Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, The Netherlands

A bonus church for the Feast of the Annunciation--nine months till Christmas!

The Nieuwe Kerk or New Church was built in 1381 and rebuilt in 1536 after a great fire. An explosion caused more rebuilding a century later. The most recent addition is the 100-meter spire installed in 1872. The Old Church is located nearby and is described in this post.

Nieuwe Kerk, Delft

A miniature of the church above the door of the church

Gloomy side aisle

Less gloomy nave (but only slightly less)

In the nave is the Mausoleum of William the Silent (better known as William of Orange in the English speaking world though he is not the William of Orange who became king of Engalnd), built from 1614 to 1623. He led the resistance that fought against Spanish rule. He fought as an outlaw and never did see the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, but he is still known as "Vader des Vaderlands" or "Father of the Fatherland." He was killed by a French assassin in 1584.

Mausoleum of William of Orange

Two effigies represent him. One shows him in the prime of life with all the airs of his position (show at the front of the mausoleum above). Another shows his deathbed. Around the structure are several statues representing Liberty, Justice, Religion, and Courage.

William of Orange, reclining




Courage (though it looks like sauciness to me)

The stained glass windows are replacement of the medieval works. After the fire of 1536 and the Delft Thunderclap (when the gunpowder depot with 90,000 pounds of stock blew up in 1654!), no windows remained. Thanks to the Protestant iconoclasm of the day, the windows were either bricked up or plain grey glass was installed. In 1923 a Dutch American, Edward W. Bok, donated a large window of Queen Wilhelmina in honor of her jubilee. Many of the stained glass windows follow the Art Deco style popular in the 1920s and 1930s, representing both biblical themes and the glory of the House of Orange.

Political stained glass

Wilhelmina window (I think)

Many members of the House of Orange are buried in the vaults below the church. The entrance is a simple stone slab with the Latin inscription RESURRECTIONEM EXPECTAT GUILIELMUS PRIMUS PATER PATRIAE or "William I, Father of the Fatherlands, awaits the resurrection."

Entrance to the crypts

A grave

Ornate floor carving

King William I

Tomb of Hugo Grotius

The tomb of Hugo Grotius is an interesting addition to the church. He was not from the royal family. He was a legal expert who lived in Delft from 1583 to 1645. He was jailed after a political disagreement with Prince Maurits (who succeeded William of Orange). He was smuggled out of jail in a book chest and died in exile, though he continued to publish works. A statue of him stands guard outside.

Hugo Grotius Statue

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