Haarlemmerstraat 124-28
P.J.H. Cuypers
Bus 18 - 22 - 227
Kantoren, Leisure, Religie

Neo-gothic church, now office space

Following reestablishment of the episcopal hierarchy in 1853, Dutch Catholics no longer had to conduct their religious practice in secret. The Posthoornkerk (officially named the Church of Our Dear Lady of the Immaculate Conception) is an expression of resurgent Catholic identity in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The new church was named after its predecessor, a clandestine prayer house behind Prinsengracht 7.

The architect P.J.H. Cuypers was asked to make a design, and a building permit was issued in 1860. The section on Haarlemmer Houttuinen was dedicated in 1863. From 1887 to 1889, the church expanded to reach Haarlemmerstraat where it had a fenced-in forecourt, as required by the city council. The new church was intended to become a prominent landmark in the city. However, the site was so hemmed in by other buildings that the church would be barely visible either from Haarlemmer Houttuinen or Haarlemmerstraat. Cuypers therefore designed it to be very tall, with spires that would be visible from afar. The narrow pointed arches, the flying buttresses, the pointed arch windows and the entrance on Haarlemmerstraat place the church firmly in the Neogothic style.

Increasing secularization led to closure of the church in 1963. At first plans were made to demolish it, despite its listing in the National Architectural Monuments register in 1972. A foundation, Stichting De Posthoornkerk, was established to rescue the church and it received a new designation in 1987. The architect Van Stigt converted the church building leaving as much as possible of its original interior intact. The church is now used as premises for small businesses and as a venue for exhibitions and concerts. (ARCAM/MW)