The St Laurens Kerk or St Laurens Church is the main church of Rotterdam. The church is built in the 15th century. The Laurenskerk is the last remaining gothic building of medieval Rotterdam.
The church was heavily damaged by the bombing during the World War II and only the walls and the tower were left. The restoration of the church has never been a point of discussion because of its historical and symbolic value for the city. The renovation of the church took place from 1952 till 1968 and became symbol of the uprising of the city after the war.
The church has three organs, several graves and a replica of a medival vessel. The doors of the church are designed by the Italian artist Manzù (Giacomo Manzoni) who designed also the doors of the Dome in Salzburg (theme love) and the doors of St. Peter in Rome (theme death). Manzù designed the doors of the Laurens church as final piece in this range with the theme 'war and peace'.
This church was finished in 1525 and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Its 62 meter high tower was once a landmark, but is now hidden between the skyscrapers. Rotterdam’s central church is not only the last remaining gothic building of the city. It is a symbol for peace as well as a symbol of Rotterdam’s will to survive after the heavy destructions and the sufferings of World War II. The church was heavily damaged during the bombings of 1940, only leaving the tower and most parts of the outer walls. The church was reconstructed after between 1951 and 1968 with works of different artists, but keeping its original style. Today, the yearly “bevrijdingsdag” ceremony – to celebrate the liberation from Nazi Germany on May 5th 1945 – is held here.
The multi-ethnicity of Rotterdam’s population as well as the trade relations of Rotterdams harbour resulted in many foreign institutions in Rotterdam. One is the russian Orthodox church, which was built in the 1990s. Its – for western Europe – unusual architecture fits well into Rotterdam’s cityscape. Although looking a little larger on the picture, the church is a really tiny building.
This church is one of the oldest buildings in the city, finished in 1525.
The tower, high 62 meters, once was a landmark.
This gothic church is a symbol for peace as well as a symbol of Rotterdam’s will to survive after the World War II.
The Laurens-church in the eastern part of the city centre, is the only remaining building of Medieval Rotterdam. It was built between 1449 and 1525 and in these days it was the only stone building in the complete city. Therefore it was a very important building in this era.
Later, in 1621, a wooden top was added to the clocktower, but because of the bad quality of the wood, this had to be removed not much later. To replace this top, a granite cube was placed on the top in 1650. To bare the weight of this new top, the tower had to be strenghted severely: a renovation of which it benifitted later.
During the bombings of the Second World War, this was the reason why the tower was "only" heavily damaged and not destroyed. In 1952 the restauration of the church started and in 1968 this was completed. Today the caracteristic top is an important landmark in the area.
Rotterdam has many immigrant communities, many of which have their own churches. Polish catholics, Greek Orthodox, you name it. The newest church in the city is this Russian-Orthodox one, which was consecrated just a few weeks before my visit. It's a funny little building, but I hesitate to call it architecture. I'm quite conservative as far as architecture is concerned and don't like those modern boxes at all, but to build a new church that totally looks like an old one is a bit overdone, I think. Still, it makes for a nice picture when the sun shines upon it. And at least it's not ugly.
The Russian-Orthodox parish of Rotterdam is much older than the church and was founded just after the Second World War. Many of its priests and members are native Dutch; unlike in Russia itself people in The Netherlands are free to choose their own religion, and none of the "native" denomination protested against the construction of this church. Unfortunately the Russian Orthodox church sees no problem in enjoying such a freedom over here while at the same time it denies a similar freedom to other religions in Russia itself. Especially the Roman Catholic church and its members face the hostility of the Russian Orthodox clergy.
This building was designed by Henri Evers and was built in 1897. The organ was built in 1998 by Steenkuyl-Recourt.