Na de Beeldenstorm. Continuïteit en verandering in het gebruik van middeleeuwse kerkruimten in Nederland na de reformatie, met bijzondere aandacht voor het koor


  • Justin Kroesen


After the Iconoclasm. Continuity and Change in the Use of Medieval Church Interiors in the Netherlands after the Reformation (with a Special Emphasis on the Chancel). At the time of the Reformation, hundreds of medieval church buildings in the Netherlands were seized and appropriated by Calvinists. In some cases, this seizure was accompanied by a violent attack on the churches and their furniture, known as the Iconoclasm. This article aims at showing that alongside many changes there were also important continuities in the way churches were furnished and used for religious services. These continuities have traditionally been largely overlooked, as scholarship has focused on caesuras in theology, liturgy and mentality. The traditional function of the nave as a preaching space was generally retained and even reinforced with the transition to Calvinism, resulting in pulpits being maintained or, if replaced, remaining in the same position. Many reformed churches featured a screen or gallery on the boundary of the chancel, as had been the case in medieval churches. This now formed a natural backdrop to the nave, where the religious service was concentrated, and also hid the utilitarian purposes of the chancel – as a storage space, as a school or meeting room. Another reason why many screens were kept in place is that the chancels of many churches were intended for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the Calvinist successor to the medieval Mass; The spread and implications of this form of ritual continuity still awaits study. This ritual use of the chancel could go hand in hand with the creation of mausoleums, through the erection of tombs and other memorials to the elites. All of these developments resulted in many Dutch Calvinist churches being neither austere nor devoid of images, as is generally believed.