.
During our citywalk the church was hidden behind buildingmaterial, as renovation is going on. But in januari 2006, we will visit a travelfair there, and make some pictures from the inside.
Leiden has many churches, but Mare Kerk is different from all of them in its interesting shape. It was built in 1639, 10 years later it got its beuatiful stone-gate.
As you walk along the Oud Vest, along the canal, you won't be able to miss it. Pay attention to its impressive dome, it has the shape of octagone and each part gives your directions. And don't forget to pay attaention to the Marebrug (Mare bridge) if you go to church from the river side.
Hooglandsekerk is a really beautiful building. As it is seen from the citadel, the church is really impressive. It got its name from the relatively high location (Hoog) and it is really hard to miss it.
The Hooglandsekerk was supposed to be a place for the Bishop of Holland, but this plan didn't work out.
Comparing it to all the other churches it is really difficult to appreciate it from inside. It is simply empty. But the architecture is still amazing and I definitely recommend you to visit this church if you happen to be in Leiden.
Walking through Leiden you will discover this wonderful red-brick church. Its name is St. Pancras church or Hooglandse Kerk.
Churches here in The Netherlands used to be open to visitors all day but these days it is too risky because of thefts and other criminal acts so it is possible that the church will be closed, which btw won't be a problem: there will be an address where you can turn to in case you want access.
In front of the church is a lovely old square where it is good to sit and rest.
You will also see students going in and out of some University buildings situated near the church.
The Hartebrug Kerk from 1836 is a Roman Catholic church in neo-Classical style, designed by architect Th. Molkenboer. This church dates from a period when the catholics built many new churches. To understand this you must know that the protestants had stolen all of the old churches in the 16th century and were allowed to keep those in most cases after the catholic faith had become legal again in 1795. As some sort of compensation the government financed the construction of new catholic churches. To keep those as cheap as possible the Waterstaat-department (department of public works) supervised the design and construction, reason why churches such as this one are often called 'Waterstaatkerken' and the style is often referred to as 'Waterstaatstijl'. This however is a mistake; the style was internationally popular at that time, and not prescribed by the government in any way. Waterstaatkerken were also built in neo-Gothic style, for instance, but the name is usually associated with the neo-Classical ones. Typical for these churches is the inspiration taken from Greek temples and the lantern-tower at the front. The interior is often full of wood that is painted to look like marble.
Architect Molkenboer designed more similar churchyes, and for a while was the country's major church-architect. Until the rise of neo-Gothicism. Within two decades after it was built the catholics regarded churches like this as 'pagan' and many were quickly demolished. This one survives, thankfully. It''s an interesting building. If not for its beauty, but it represents an interesting period of history.