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Bussum (NH): St. Vitus (P.J.H. Cuypers, 1883-1884)

Although Bussum today is quite a large town, in the Middle Ages it was a small agricultural village that belonged to the town of Naarden and was part of the same parish. In 1520 a small chapel was built at the edge of the village. This chapel remained in catholic use until  the Reformation. By the year 1700 it was used by the local authorities for the storage of wood. The catholics had transformed a farmhouse into a barn church, which served until it was replaced by a new church in 1844. This church soon became too small.

Architect P.J.H. Cuypers was commissioned to design a new church, but was given some restrictions; he was told to base his design on that of the medieval Broederenkerk in Zutphen, a three-aisled basilican church with an aisles choir and without a tower or a transept. Cuypers designed a church that largely copied the example, but he did add a short 'transept-arm' with a stair-turret to the north side.  A few years later Cuypers used this example again for his design for the St. Jozef in Groningen.

The St. Vitus was given a tower in 1895-1896, designed by Cuypers' son J.Th.J. Cuypers, that was obviously inspired by the 16th-century tower of Eemnes-Buiten, a specimen of Utrecht Gothic. An earlier design by P.J.H. Cuypers himself, dated 1881, shows a tower with an octagonal upper segment.
In 1936 a polygonal baptistry was added to the north side of the tower, designed by G.J. Vos.

The St. Vituskerk was closed in 1982 and was damaged by fire in 1988. It has been rebuilt into apartments in 2002-2003, resulting in a drastically altered appearance. The internal space was divided into five storeys with a total of 31 apartments. On the outside the transformation is especially visible because of the addition of numerous modern, rectangular windows.




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