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Grootebroek (NH): St. Johannes de Doper (S.B. van Sante, 1926-1927)

As in most parts of the province of Holland, the catholics of Grootebroek lost their church to the protestants in 1572. However, the majority remained catholic, and the community met in various barns and houses until a modest barn church was built. This wooden building remained in use until 1858, when a true church was built. It was a small neo-Gothic church, designed by Th. Molkenboer and consecrated in October 1861. In 1904 it was enlarged with a transept and a new choir, designed by architect A.A.M. Brüning. But within two decades it not only became too small, it also fell into decay. In 1910 the tower's spire was even stolen and not replaced.

In 1926-1927 a new church was built at the same location. The architect was S.B. van Sante (1876-1936), a relatively unknown architect who mostly built in the province of Noord-Holland. He designed only a few churches and chapels and mostly built profane buildings such as schools and houses. In 1923-1924 he had supervised the construction of the Adelbertuskapel in Bloemendaal, which had been designed by French monk-architect Dom Paul Bellot.
The next year, Bellot's typical Expressionist style influenced Van Sante's design for the new catholic church of Grootebroek. In December 1924 Van Sante paid Bellot a visit in the St. Paulus abbey in Oosterhout to show him his design, which was approved by Bellot.

It's a three-aisled cruciform basilica with a tower in the right corner between front and transept. The facade appears to be based on that of Bellot's church in Noordhoek, with portal and windows held in a slightly recessed arch, a layout repeated in the facades of the transept. The most notable feature of Bellot's influence are the narrow, pointed windows which are all over the church. The facade, transept and clerestorey have large ones, the side-aisles and choir have narrow ones. The windows in the apse are especially narrow.

Van Sante added a few features which are not in Bellot's style. Of special interest is the tower, which has a large brickwork cross on all of its sides. The eastern transept-arm (the church is not oriented) has a polygonal stair-turret.









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