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Modern Netherlands

Gallery: Churches of North Brabant

by Peter Kessler, 21 February 2010

 

 

Cuijk Part 1: Churches of Cuijk & Katwijk

St Martin's Church Cuijk

St Martin's Church Cuijk (St Martinus Kerk in Dutch) sits on the banks of the River Meuse in the town of Cuijk, which is just inside the North Brabant provincial border, approximately ten kilometres south of Nijmegen. The church is an imposing sight in the town and can be seen from some distance along the riverbanks. The twin-towered cross basilica is Catholic. It was built in the neo-Gothic style between 1911-1913. The design was supplied by Caspar Franssen.

St Martin's Church Cuijk

The paintings in the interior were designed by Hans Mengelberg and executed by Cornelis Johannes Wilbrink. The high altar is Gothic. The altarpiece is by Hendrik van der Geld, which on his own initiative he made for St John's Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch, but it ended up in Cuijk. The side altars and Pieta are also by van der Geld. The organ was built between 1525 and 1650 in the Walloon tradition of the seventeenth century by Andries Severijn.

St Martin's Church Cuijk

The organ was initially at the Benedictine abbey at Saint-Laurent Liège, but when the monasteries were closed by the Revolutionary French in 1796 it was purchased, and was restored several times, mainly by the Smits family, and installed in the new church in 1913. In 1945 the church was severely damaged by the German Army. It took until 2009 before major restoration work could be started. The small chapel nearby (shown here) is for the town's care home.

Cuijk Protestant Church

Cuijk Protestant Church (Protestantsekerk) is on the western side of Grotestraat, on the corner with Markt, a little way south of St Martin's Church. It was built in 1809, co-financed by King Louis Napoleon, brother of the French emperor. In 1811 the church received its loud bell, cast by Clément Drouot, but the clock was looted during the Second World War. In 1978 it was found and returned. The organ was built in 1830 and restored in 1980.

Holy Martin Church

Holy Martin Church (Heilig Martinus Kerk) is in Katwijk, a village immediately to the north of Cuijk, on the south-western bank of the Meuse. The village was probably founded during the Roman period, when a road was laid north to south. The Catholic church was built under the direction of John Suys, who had a special devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. Construction started in 1881, creating a three-aisled neo-Gothic cruciform building with stained glass windows.

Holy Martin Church

The church was completed in 1887, at which point Suys built a Lourdes Grotto behind the church, making it one of the oldest grottos in the country. Pilgrims flocked to it, but this branch of the Lourdes pilgrimage trail proved especially popular with the local parishes. Processions were held in the Marian Month (May), at Assumption (15 August) and on the first Sunday of the Rosary Month (October), although these have greatly decreased in number in recent years.

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