The Netherlands

St. Laurenskerk, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

One of the very few buildings in Rotterdam that wasn’t completed flattened in World War II, the Sint Laurenskerk was built between 1449 and 1525 and for many years was the only stone building in the whole of the City.

In 1621 a wooden top was added to the tower, but it was badly made and had to be removed soon afterwards. To replace this, in 1650, a granite cube was added to the top of the tower. This weighed such a lot that the tower had to be heavily strengthened which his probably how it came to survive the bombings when almost nothing else around it did. On May 14, 1940 pretty much every other building in the area was flattened and there is a famous picture which shows the church standing over a wrecked city, looking for all the world like Hiroshima after the Atomic Bomb dropped on it.

Restoration began in 1952 and in 1968 the church was fully repaired. Recent years have seen it swathed in scaffolding as further restoration is undertaken.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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and Shaun Runham
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