The Walloon church is so-called because its earlier services were held in French, which continues to this day. The French language was, for many centuries, the 'lingua franca' of the European elité.
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The church was always used as a chapel for a huge monastery complex, which had its own nunnery, hospital, housing and a bakery, spinning mill, and brewery. The nuns were originally of the Dominican order, and were known as the 'singing sisters'.
After the reformation in 1580, the church was handed over to Protestant authorities, and the monastery was taken away from the sisters, who sung their way out of the complex. The chapel was left behind but luckily found a new use in the coming centuries, as the city of Leeuwarden became both a provincial capital and a royal city. The new Nassau royal family attracted more French-speakers, who were referred to as 'Walloons' in the Netherlands. They asked for a servince in their own language in an appropriate room: and so they asked the Stae of Friesland to bring about a Walloon community in the old chapel. Since then, the chapel has been known as the 'Walloon Church'. Nowadays the Remonstrant community use the church for holding their services.
The organ, built in 1740, is outstanding, and was made by Johan Michaël Schwatzburg, and was donated by Anna van Hannover, the daughter of the English King George II. Anna maried the Frisian 'stadhouder' Willem Carel Hendrik Friso in 1734, and the couple moved from a grand English country house to a smaller house in Leeuwarden. The Gedeputeerde Staten gave Jaan Oenema instructions to make a backpiece for the organ in 1742, made from the weapons of the princes and princesses. During the restoration of the church in the 1980's, the organ was restored to its original colours, and in 2001 the pipes of the organ were restored, meaning that the instrument could then be played again.
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