The Bergkerk, also known as St. Nicholas Church, is a former place of worship, located at the very heart of Bergkwartier neighborhood in Deventer. When translated, Berg means mountain and Kerk means church. For a fact, Bergkerk is situated high on a ‘hilly’ top.
The church was a Romanesque basilica originally built in the years 1198-1209 by brothers from the Norbertine monastery of Varlar, near Coesfelt, in Germany. During this time, Deventer was a flourishing trade city due to its strategic position on the River IJssel. Appropriately, this church was consecrated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of merchants and sailors.
Centuries later, the structure and its two towers underwent several renovations and received its Late Gothic alterations. In 1580, the Dutch Reformed Church took possession and the Catholic characteristics interior disappeared under a layer of whitewash. A major restoration was carried out between 1915-1924 when several murals were uncovered and eventually restored. The organ above the entrance, which was built in the years 1841-1843 by Johann Heinrich Holtgräve, remained. In 1967, the church was disestablished as the house of God and sold for the symbolic amount of 1 guilder to the municipality of Deventer.
Since then, the Bergkerk has been adapted to museum standards with regards to security, climate control conditions and public facilities, in order to host exhibitions, meetings and concerts. From 1991 until 2005, the church was used for temporary exhibitions by Museum de Fundatie (a museum of visual arts in Zwolle). The church building is usually open to the public. Visitors are free to walk in and have a look around. No entry fees unless specified otherwise. Do look out for the 17th century legendary cannonball bricked on the left front façade. The surrounding neighborhood is a picturesque medieval quarter with sloping small streets, packed with historical buildings. Fantastic for a stroll!
Address: Bergkerkplein 1. 7411EN Deventer.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11am – 5pm.
Getting There: 10 minutes walk from Deventer train station.