Laurenskerk- Rotterdam, Netherlands

Laurenskerk
After Landon fell asleep in the stroller, I wanted to make the most of my adult, quiet, alone time. I wandered through downtown Rotterdam, and spied the signs for Laurenskerk. I knew this was on my list of things to see, but I could not remember why. I followed the handy street signs until I came upon this church. With the landscape being mostly flat, the church towers really stand out here and that definitely helped me navigate! I reveled in the beauty of the giant church tower, and then read a little about the edifice.
 Rotterdam is one of the most modern looking cities in the Netherlands because it was  destroyed by a 20 minute German bombing raid during WWII. Although the church was built originally in the 1400s, it was heavily damaged in the raid. After a period of discussion about what should be done with the rubble pile, it was rebuilt in the 50’s and 60’s and today houses the largest organ in Europe. I am a sucker for awesome organs, having taken organ lessons in college. I hope to attend a concert there very soon! 
Ceiling of the tower
Laurenskerk is a Protestant church. The big bronze doors had interesting scenes on them, so Landon’s feet got to pose with them. I guess it’s better than taking bad selfies everywhere I go. The inside of the church began in the tower itself, with this incredibly high ceiling with nice details. 

Wood ceiling

 I must admit, I have visited almost exclusively Catholic churches in France and Italy during previous European excursions. I love Europe for the history and the condition of the historic buildings. Of course, this church was a reconstruction of a historic building, but it’s not their fault that the whole city was bombed! Anyway, there were different features in the Dutch churches vs. other churches in Europe I have seen. One was the arched, wooden, painted ceilings. Laurenskerk is nice and light inside due to light tinted glass, big windows, and a light colored stone floor. The wooden ceiling makes it feel a little darker than say, mosaic or stone ceilings would.

Choir organ

 As if having the largest organ in Europe was not enough, there were two other organs in this church. The one below was the choir organ, I believe. I love the white organ case with gold detailing. Such a pretty organ! Holland is a wet, boggy place. Much of the country is below sea level and there are canals everywhere! That being said, the church was built on boggy ground and the side aisle columns are visibly sinking and off kilter. As I walked along, silently admiring all of the features of this church, I kept thinking in my head, “What would I do if this church collapsed right NOW!” I think it has been sinking for a long time now, so I was safe, but still concerned.

Leaning column, with stroller for perspective

I’m not positive what this organ is for, but it’s cute and tiny!

The big organ!
I tried to save admiring the big organ for last because that was really why I came to this church. Although it is not an old organ- it was installed in the late 1960’s, it is a large organ and it is just gorgeous in size and ornamentation. The marble columns along the bottom and other marble ornaments at the bottom of the organ were designed after the original organ that was destroyed in the bombing. 

Close up of the organ!

There were a few cool pieces in one of the side rooms like this collection of collection sticks and trunks.

Collection sticks and trunks
Though sparse in the ornamentation department, I think the light stone and tinted vs. stained glass makes for a beautiful impression overall. Of course, the organs did not hurt either. 

Outside details + tower
AND… one more of the tower
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