Delft’s Oude Kerk’s leaning gothic tower rises above the stout skyline.
The original church was built in 1050. It was first expanded in the 13th century when Delft received its charter and was completed in the 14th century.
The tower, with its brick spire and four angle towers, was added between 1325 and 1350. To accommodate the addition, builders filled in a canal to provide a larger foundation. But, oops, the new ground did not support the new structure. The tower’s heavy stones began subsiding during construction. Rather than, uh, abort construction, workers stabilized the tower and continued building up. Today, the tower is 75 meters high and two meters off center.
In 1536, the tower was struck by lighting which, encouraged by a strong wind, led to a major city-wide fire.
Inside, the church is very spare. The 16th-century iconoclasts destroyed everything considered Roman Catholic, which left, well, almost nothing.
The 27 striking stained-glass windows depict biblical and historical scenes. Among the best-known is a Liberation Window that celebrates the expulsion of the German army after WWII.
There are three pipe organs. The largest one dates from the 19th century and has 2,832 pipes.
There is a floor plaque honoring Delft’s most famous resident, Vermeer, and a memorial to the country’s most successful admiral, Maerten Tromp.
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