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Haarlem (NH): Begijnhofkapel or Waalse kerk


The Waalse kerk, or Walloon church, is the oldest church in Haarlem and was originally the chapel of the beguinage, hence the alternative name Begijnhofkapel. The beguinage was founded in 1262 but was, like most of Haarlem, destroyed by a great fire in 1347, including the church.The church was rebuilt shortly after. In ca. 1388 the tall choir was completed and in ca. 1398 the nave was enlarged. In the same period the tower was added.
In 1581, after the protestants broke a treaty which granted the catholics equal rights, the beguinage was confiscated. Five years later the choir was given to the Walloon community, protestants from the north of France and the south of what today is Belgium, while the nave and tower remained property of the city. Especially the nave, which served several profane functions since, has changed much since it was built, if not to say it was mutilated, with almost none of its Gothic features left. In 1767 the entire church became property of the Walloon community, which still continues to use it.






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