Click here to go to the main page

St. Odiliënberg (L): HH Wiro, Plechelmus en Otgerus

Is this one of the country's oldest churches, or is it a falsification? Either way, this church in Romanesque style, standing on top of a hill, is an impressive sight. The building's history goes back to the first halve of the 8th century, when three Anglo-Saxon priests founded a monastery here, with a church dedicated to St. Petrus. In the 9th century this monastery became a refuge for the chapter of the cathedral in Utrecht, that had fled from the Vikings. The chapter stayed here until 1361, and after a century of decay the former monastery became a convent. It still is, although the original building has been replaced. The church was handed to the parish in 1680.
The church of the 9th century was a one-aisled building with a westwork and a narrower choir. Of that building nothing remains above the ground. A new nave was built in the 11th century, followed by transept, choir and towers in the 12th century. The current look of the church however is in many ways the result of a restoration by architect P.J.H. Cuypers from 1880 until 1883. This restoration was preceded by a long period of neglect, and all that was left of the old church were three traves of the nave, the northern transept-arm with its tower, and the choir. Cuypers restored the church according to his own ideas, which usually meant reconstruction, leading to the loss of historical value. In this particular case, parts that had vanished long ago, like the side-aisles, the southern tower and the two choirs on the transept-arms, were rebuilt. Older parts were often replaced by new ones. Of the original building little was left. World War Two worsened the situation even more. On January 26th of 1945 German troops needlessly destroyed the church. After the war the church was almost completely rebuilt.
Next to the church stands a second, smaller church. This church was built in ca. the year 1000 and was used by the parish. It's now used as a baptistery. On the north-side three closed arches remain of a side-aisle that was added to the building in the 11th- or 12th century. The marl extension on the east side dates from the 19th century.








Back to Churches in the province of Limburg

Back to the Province of Limburg Places & buildings