History of Holland > Netherlands cities > Haarlem Netherlands > Haarlem sights > Grote Kerk (St. Bavo) Haarlem

Grote Kerk (St. Bavo) Haarlem

Grote Kerk (St. Bavo) HaarlemThe Grote Kerk (meaning Big Church in Dutch) in Haarlem is also known as the Saint Bavo Church, it is an imposing and lofty cruciform church, nearly 460 ft. in length, erected at the close of the 15th century, with a tower 262 ft. high, completed in 1519. A thorough restoration of the edifice took place in the last decade of the 19th century.

The vaulting rests on twenty-eight columns, on which decorative paintings of the end of the 16th century are visible. The nave and choir were apparently meant to be covered by stone vaulting, but are provided merely with a cedar-wood roof of cross-vaulting, dating from 1630-1638. The roof above the intersection of the nave and transept is, however, of stone. Some of the stained glass in the nave is ancient.

The sounding­board of the pulpit in carved wood is Gothic (1432), while the pulpit itself and its handsome brass railings belong to the 18th century. A cannon-ball in the wall of the South aisle is a reminiscence of the Spanish siege of 1572.

By the second pillar to the right in the choir is a monument to the memory of Conrad (died 1808), the engineer who constructed the locks of Katwyk. The small models of ships suspended close by date from 1668, but replace earlier originals that had been presented by the Dutch-Swedish Trading Co. ("Schonenvaardersgild").

The choir­stalls are fine, and also the late-Gothic screen separating the choir from the nave, which was erected in 1510 by Diderik Sybrandszoon of Malines and is adorned with numerous civic arms; the aide-railings in the inner choir are in the early-Renaissance style (1540). By the rearmost pillars of the choir are two late-Gothic candle-brackets.

The Organ, constructed in 1735-1738 by Christiaan Muller, and thoroughly restored in 1868, was long considered the largest and most powerful in the world and is still one of the finest. It possesses 3 keyboards, 64 stops, and 5000 pipes, the largest of which is l5 inches in diameter and 32 ft. long.

The pleasing group in marble below the organ, by J.B. Xavery, represents ecclesiastical poetry and music, expressing their gratitude to Haarlem for the erection of the organ.

In front of the church rises a bronze Statue of Coster, the alleged inventor of printing, by Royer, erected in 1856.

On the strength of a story that came into vogue about 1560, Haarlem claims for Laurens Janszoon Coster the honour of being the inventor of printing, though no works printed at Haarlem are known with a date either before or shortly after 1447, the date of Gutenberg's earliest productions. All that can be said with certainty is that Haarlem possessed the first printing-press in the Netherlands.

The Grote Kerk (The Big Church), Saint Bavo is open for visits.

Address Grote Kerk, St. Bavo Haarlem:
Oude Groenmarkt 23
Haarlem, The Netherlands

Telephone: +31 (0)23 5532040

Visit the official website of the Grote Kerk, St. Bavo Haarlem.

See Location, Map and Satellite images of the Grote Kerk, St. Bavo Haarlem in the Netherlands .