The Netherlands

Maria van Jesse Kerk, Delft, The Netherlands

When the Maria van Jesse Church was constructed in the heart of Delft, it was known as St. Jozef’s and was one of two parishes which were eventually joined together in 1971 – at which point the new name was given to the church.

The church was designed by Everard Margry, a pupil of Pierre Cuypers, one of the Netherlands’ most famed architects.

In 1572 the Netherlands converted to Protestantism and the Catholic church was, strictly speaking, banned. However, unlike Amsterdam non-Protestant worship was tolerated in Delft and so mass continued to be heard at the corner of the town centre known as the Pape Angle (Pope’s Corner). In 1733 Jesuits managed to build a church, known as the Shelter Church, which was not visible from the road. This church stood at the western end of the current church and it was this church which was first called St. Jozef’s.

After the French occupied Delft a new, larger church was built to designs by Peter Adams.  In 1848 Dutch Catholics re-gained religious freedoms, in 1875 work began on building a new church and the old church was demolished. At this point Everard Margry was brought in and he created the massive Neo-Gothic structure which we see today. This was completed in 1882.

When the two old Catholic parishes of Delft were combined in 1971 it was decided to rename St. Jozef’s to Maria van Jesse’s Church. This is a nod to the medieval procession of Delft following a miracle statue of the Virgin through the streets which was resumed in 1939.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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