Oud Lady The Star of the Sea

The Church Our Lady Maastricht, c. 1000. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Church Our Lady  in Maastricht is one of the oldest Romanesque churches in the Netherlands.  The chapel of the Rolduc abbey in Kerkrade, to the east of Maastricht is a bit older. The Carolingian Church in Mersch, to the south of Maastricht dates from the early ninth century and the Saint Servatius Basilica (St. Servaas)  in Maastricht and its early mediëval predecessors are older. Romanesque churches in Frisia (Friesland) in the north of the Netherlands are a bit younger (1050-1200).

The construction of the Church Our Lady began around the year 1000, a date full of horrific expectations and dreadful predictions, comparable to the ‘internet-bug’ scenarios of the year 2000. The Church greatly benefited from this fear, as did consultants the years before 2000. The Christian faith reached Maastricht and the lower Rhine region in the course of the fourth century and a Christian building was already built near the Our Lady church  on the site of a pagan Roman temple. Bishop Notger of Liège (930-1008) founded a chapter around 1000 and the construction of the Church started soon afterwards. The famous westwork and its crypt, a well known style in the Lower Rhine region, the Romanesque choir, nave and ambulatory are well preserved. The nickname of the church is “Star of the Sea”, given around 1700 after the happy end of a shipwreck. An altar consecrated in the name of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors and marines, stood in the gallery from the very beginning of the church already.