This is the main church of Deventer – “Grote of Lebuïnuskerk” or “Great Church or St. Lebuinus Church” when translated.
It was said an English missionary named Lebuinus crossed the IJssel in 768 and decided to build a wooden church on a river dune near a settlement. Later on, it was replaced by a stone church in the tenth century. In 1040, the construction of a large Romanesque basilica on the same ground was commissioned. It was destroyed by fire twice in 1235 and 1334. The present Gothic hall church was built between 1450 and 1525. Lebuinus Church was richly decorated with Catholic splendor of murals, holy statues and altars. When the Calvinists took possession of the church, the interior was transformed; painted and plastered. They renamed the church, Great Church (Dutch: Grote Kerk). Hence, the name “Great Church or St. Lebuinus Church” today.
The effects of the Calvinistic iconoclastic form are still visible in various places. Some of the vault- and wall paintings have been discovered. One example is a mural of Veronica and Christ carrying the cross dated from 1535. The oak pulpit made in the Louis XVI-style was from 1781. There are medieval tiled floor tracing back to 1220. Also worth mentioning are the Magistrate’s chapel built between 1494 and 1499, Neo-Renaissance Holtgräve-organ built between 1836 and 1838 and remains of the Romanesque basilica’s crypt.
There was no information provided during my visit. I found a floor plan on a wall, took a photo and guided myself around the church. The Lebuïnuskerk is well kept and still in use daily by the Protestant municipality of Deventer.
The first stone for the present tower was laid in the summer of 1459. It is 62.5 meters high. The narrow spiral staircase comprises of 220 steps which can be climbed on certain months. Something I would like to do the next time around.
The upper part of the tower is crowned with an eight-sided dome, also known as the lantern. It was designed by the famous architect Hendrick de Keyser from Amsterdam in 1613. The lantern was built to accommodate the carillon made in 1647 which was cast by the brothers François and Pieter Hemony brothers from Zutphen. This is the oldest Hemony chimes in the Netherlands. The carillon was completely restored in 2009.
The present day of the Lebuïnuskerk, the church part belongs to the Protestant Church, while the tower is operated by the local municipality.
The “Grote of Lebuïnuskerk” is open six days a week, all year round and it is FREE ENTRY.
The church tower is open for climbing every Saturday from the month of April to October between 1pm – 4pm. Tickets are priced at €2.50 for adult and € 1.00 for children up to 12 years old.
Address: Grote Kerkhof 38. 7411KV Deventer.
Opening Hours: Low season (1 Nov to 1 Apr) are Mon-Sat from 11am – 4pm. High season (1 Apr to 1 Nov) are Mon to Sat 11am – 5pm.
Entrance Fees: FREE. Donations will be appreciated.