Koepelkerk of WillemstadCopyright: © Sara Dolls
The Koepelkerk of Willemstad
The Koepelkerk, built in the early 17th century in the center of Willemstad, is considered to be the first church in the Netherlands especially built for Protestant worship. Conceived as a central building above an octogonal ground plan, it became significant for the development of Protestant church architecture in the Netherlands and across borders.
The church has so far been examined in terms of its construction chronology based on the available archive sources, but there has been no comprehensive examination of its construction phases on the building itself. A detailed documentation of the building is to bring it to the foreground as a source and extend the known architectural history stations. The unfinished tower, which in the turbulent planning history of the church was later added to the final design, but never brought to completion, will be of particular interest. First investigations of the architectural structures raise questions as to how the tower originally was functioned and how it was used, as well as its spatial programme at that time, against the background of visible modifications to its internal structure, which have not yet been arranged chronologically. In addition, the survey of the building will be used to illuminate the measurement system, which has not yet been examined at all levels of meaning.
The scientific investigation of the building also focuses on the motivation of Prince Maurice of Nassau, whose work against the Spanish dominated southern Netherlands had a major impact on the Dutch Reformation, to build a centralized church. In order to classify the Koepelkerk with regard to its significance for the history of architecture, the question of possible receptions of Dutch and Italian building tradition comes to the fore in particular, as does the question of what impact the central building type defined with the construction of the Koepelkerk for the Protestant church had on the following church buildings.