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Oosterbeek (G): reformed church

Although now located at the edge of Oosterbeek, the old church when built was at the centre of the village. Villages moving to another location are not rare, but in this case it becomes very obvious as it takes quite a walk to get here from the current centre.
The church is one of the oldest in The Netherlands. The one-aisled nave dates from the 10th century and is the oldest of the Veluwe region. The original rectangular Carolingian choir with three internal apses was replaced by a Romanesque one in the 12th century. In the same period a porch in Romanesque style was added to the north side of the nave while two lateral chapels were demolished, although traces of these are still clearly visible in the walls of the nave. The tower dates from ca. 1350 and is in a simple Gothic style. At the south side, at the corner between tower and nave, is a short stair-turret. In the 15th century the choir was once again replaced, this time by a Gothic one. An extensive enlargement in 1856 gave the church a neo-Gothic look, complete with a transept and large pointed windows.
In September 1944 the church was greatly damaged. It was one of the last strongholds of the British 1st Airborne Division before its retreat over the Rhine on the night of 25/26 September. In and around the church there are several reminders to the role of the church during the Battle of Arnhem.
After the war the church was restored to the state of ca. 1400, following plans by W.J. Gerritsen and C.J. Cramer. The Romanesque origins of the nave were emphasized by closing the large windows and replacing them with smaller ones, while a new pseudo-Romanesque choir replaced the severely damaged Gothic one. The new choir followed the contours of the former Romanesque choir. The outlines of the Gothic choir are still visible in the shape of the wall just behind the church.
The church has been in protestant use ever since the Reformation and is still used for services, as well as cultural manifestations.





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