Sunday, March 30, 2014

De Sint Janskerk, Gouda, The Netherlands

De Sint Janskerk in Gouda is named after John the Baptist, patron of Gouda. The first church here was built in 1280. The current cross-shaped basilica was constructed in the 1550s after a lightning strike caused a fire in the old church. It was a Roman Catholic church up to 1573 when the Protestants were given jurisdiction. It still functions as a Dutch Reformed Church, with two services on Sundays.

The church is surrounded with buildings making exterior photography difficult. 

Church spire seen from the town market

The main entrance

Near the tourist entrance

The "road" on the south side of the church

Photography is not allowed inside. The nave is the longest is The Netherlands at 123 meters. Many of the decorations were removed by the iconoclastic reformers but they left the famous "Gouda Windows" in the church. Some of the windows were made from 1555 to 1572 while the church was still Catholic; the rest were made from 1594 to 1603. The windows follow both biblical and national themes. The set around the choir shows the life of John the Baptist. Happily, post cards were for sale and I've scanned some of them.

John baptizes Jesus in the Jordan (click to enlarge)

The Last Supper (click to enlarge)

Judith beheads Holofernes (click to enlarge)

Jonah and the Whale (click to enlarge)

I didn't buy any cards of the national windows. They include some royalty and some famous battles and political events from The Netherlands's history.

Down a small hall is a study chapel with seven small stained glass windows from a monastery near Haastrecht. That monastery was where Erasmus was ordained as a priest. In 1551, the monks moved to Gouda for safety reasons. The chapel was very quiet and cosy, even though the theme of the windows is Christ's passion and death.

Scourging by the Roman Soldiers (click to enlarge)

The children enjoyed visiting the church especially since we bought the cheap binoculars from the gift shop. The binoculars help to see the windows. J and L used them to look at just about everything. They'd try the binoculars the right way and then flip the over and look through the wrong way. "You're so far away!" J would shout. Luckily we were just about the only visitors so the children's noisiness was less troubling than usual.

No comments:

Post a Comment