Der Aa-kerk

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Der A-kerk
Der Aa-kerk Groningen.jpg
Der Aa-kerk
Coordinates: 53°13′09″N 6°34′06″E / 53.21917°N 6.56833°E / 53.21917; 6.56833
Location Groningen
Country Netherlands
Status Church
Dedication Our Lady, Saint Nicholas
Designated 1200
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic
Length 76 m (249 ft 4 in)
Width 25 m (82 ft 0 in)
Height 76 m (249 ft 4 in)
Floor area 1,155 m2 (12,430 sq ft)
Dome height (inner) 26 m (85 ft)
Materials Brick

Der Aa-kerk (also: A-kerk) is a historic parish church in the centre of Groningen, and a dominant feature in the skyline of the city together with the nearby Martinitoren.


Before the construction of the current church, a chapel dedicated to Mary and Saint Nicholas (patron saint of fishermen) stood on this site. The chapel was situated close to the river Aa, where bargees cast off vessels in the western harbour (Westerhaven).

The chapel became a parish church in the year 1247 and was named "Chapel of Our Lady at the river Aa" (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe ter Aa-kerk). At this time, Groningen consisted of two centres, each surrounding a religious edifice, the Church of Our Lady at the river Aa being one of them. Fishermen and tradesmen inhabited the area around this chapel.

The chapel was transformed into a brick gothic church between 1425 and 1495. Both the interior and exterior have been altered many times over the course of history due to the iconoclasm during the Reformation, war damage (Siege of Groningen) and natural phenomena (lightning strike).


Images of the Siege of Groningen in 1672 show Der Aa-kerk without the top of the tower. After the war a new wooden tower top was built.

On 23 April 1710, the tower spontaneously collapsed killing two people. In 1711, a new tower was built.


In 1667, an organ was built by Van Hagerbeer. It was destroyed by fire in 1671.[1]

The first Schnitger organ in the church was built by Arp Schnitger in 1697 (see gallery for a sketch). In 1710, the tower of the church collapsed and the organ was destroyed.[2]

The second Schnitger was built in 1702, originally for the Broerkerk in Groningen. In 1815, the organ was transferred to the Aa-kerk.[3]

The Bolsward organ build by Raphael Rodensteen in 1550 was originally for the Martinikerk (Bolsward) in Bolsward. In 1635, the organ was transferred to the Broerkerk in Groningen and in 1877 it was transferred back to the Martinikerk in Bolsward. In 1991, it was transferred again to Groningen and the Aa-kerk.


External links[edit]

Media related to Der Aa-kerk at Wikimedia Commons