Grote Kerk, Haarlem

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Grote Kerk, Haarlem

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The Grote Kerk or St.-Bavokerk is a Reformed Protestant church and former Catholic cathedral located on the central market square (Grote Markt) in the Dutch city of Haarlem. Another Haarlem church called the Cathedral of Saint Bavo now serves as the main cathedral for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam.

This church is an important landmark for the city of Haarlem and has dominated the city skyline for centuries. It is built in the Gothic style of architecture, and it became the main church of Haarlem after renovations in the 15th century made it significantly larger than the Janskerk (Haarlem). First mention of a church on this spot was made in 1307, but the wooden structure burned in the 14th century. The church was rebuilt and promoted to chapter church in 1479 and only became a cathedral in 1559. The main architects were Godevaert de Bosscher and Steven van Afflighem (nave), and Evert van Antwerpen (transept). The term "Catholic" was never really associated with this church, since it was only consecrated as a cathedral in 1559, which was already in the middle of the period known as the Protestant Reformation. The church was confiscated only 19 years later during the Haarlemse noon in 1578, when it was converted to Protestantism. It was dedicated to Saint Bavo at some time before 1500, though there exists a curious painting in the collection of the Catholic Cathedral of St. Bavo illustrating the miracle of St. Bavo saving Haarlem from the Kennemers in a scene from the 13th century. This painting was painted a century after the Catholics were banned from their church, and may have been a commemorative painting referring to the defense of the Church and the Catholic faith as well as the defense of the city.

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