St. Martin's Cathedral Domkerk, Utrecht

#3 of 9 in Historic Sites in Utrecht
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
St. Martin's Cathedral, Utrecht, or Dom Church (Domkerk), is a Gothic church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, which was the cathedral of the Diocese of Utrecht during the Middle Ages. It is the country's only pre-Reformation cathedral, but has been a Protestant church since 1580.
It was once the Netherlands' largest church, but the nave collapsed in a storm in 1674 and has never been rebuilt, leaving the tower isolated from the east end.
The building is the one church in the Netherlands that closely resembles the style of classic Gothic architecture as developed in France. All other Gothic churches in the Netherlands belong to one of the many regional variants. Unlike most of its French predecessors, the building has only one tower, the 112m Dom Tower, which is the hallmark of the city.
The first chapel in Utrecht was founded around 630 by Frankish clergy under the patronage of the Merovingian kings but was destroyed during an attack of the Frisians on Utrecht shortly thereafter. The site of this first chapel within Utrecht is unknown. Saint Willibrord (died 739), the Apostle to the Frisians, established a second chapel devoted to Saint Martin on (or close to) the site of the current building. This church was destroyed by the Normans in the 9th century during one of their many raids on Utrecht, but was reconstructed by Bishop Balderic in the 10th century. During this period St. Martin's came to be the principal church of Utrecht, see of the bishop. The church had its own small territorial close (known as an "immunity") and was led by a cathedral chapter of canons, who generally belonged to the nobility.
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  • We visited the church on Saturday afternoon and attended a 'free' concert. Every Saturday there is a 'free' classical concert. This time we listened to music from Bach played beautifully on the...  more »
  • This Gothic Cathedral is well worth a visit, not only to see the beautiful Gothic architecture and stained glass, but also because you will not see something like it anywhere. The nave collapsed in...  more »
  • Lovely bit of history in the center of Utrecht. Highly recommend the "under the dom tower" tour, its a lot more history in this place than you might at first realize. Also the church itself is impressive.
  • Nice to look around. But if you want to hear the pipe organ playing, you have to visit the church on Saturday. Maybe Friday. I'm not sure.
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