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Rijswijk (G): reformed church or St. Martinus

The church of Rijswijk is believed to have been founded by the missionary Suitbertus in the 8th century. The original building probably stood closer to the river Rhine and later moved location due to the danger of floodings.

The oldest part of the current church is the lower part of the tower and dates from the 14th century. In ca. 1500 the upper part was added, built largely out of rubble coming probably from a previous church. The choir was built in the same period. The earlier aisleless nave was replaced by the current three-aisled pseudo-basilica in the second quarter of the 16th century while a sacristy was built at the south side of the choir.

During the Reformation the church became protestant. After 1700 the building fell into decay, with especially the tower and the roof requiring attention. In 1852 the tower was leaning dangerously forward. Around 1860 a major renovation failed to secure the church, and by 1870 the vaults of the nave almost collapsed under the strain of the leaning tower. It was probably when the construction was strengthened in 1870 that the traves of the side-aisles on both sides of the tower were removed and replaced by entrances in neo-Gothic style.

In the 1930's further damage was caused when the exterior was plastered with a grey mortar that contained too much cement.

Although still functioning as a protestant church, since 1989 it has been owned by a foundation for the preservation of old churches in Gelderland. The foundation took care of an extensive restoration from 1991 until 1993 which finally secured the tower. The church was now plastered white.


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