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Architects: N. Molenaar sr. (1850-1930)

Nicolaas Molenaar was born on the 30th of July 1850 in Sneek (Fr), where his father had a building firm. After having learned some skills from his father and at drawing school at the age of 19 he was hired by P.J.H. Cuypers as an overseer, first at the construction of the church of St. Martinus in his town of birth. During the construction of Cuypers' St. Jacobus in Den Haag Molenaar moved to that city, where he resided for the rest of his life. In 1875 Molenaar joined the office of J. van Lokhorst, where mostly schools were designed. In 1884 he designed his first church, the St. Willibrordus in Vleuten, and when more assignments followed he left the office to start a successfull career on his own. His contacts with the Jesuits resulted in several assignments, the last, and one of the biggest, of which was the Canisiuscollege in Nijmegen of 1898. When after that project the jesuits granted him no further assignments this resulted in a decrease of quality in his work for several years. By 1905 he was back on track.
He is especially important as an architect of Roman Catholic churches in neo-Gothic style. These show influences of both his tutor P.J.H. Cuypers as from Alfred Tepe. Preferred instyles of influence were early and classic Gothic.
Apart from churches Molenaar designed many profane buildings. In 1893 he won a price for a housing complex in Den Haag. While his churches are always in a neo-Gothic style for his profane work he mostly worked in neo-Renaissance style. This profane work includes many schools, institutions, houses and shops, the latter category especially in Sneek.
Molenaar worked on his own for most of his career. He never had any students, although his son Nicolaas jr. also became an architect and occassionally cooperated with his father. Molenaar made his last design in 1925. In 1928 a stroke made an end to his active career. He died in Den Haag on the 30th of December 1930.

The following is a list of Molenaar's churches and his other work for religious congregations. It's still incomplete.


1884-1885 Vleuten (U): church St Willibrordus




Molenaars first church. Three-aisled cruciform basilica in neo-Gothic style. Side-aisles and transept widened by N. Molenaar Jr. in 1935.


1886-1887 Groningen (Gr): church O.L.V. Onbevlekt Ontvangen

Neo-Gothic church with galleries to save space and a front with two octagonal towers, inspired by Tepe's St. Franciscus Xaverius in Amsterdam.


1887-1888 Borne (Ov): church St. Stefanus




Three-aisled neo-Gothic hall-church with transept. Tower next to the front.


1888 Nijmegen (G): church St. Jozef

Temporary church. Became a presbytery in 1922 and in the 1960's parish centre.

1889-1890 Oudenbosch (NB): Collegium Berchmanianum




Complex in combination of Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles, with chapel and observatory. Now a hotel.


1890-1892 Woerden (U): church St. Bonaventura





Three-aisled neo-Gothic cruciform basilica. Three-aisled transept. Square tower next to the front.


1890-1892 Zwolle (Ov): church St. Michaël

Three-aisled hall-church with choir with ambulatory and lateral chapels. Tower next to the front with octagonal upper segment. Demolished ca. 1965.


1890-1892 Rotterdam (ZH): church St. Ignatius en Laurentius

Cruciform basilica with two transepts and tower next to the front. Choir with ambulatory. Demolished in 1967-1968.


1891 Hoogezand-Martenshoek (Gr): church




Small single-aisled church in neo-Gothic style. 


1891-1892 Den Haag (ZH): church O.L.V. Onbevlekt Ontvangen




Three-aisled cruciform neo-Gothic church, inspired by the Notre Dame in Paris. Three storeys high, with galleries. Two squaretowers at the front. Cloverleaf-shaped choir and transept.

1893-1896 Oude Pekela (Gr): church St. Willibrordus




Three-aisled cruciform basilican church in neo-Gothic style.


1894 Noordwijk (ZH): church St. Jeroen





Big neo-Gothic church. Tower completed in 1927, different from the original design.


1894-1896 Nijmegen (G): church St. Canisius

Three-aisled cruciform basilica without tower. Destroyed by bombs in 1944. The surviving choir and part of the transept were in 1958-1960 incorporated in a new church.


1896-1898 Den Haag (ZH): church O.L.V. van Goede Raad

Three-aisled cruciform neo-Gothic church. Destroyed by bombs in 1945.

1897 Rijswijk (ZH): church St. Bonifatius





Three-aisled cruciform neo-Gothic church.


1898-1900 Nijmegen (G): school Canisiuscollege




Big complex in neo-Renaissance style. Partly demolished in 1992.

1903-1905 Wassenaar (ZH): church St. Willibrordus





Big cruciform basilica in no-Gothic style.

1905 Enkhuizen (NH): church St. Franciscus Xaverius




Three-aisled basilica in neo-Gothic style. Enlarged and tower built in 1929 by N. Molenaar jr.. 




1908-1909 Den Haag (ZH): church St. Martha



Three-aisled neo-Gothic hall-church, inspired by Gothic churches of the The Hague hall-type. Nave completed and tower added in 1924 by N. Molenaar jr..


1914-1915 Den Haag (ZH): church H.H. Engelbewaarders

Five-aisled hall-church in neo-Gothic style, with transept. Tower next to the front. Demolished in 1982.

1917-1922 Den Hoorn (ZH): church St.Antonius en Cornelius





Cruciform pseudo-basilica in a late -Neo-Gothic style. The tower and the choir were not completed until 1922.

1920-1921 Dordrecht (ZH): church H. Antonius van Padua


Almost circular church in neo-Gothic style. Original design very similar to the H.H. Engelbewaarders in Den Haag. Tower not built, a planned extention was not executed either. Damaged in World War Two, after which the roof was repaired to a lower height.


1922 Den Haag (ZH): church H.H. Martelaren van Gorcum

Molenaar's final church design. Church in a modernized neo-Gothic style. Demolished in 1941.

1924-1926 Poeldijk (ZH): church St. Bartholomeus




Already designed in 1913. Big three-aisled cruciform basilican church in neo-Gothic style. Due to its size nicknamed "Cathedral of the Westland".

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