Nieuwe Kerk


east side of Marktplein

The late Gothic cruciform basilica of the Nieuwe Kerk on the Markt was built during the 1400's, and rebuilt and restored several times since.

In 1381 the citizen of Delft erected a wooden temporary church. By 1390, the stone chancel and transept were finished, and in 1435 the whole church was ready.

As for the tower, the first stone was laid in 1396. Under the supervision of Jacob van der Borch, it was finished in 1496. In a letter of March 14, 1713, to Jan Meerman, Delft's mayor, about the eye of a whale found at great depth in the ocean, Leeuwenhoek noted in a P.S. that he and Jacob Spoors had once measured the height of the tower, "each with his quadrant, and found it to be 299 feet."

Over the years, the spire was damaged by fire and lightning. The great city fire of 1536 started there, and the Donderslag gunpowder explosion of 1654 blew out its stained-glass windows. The current spire dates from the late 1800's. It is the second tallest in the Netherlands after the Dom in Utrecht, both built by Borch.

Leeuwenhoek and Vermeer were baptized in the Nieuwe Kerk. By that time, it was owned, as it still is, by the Gereformeerde Gemeente Delft. The main attraction is the mausoleum of Prince Willem of Orange (aka William the Silent, Willem de Zwijger), which was completed before Leeuwenhoek's birth.

Several artists during Leeuwenhoek's life painted interior views of the Nieuwe Kerk, among them Hendrick van Vliet (1611-1675) and Gerard Houckgeest (1600–1661).

1832 Kadaster number: