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Venlo (L): O.L. Vrouwekerk (P.J.H. Cuypers, 1913-1914)

Dominating the southern part of Venlo is P.J.H. Cuypers last church. The Church of Our Lady is impressive in size, but is generally not regarded as one of Cuypers' best works. The old architect had not built many churches in the past decade and was especially active in the restoration and enlargement of older buildings. Others, including Cuypers' son Joseph, now were the prominent catholic architects. The old Cuypers had become a man of the past, respected for his work but no longer much in demand for the design of new churches.
Cuypers' last church is a three-aisled basilican church in neo-Gothic style, the most interesting part of which is the crossing/transept-section. This part of the church has a hexagonal ground-plan with 'transept-arms' with only two sides, and is crowned by a pointed dome, not unsimilar to the one on Cuypers' previous St. Antonius in Oosterhout. At this point, the side-aisles are transformed into chapels with a notably different shape. Cuypers borrowed the idea of the hexagonal crossing from the O.L. Vrouwekerk in Hilversum, designed by his former assistent W. te Riele and built in 1910.
The rest of the church is rather conventional. The horizontal accent, which is prominent in Cuypers' later work, is missing here. The church was damaged in World War Two and rebuilt after the war by architect Stoks, who gave the tower a different spire.







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