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Architects: P.J. Soffers (1820-1910)

Petrus J. (the J. is probably for Joannes) Soffers is one of the most important and productive architects of Roman Catholic churches in early neo-Gothic style. Despite his importance, very little is known about his person. His father P. Soffers was a builder in Ginneken, now part of Breda, and the son had his architect's office in that same village. He probably was trained by his father and must have started working as an architect in ca. 1849. As an architect of churches he worked in the Breda diocese, which covered the western part of Noord-Brabant as well as the southern-most part of the province of Zeeland. In this diocese he had a dominant position, almost a monopoly, until he was succeeded by P.J. van Genk in the 1870's. Soffers' career also includes a minor seminary near Breda and several profane buildings, mainly houses.

Soffers' churches are mostly in a neo-Gothic style, with a few in neo-Classical or neo-Romanesque style. His work lacks a true understanding of Gothic construction. His vaults are constructions out of wood and plaster, and his towers are mostly integrated in the facade, an element inherited from neo-Classicism. Yet,  Soffers sometimes managed to successfully mimic medieval Gothic beyond the level of mere decoration. Many of his churches have been demolished or have been altered while several others are (destined to be) closed.

The following is a list of Soffers' religious buildings. It is possibly incomplete.

1850-1851 Aardenburg (Z): church O.L.V. Hemelvaart

Three-aisled hall-church (type Stuffenhalle) in neo-Gothic style. Original choir replaced by a new transept and choir in 1924-1925 by N.J.H. van Groenendael.
1850 Etten-Leur (NB): chapel Franciscan convent

Chapel in neo-Gothic style. Transept added in 1882, choir demolished in 1908 to make space for the big new chapel by P.J. van Genk. In that period the chapel was internally divided into two stories.

1852 Oosteind (NB): church St. Johannes de Doper

Three-aisled pseudo-basilica in neo-Classical style. Enlarged with external spaces in ca. 1925.
1854 Graauw (Z): church Maria Hemelvaart

Three-aisled cruciform pseudo-basilica in neo-Gothic style, incorporating an older tower.
1857-1860 Sint Jansteen (Z): church St. Johannes de Doper

Three-aisled pseudo-basilica in neo-Gothic style. Transept added by J. Goethals in 1898.
1857 Biervliet (Z): church H. Maagd Maria Onbevlekt Ontvangen

Originally an aisleless church in neo-Gothic style. Wide side-aisles added in 1920.
1858-1859 Prinsenbeek (NB): church O.L. Vrouw ten Hemelopneming

Big three-aisled cruciform basilica in neo-Gothic style.  Demolished in 1964.
1860 Baarle-Nassau (NB): temporary church O.L. Vrouw van Altijddurende Bijstand

Temporary church, destroyed by a storm in 1877.
1860 Vogelwaarde-Stoppeldijk (Z) : church St. Gerulphus

Details unknown. Destroyed by fire in 1869. Soffers built a new church in 1870.
1860 Nieuw-Namen (Z): church St. Joseph

Church in neo-Gothic style. Drastic changes in 1898 (side-aisles) and 1923 (tower).
1860-1861 Hoofdplaat (Z): church St. Eligius

Three-aisled church in neo-Gothic stye.
1861 Steenbergen (NB): tower church St. Gummarus

Neo-Gothic tower for an older neo-Classical church. Demolished in 1902.
1861 Axel (Z): church St. Gregorius de Grote

Aisleless church in neo-Gothic style. Extended in 1926-1928 with side-aisles and a new choir, the latter by W. te Riele.
1862 Achtmaal (NB): church H. Cornelius

Three-aisled pseudo-basilica in neo-Classical style. Enlarged with transept by P. Bilsen in 1923-1924.
1862 Dinteloord (NB): church Petrus en Paulus

Church in neo-Gothic style, with tower featuring neo-Classical elements. Replaced in 1927.
1862 Philippine (Z): church H. Maria Hemelvaart

Three-aisled pseudo-basilica in neo-Classical style.
1863 Standdaarbuiten (NB): church St. Johannes de Doper

Aisleless church in neo-Gothic style. Demolished in ca. 1920.
1863 Groede (Z): church St. Bavo

Aisleless church in neo-Gothic style.
1864-1865 Bergen op Zoom-Nieuw Borgvliet (NB):  church St. Antonius Abt

Church in neo-Gothic style. Demolished in 1929 or 1930.
1865 Dongense Vaart (NB): church St. Hubertus

Three aisled church in neo-Gothic style. Rebuilt in 1929 into an aisleless church by architects Oomen.
1865 Putte (NB): church St. Dyonisius

Church in neo-Gothic style, destroyed by retreating French soldiers in 1940. Tower remains.
1869-1870 Ulicoten (NB): church St. Bernardus

Cruciform church in neo-Gothic style, with two frontal towers. Destroyed in 1944.
1869-1870 Kloosterzande (Z): church St. Martinus

Three-aisled cruciform basilica in neo-Gothic style.
1870 Vogelwaarde-Stoppeldijk (Z) : church St. Gerulphus

Three-aisled pseudo-basilica in neo-Gothic style, rebuilding of a church destroyed by fire in 1869. Possibly reconstructed using the original design from 1860.
1871-1873 Lamswaarde (Z): church St. Cornelius

Cruciform basilica in neo-Gothic style. 
1872 Strijbeek (NB): chapel St. Hubertus

Chapel in neo-Gothic style, built with bricks of a demolished late-Gothic predecessor.
1874-1875 Willemstad (NB): church H. Maagd Maria

Aisleless church in neo-Gothic style, with tower. Destroyed in 1944.
1876 Vogelwaarde-Boschkapelle (Z): church H.H. Petrus en Paulus

Three-aisled pseudo-basilica in neo-Gothic style.
1876-1877 Clinge (Z): church St. Henricus

Three-aisled basilica in neo-Romanesque style.
1877-1878 Baarle-Nassau (NB): church O.L. Vrouw van Altijddurende Bijstand

Church in neo-Gothic style, replacing Soffers' temporary church from 1860. Gradually replaced since 1932.
1882 Schijf (NB): church St. Martinus

Church in neo-Gothic style. Demolished in 1939.
1882-1883 Woensdrecht (NB): church St. Joseph

New church in an eclectic neo-Classical style, featuring Romanesque influences at the tower. Destroyed in 1944.
1883 Breda (NB): chapel convent St. Elisabeth

Chapel for Franciscan convent. Demolished in 1962.
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