Oude Kerk


Between the city's two oldest canals, the Oude Delft and the Nieuwe Delft, across from the Prinsenhof.

The Oude Kerk, the oldest parish church in Delft, is now owned by the Gereformeerde Gemeente Delft. It was built between 1250 and 1350 on the site of an even older church. It was originally known as Sint-Bartholomeus, then Sint-Hippolyte, but after the other big church was built, the Nieuwe Kerk, this one became known as the Oude Kerk. The two main grachts, the Oude Delft and the Nieuwe Delft, were similarly named.

Subsidence caused the 75-meter high Gothic tower to lean two meters off center even before it was completed. It is topped by turrets that were re-built more vertically, giving it a cock-eyed look.

This photo (from the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk) shows the church from the east. Half of the Hippolytusbuurt is visible in the bottom left corner.

The Oude Kerk's current stained glass windows date from the mid-20th century because the originals that had survived the fire of 1536 were blown out by the gunpowder explosion in 1654, the Delftse Donderslag. Also, during iconoclastic rages in 1566 and especially in 1572, almost every vestige of Roman Catholicism was marred if not destroyed. Only the pulpit was spared.

Leeuwenhoek (1723), his wives, children, and many other family members are buried in the Oude Kerk. The mausoleum of Leeuwenhoek, commissioned by his daughter Maria, is in the tower wall, on the north side.

Vermeer (1675) is also buried in the Oude Kerk, joining war of independence heroes Piet Hein (1629) and Maarten Tromp (1653) as well as Leeuwenhoek's short-lived mentor Regnier de Graaf (1674) and his friend and correspondent, the Grand Pensionary Anthonie Heinsius (1720).

The paintings above by Hendrick van Vliet (1611-1675) show the memorials of naval heros Hein (left) and Tromp (right). The paintings below view the Oude Kerk from the south (van der Heyden, left) and from the north (la Fargue, right).

Several artists during Leeuwenhoek's life painted interior views of the Oude Kerk, among them Emanuel de Witte (1617–1692), who did the three below.

Note in these paintings and also in those of the Nieuwe Kerk how the artists portrayed the overflow of daily life into the churches: knitting, dogs, and business deals.


1832 Kadaster number: