Roermond (L): Minderbroederskerk
The Minderbroederskerk was built in the 15th century as the church of a
Franciscan monastery, which itself had been founded in 1307. The church replaced
the St. Nicolaaskapel (St. Nicolas' chapel) at the same location. The current
church is a three-aisled
hall-church in Gothic style, mostly built of brick but with some use of natural
stone. The large blocks of natural stone were probably taken from the
predecessor, although there's a theory that the protruding frontal part of the central
aisle is in fact a radically altered defensive tower, incorporated when the nave
was lengthened in c. 1500. The church was built very
close to the city wall indeed.
The originally one-aisled church was extended
with side-aisles at the beginning of the 16th century. Until 1695 the church had a tower, which stood
at the north side of the choir.
When Roermond was conquered by protestant troops in 1572, the monastery was
closed and the church looted and partly destroyed. In 1576 the city was
liberated by the catholics and the church was returned to the Franciscans. When
the French occupied Roermond in 1796, the monastery was once again closed and the Franciscans left the city.
Although the church continued to be used for a little while, by 1798 it was closed as well and
turned into a stable for the horses of the French garrisson. In 1820 part of the building, the choir mainly,
became a protestant church. In 1864 the protestant community purchased the rest
of the church as well. In 1883 the former monastery was demolished and a brick wall was added to the buttresses of the southern side-aisle.
The church was in a bad state and in 1903 plans were made to sell and demolish it. The profits would be
used to build a smaller church elsewhere in the city, while a new post-office would replace the old church
on its location. It was Roermond's famous son, the
architect P.J.H. Cuypers, who managed to prevent the demolition. Cuypers suggested a new use for the building as a
museum of applied arts and offered to contribute part of his own collection. This plan was not accepted
and the protestants decided to keep the building. Cuypers did restore the church in 1906-1908, despite
initial protestant that he would restore it back to its "catholic state". The
roof was repaired, vaults were reconstructed and closed windows were reopened. A
further restoration followed in 1947.
On April the 13th 1992 the church was badly damaged by an earthquake. By 1994
it was once again restored.