Sint Janskerk (Gouda, Netherlands)

bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019 · 3 min read

Gouda is a town that is a short train (or car... or bike) ride away from the city of The Hague in The Netherlands. It's a town whose name is probably most famously associated with the Gouda cheese... and it is also known as the birthplace of the iconic Dutch delicacy, Stroopwafels. Ah... concert work does bring me to some very nice places sometimes!

It is also home to an impressive specimen of a Gothic Church, known as Sint Janskerk after John the Baptist (the patron saint of the town). Construction of the church began in the 15th century, and the main body of the church measures a very impressive 123 metres (after a 15th century renovation). However, it is most famously known for the 72 gigantic (and stunning!) stained glass windows that adorn the outer walls of the church. Thankfully, the windows survived the centuries through devastating wars and various angry rioting mobs to be now listed as part of the UNESCO site.

So, without further ado... this is a small selection of the 72!

The Windows

I had gone around and photographed a selection of the gigantic windows before the seating rehearsals... unfortunately, I wasn't able to get them all, as it was late afternoon, and the light wasn't too good on some of the ones nearer to the alter. Plus, I was there to work... not to photograph windows, however impressive they looked!

The Church

The rest of the church is also quite impressive, with detailed stonework and carvings... it is definitely worth looking around the walls and the various arches as well. Don't get get only distracted by the windows!

Organs

Being a musician, I also took the time to take a few photographs of the organs that were scattered around the church. There was the main large organ, plus a couple of smaller organs. One of the continuo players told me that the medium sized organ (pictured above) was also usable for the A-415 pitch that we were using for the concert... however, the temperament wasn't quite usable as it was meantone tuned which would have had been disastrous for the Matthew Passion which traverses many of the "bad" keys of that particular temperament!

Practical Stuff

Address: Achter de Kerk 2, 2801 JW Gouda
tel. +31 (0)182-512 684
Website: http://www.sintjan.com/

Opening times:

Monday to Saturday 900-1715 (no entry after 1700)


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awesome pictures - I sometimes wonder how long would it take to make those awesome mosaics window pictures. (sorry idk how they are called) cheers thanks for sharing. ;)


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bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

Stained glass windows? I have no idea.. These ones are huge as well...


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Oh my goodness!!! You could spend days in that church there is so much to see. I bet those windows too years to make, the level of detail, colors and stories held within each window, absolutely amazing. I love the organs too, nothing like a beautiful pipe organ, The church I grew up with had an beautiful organ, the music was unreal...you felt like you were in heaven just listening to them.


5
bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

Yes, the windows have such detail to them... I wish I had a chance to grab a guidebook and had time to really look at each one in detail... Sadly, work beckoned...


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Oh! I would love to read all of the stories depicted in those beautiful windows @bengy. Wonder also at the sound if all of the organs were to play the same music at the same time.
The building's craftsmanship is wonderful.
Blessings!


3
bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

It is pretty exceptional craftmanship in the windows! I'm afraid that if all the organs were to play at the same time, it would be quite terrible! They are tuned in completely different pitches and temperaments... so pure chaos!


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Ouch! I have not considered the pitches and you are right as it might sound like Halloween.
Blessings!


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Aren't churches meant to be on fire in sympathy atm?


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bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

This is a Protestant one, they consider the Catholics to be heretics!


11

Thanks for sharing all these shots of the amazing windows the light colors and amazing details in the windows are so beautiful


1
bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

Thanks! I do love stained glass windows, it is a pity you don't see them as often anymore...


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Yes it is kind of sad that it is a dying art, I would love to see more of them around as well


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Beautiful array of stained glass windows! I like how they are numbered on plaques, beneath, for reference in a booklet or pamphlet!

Not being familiar with "meantone tuning," I launched myself down quite the rabbit hole a while ago, readng about pitches and tuning and such! My brain is fried now... 😂


1
bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

Yes, they are numbered for the guidebook but I didn't have time to grab one.

Tuning of the musical scale is a pretty interesting puzzle. Now, in modern times we just divide everything equally and so everything pretty much sounds the same. This goes also for all of classical music, so most musicians that you talk to will not even realise anything different!

However, in my specialisation of music, we do use many different temperament systems. Valotti or Werckmeister are the most common ones that I work with, meantone is way too early for Bach and would have sounded pretty disgusting (very out of tune!).

But congrats! You know more than most musicians after diving through the rabbit hole!


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Thats bear me i visites this ine a fre time and Gouda is so Nice. Happy easter John to the lovely three woman of you family too offcourse


1
bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

Thanks! Hope you had a great Koningsdag yesterday!


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Wow Bengy love the stain glass windows, always tells a story of life and times, type of clothing worn, trades of the time show through, history in an art form almost lost and forgotten.

Inside the church seeing the marble and architecture another highlight, not being a musician the organ is impressive but obviously I would not understand the implications on how they work or sound.


1
bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

The windows are pretty amazing... I'm not sure I would read too much into iconography as it is often misleading, but it does give great hints into the life of the time! At least through the eyes of the creator of the windows!


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Crazy about painted glass and this is majestic. I noticed the numbers underneath. How many are they in total? The medieval depictions are very beautiful. Churches here often depict the stations of the cross and Saints.


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bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

There are 72 of these huge windows, so a few too many for the normal stations of the cross! However, I do think that the stations are represented in some of them! The numbering does refer to a guide book, but I didn't have the time to read it before my rehearsal began...,


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That's a beautiful church. I've always liked stained glass and would love to learn more about the art.


1
bengy
Bengy @bengyApril 2019

Stained glass really is a bit of a lost art form. The actual depictions were described in a guidebook, but I'm afraid that my rehearsal was beckoning...


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