History Files


Modern Netherlands

Gallery: Churches of Gelderland

by Peter Kessler, 27 December 2009



Nijmegen Part 8: Churches of Hengstdal & Ubbergen

Christ the King Church

Christ the King Church (Christus Koningkerk in Dutch) is on the corner of Hengstdalseweg and Dommer van Poldersveldtweg, in the Hengstdal district on the eastern side of Nijmegen. Construction on the Expressionist Catholic church began in 1932 to cater for this rapidly expanding suburb, and was carried out in a typically modern way, using reinforced concrete clad with brick on the outside. The design was by J Zwanikken, and the church was consecrated in 1933.

Christ the King Church

With the number of parishioners rapidly falling, the church was demolished in 1993, except for the tower. The farewell ceremony was held on 1 November. The organ went to St Petrus Canisius Church. The marble baptismal font and some terracotta statues by Jac Maris went to St Stephen's Church. The entrance through the tower now accesses apartments, with shops on either side. The parish was merged with St Stephen's Church, which was also closed in 2009.

St Stephen's Church

St Stephen's Church (St Stephanus Kerk) is located at Berg en Dalseweg 203, to the north-east of Christ the King, whose parish it absorbed in 1993. This dome church was built in the Expressionist style in 1922-1923. Although its architect, Petrus J H Cuypers, had formed a partnership with his father, Jos Cuypers, in 1920, occasionally he designed a church on his own. St Stephen's is one such example; a three-aisled cruciform church with a large twelve-sided crossing-tower.

St Stephen's Church

At the front of the church is a facade flanked by two square towers. The side-aisles are narrow and have flat roofs. The central aisle is wider and higher and has a clerestorey. At the back is a short choir with a semi-circular apse covered by a half dome. Both the general style and details of the church show similarities with several of Cuypers' churches built in conjunction with his father, especially Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLV Altijddurende Bijstand) in Bussum, built in 1921.

Ubbergs Chapel

The former Ubbergen Chapel is now known as the Ubbergen Chapel Foundation (Stichting 't Ubbergs Kerkje). It is situated on the very eastern edge of Nijmegen, in the narrow street of Rijksstraatweg, just south of the heavily wooded town of Ubbergen. The chapel was originally founded in the fourteenth century, and has changed little since then, even down to its whitewashed walls. Today it forms the venue for various concerts, art expositions, and coaching sessions.

Ubbergs Monastery

The former Ubbergen Monastery lies just a little way south, still on Rijksstraatweg, and it looms up only briefly out of a mass of trees. Originally just a villa built by the wealthy family of More in 1880, it was enlarged into a neo-Renaissance castle between 1903 and 1926, and consisted of the villa, the west wing, north wing, chapel, aisles and the nurses. For a while the building served as a convent, with girls' boarding school, but now its use is entirely secular.

Additional text on this page by P Spies.

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