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Sint-Bonifatius Church


The church is named for the heavenly Saint Boniface. It was built in around 1882/4 in Leeuwarden to designs by the architect P.J.H. Cuypers.

"High trees are swayed by many winds" is a saying in Leeuwarden, and that is also certainly true for high towers, too. During a hurricane on 3 January 1976, the church tower was blown from the church itself. Luckily, the tower is now fully restored and you can see the wonderful view from the top once again. The point of the tower landed in the garden, and during the fall created quite a lot of damage to a side-building. For a year the tower stood in scaffolding, covered by advertising. After some time, enough money was raised to restore the towers point, and in 1980 the tip of tower was finally re-set in place.

The church is dedicated to the heavenly Saint Boniface, and was built in 1882/4 to designs by the well-known architect P.J.H. Cuypers, famous for designing the Groningen and Amsterdam Centraal stations. Cuypers was one of the best-known architects in the Neo-Gothic style, as well as New-Gothicism, which is the style of the St Boniface Church. Like many churches, the footprint of this one is in the shape of a cross, and it is one of the few very old and grand Catholic churches in the Northern Netherlands. 

Whilst the church is not ancient, it is beautiful. The interior is richly decorated with painted panelling, and there are five altars, enormous stained-glass windows, and large numbers of ornamentry and decoration. 

The church has two organs- one is from 1899 and is called the Adema-organ, and the other is an enormous Cavaillé-Coll organ. The church pews are from the atelier of Cuypers, and so is the passion of the Christ scene. 

Climbing the tower gives a rich reward: you walk up via a stone staicase, to the first floor, where you get an exceptional view of the interior of the church itself. Climb higher, up the tower, and it looks as though the city of Leeuwarden is lain at your feet. 

In earlier times, the church was not accessible from the street-side, as it lay behind a house, and you could only reach the building through two small alley ways. The church was also pressed into service as a shelter-church, and in 1944 it sheltered a group of people from Roermond (in Limburg). Accordingly, the Boniface Church was, for a short time, the 'seat' and residence of the Bishop of Roermond.

You can visit the chrurch wednesday and saturday between 14.00 and 16.00.

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Here you will find Sint-Bonifatius Church

Bonifatiusplein 20
8921 JT Leeuwarden
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