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Oisterwijk (NB): St. Petrus' Banden (P.J.H. Cuypers, 1894-1897)

Although some sources state that as early as the 8th century there may have been a church in Oisterwijk, there's is certainty that a church was built in the 13th century. After protestants destroyed Oisterwijk completely in 1587 it took several decades before the church was rebuilt. This rebuilt church, actually no more than a choir and transept, was confiscated by the protestants in 1648. The catholic faith was outlawed, although masses in a hidden church were tolerated after 1674, provided protestants were not "provoked".
In 1809 the old church was returned to the catholics. It was in bad shape and repairs weren't finished until 1823. By that time only the choir remained; the transept had been demolished and a new three-aisled nave had been built. This church was used until 1894, when it was demolished and replaced by a new church.
This new church was designed by P.J.H. Cuypers. It is a neo-Gothic cruciform basilican church with centralizing elements. The general shape, including the oval-shaped ground-plan, was based on that of the Liebfraukirche in Trier, Germany's oldest Gothic church. In each corner where nave, transept and choir meet two diagonal chapels have been built. The choir has seven sides and an ambulatory. At the crossing is a big square tower with a polygonal spire and turrets at the corners. Typical for Cuypers' second period is the use of both red and yellow brick for the exterior and the interior. Cuypers also designed part of the inventory and the stained-glass windows. His son Jos Cuypers was responsible for part of the design. Cuypers Jr. had previously made an alternative design for a truly centralizing church.
Unfortunately the church has not survived without damage. In 1944 British artillery damaged the tower on purpose but without any reason. All corner-turrets were blown off. On May the 27th of 1998 a fire destroyed the spire and much of the tower, including the vault at the crossing. The church was soon restored to its former glory.









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