DIVERSE ARCHITECTEN, -, diverse locaties, Rotterdam
Kerkenpad Rotterdam / Foreign Church Route ( Diverse architecten )
Scottish Church  © 2011 Ossip van Duivenbode
Rotterdam has long been home to the widest variety of foreign religious denominations and churches. After the Reformation, the Netherlands was in vogue because of the freedom of religion enjoyed there. Rotterdam's Scottish and Walloon religious communities derive from those times. Many seafarers' churches would follow later. Often exotic structures, these have been welcomed by the city as an enrichment. This is not the case with the still contested construction of mosques for the growing Muslim community. Many exceptional churches are located on a route along Schiedamse Vest and Westzeedijk. This 'foreign church route' begins with the Scots Church on Schiedamse Vest. Built in traditionalist style by the architect M.C.A. Meischke, it replaced its predecessor at Vasteland which had been destroyed during the 1940 bombing raid. Opposite it is the Walloon Church, which does date from before the war. It is one of the few remaining buildings by the well-regarded Rotterdam architect J. Verheul. Its interior contains ironwork by W.H. Gispen. Tucked into the dyke of Westzeedijk for a number of years now is the Russian Orthodox Church dedicated to the Holy and Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky, after a period spent in successive existing premises in Rotterdam since the Second World War. This church, which is typical of old Russian architecture, is white with a single gold dome and a roof of green patinated copper. Farther along Westzeedijk near the Kunsthal is the Greek Orthodox Church. Though based on the Greek building tradition, it was designed by Dutch architects. The dome is borne up by four columns. On the other side of Westzeedijk in The Park stands the Norsk Sjømannskirke. Its design is based on 13th-century Norwegian stave churches with a characteristic square plan. The timber church was brought to Rotterdam as a kit of parts and assembled on site by Norwegian carpenters. This came in handy when the church had to be moved in 1937 to construct the Maas Tunnel. It was dismantled and carried in three pieces to its new site 200 metres away. At Parklaan 5 you can still find the Swedish Seamen's Church in a converted private house; the Danish Seamen's Church is at Coolhaven 1. Our route ends at the Anglican Church on Westzeedijk. This Neo-Gothic church is another to have been designed by Verheul. Next to it is the Seaman's Institute with society rooms for British seafarers.
Projecten: J. Verheul Dzn., J. van Wijngaarden (Waalse Kerk, Schiedamse Vest 190/Pierre Baylestraat, 1923-1925), M.C.A. Meischke (Schotse Kerk, Schiedamse Vest 121, 1951-1953), L. Waardenburg (Russisch-Orthodoxe Kerk, Schiedamsesingel 220, 1994-2004), Th.J. Taen, Ch.Th. Nix (Grieks-Orthodoxe Kerk, Westzeedijk 333, 1947-1957), M. Poulsson & A. Arneberg (Demontabele Noorse Kerk, Westzeedijk 300, 1914), Architect onbekend (Zweedse Kerk, Parklaan 5, 1920, verbouwd tot kerk 1949), H. Jensen, N.L. Prak (Deense Zeemanskerk, Coolhaven 1-7, 1968-1970), J. Verheul Dzn. (St. Mary's Church, Pieter de Hoochweg 133, 1913-1915)