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Maastricht (L): Dominicanenkerk

The Dominican's church of Maastricht was probably the first Gothic church in the Netherlands. Its construction started in 1267, and it must have been finished ca. 1280. It was consecrated in 1294. In 1309 a chapel was added to the northside of the choir.

The church is a good example of the Mosan style of Gothic. Typical for this style are the basilican shape of the building, the use of marl, fake triforiums and the so-called Maaskapiteel (Maascapital), a piece of sculpture that formed the top of a column and was richly decorated with stylized leaves. This church has a lookalike in the Minderbroederskerk elsewhere in this city, while the Dominicans also built a very similar church in brick in Zutphen (G), the Broederenkerk. Typical for churches built by a mendicant order like this one are the absence of a western tower and a transept. A tower for the church was designed in 1728 by Franciscus Romanus, who later became architect at the court of French king Louis XIV. It was not built. A portal in Baroque style was added in ca. 1700, but it was removed as part of a restoration in 1912-1917.

The church must have been richly decorated once, but of this very little is left. Only a few badly aged paintings on the ceilings remind of better days. In 1794 the French occupiers hunted the Dominicans out of the city, after which the church was used by a parish for several more years. But in 1805 the parish moved to the St. Servatius and the Dominican's church became a warehouse, and most of the interior's works of art moved to other churches. In 1899 the church was given a cultural purpose and used for concerts and exhibitions. In the 1970's and 1980's it had additional functions as an archive depot, a postoffice, a party hall and a bicycle parking.

In 2005-2006 the church was restored. Following the restoration it was transformed into a bookstore. 







The church originally belonged to the Dominicans monastery, parts of the walls of which are still visible next to the church.



Left: at the vaults of this church are some vague remains of once extensive paintings by Jan Vassens (also known as Joannes Vasoens) from 1619. Most of this is beyond recognition, and it seems unlikely that the paintings will ever be restored.


Right: a good view at the fake triforium, and a little less good view of a Maascapital.


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