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Doesburg (G): Grote- of Martinikerk

The history of the Great Church or Martinikerk dates back to ca. 1235, when a Romanesque church was built. As this church, along with part of the town, was destroyed by floodings in ca. 1343, a new church was built a bit more to the east. After a fire destroyed it in 1483, it was rebuilt between 1493 and 1521 as a much larger church, a three-aisled basilica in the Lower Rhine variant of Gothic.

The tower and the western parts of the side-aisles were built using tuff, the rest of the church was mostly built of brick. Although two different types of material were used, it is believed that the entire church was built using a single plan. The choir was built between 1517 and 1521 and was the last part of the church to be completed. In 1586 it became a protestant church. The church was struck by disaster many times. In 1548 a fire caused the vaults of the main aisle to collapse. In 1672 the French set fire to the tower and in 1717 and 1737 lightning struck again. In 1782 the first lightning rod of the Netherlands was installed on the tower.

On the 15th of April 1945 retreating Germans troops blew up the tower. The western part of the church was destroyed and the rest was badly damaged. In 1946 a temporary wall was build to close-off the otherwise open nave. In 1948 the eastern part of the church was put back into service as a temporary church, but because the damage was too big it was soon abandoned. Thankfully the people and authorities of Doesburg always persisted that the church should be restored to its former glory. The restoration of the church began in August 1959. In January 1960 the reconstruction of the tower began, a massive undertaking which after five years was largely completed. The entire restoration lasted until 1972.





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