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Gallery: Churches of Gelderland
by Peter Kessler, 27 December 2009
Nijmegen Part 2: Churches of Benedenstad &
Nijmegen Synagogue is located at Nonnenstraat
21 in the central district of Benedenstad. It was first opened as a
Jewish prayer house in 1756 - the first of its kind in the city -
while the existing windows and entrance on the building date from 1798.
It had extensive links with the adjoining school house in around
1870, but in 1913 it was replaced by a new synagogue elsewhere in
the city. After a long period of neglect the building was restored
Doddendaal Monastery (Klooster Doddendaal)
is run by the Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or
Carmelites. Catholics were forbidden to worship when the Protestant
Prince Maurits captured the city from the Spanish in 1591. However,
the majority of the population remained Catholic despite the best
efforts of Nijmegen's Protestant nobility. In 1808, King Louis
Bonaparte allowed Catholic worship to return and this monastery opened
later in the century.
St Petrus Canisius Church (Petrus Canisiuskerk)
is on Molenstraat in the city centre. By 1301 a church convent already
existed here. In 1582, when power in Nijmegen was safely in
Protestant hands, the monastery was sold and renamed 'Old Citizens
Hospital'. By 1808 the monastery and church had different owners,
but in that year Napoleon ordered a number of church
buildings to be returned to Nijmegen's Catholics as they made up more
than half of the city's population.
In 1818, the 'regular church' in Molenstraat was brought
back into use. Between 1821 to 1925 the church was named St
Ignatius Church, after the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius
Loyola. In 1874 the city walls were demolished and Nijmegen began to
grow rapidly, greatly increasing the number of available
parishioners. In 1897 it was decided to replace the old church
building with a large, neo-Gothic church designed by Nicholas
In 1925, the church was re-consecrated in the
name of Nijmegen's St Peter Canisius (1521-1597) upon his canonisation.
During the bombing of 22 February 1944, the church was largely
destroyed, but was rebuilt between 1958-1960, with the majority
of the new, Modernistic construction work being added to the
surviving walls at the rear, under the eye of Siebers, the
architect. Today, above the portal, is a large bronze Christ
monogram with a diameter of 2.5 metres.
The Marienburg Chapel (MariŽnburgkapel)
is at MariŽnburg 26, a little way south-east from Petrus Canisius.
It dates from around 1431, and was the chapel for the MariŽnburg
Convent which closed down after the Protestants took the city. It is
one of the few 'double churches', with an upper storey where the
nuns used to attend services separated from the lay people on the
ground floor. It is the only surviving part of the convent and now
sits in a plaza surrounded by shops.