Grote Kerk (aka St. Bavo) is not just ‘another’ church like all the others, it has some fascinating history to make it worth the visit. Who knew that one church could be so full of great history and information! The information desk has some brochures in English but I enjoyed using the Rick Steve’s self guided tour in the Amsterdam book, you can find these at your library as well. If you visited the Corrie Ten Boom house this is where they used to worship as well.
We parked at the Appelaar parking garage which is 2 min walk to the church. It was €9,50 for 3.5 hours. Admission for the church is 2,50 for adults, €1,25 for 12-16, and free for 0-12 so it was €6,25 for our family of 4 (2 adults, 14 & 11).
Know that if your going here during the chilly months it will be cold inside! We were here in April and it was a bit chilly outside and it was also chilly inside! Luckily we had jackets with us but it could be uncomfortable if we did not.
Again make sure to grab one of the free English brochures if you don’t have the RS book, but I found the RS book to be very informative and provide great info, check your library if you don’t have the book and want to use it.
One of the highlights of this church is it’s massive organ! When it was built in the 1700’s it was the world’s largest organ! It was also played by Mozart. Herman Melville also thought it was so impressive that he referenced it in his book Moby Dick, how neat is that?!
You can see the ornate wooden pulpit on the left, which is dwarfed by the massive organ.
The choir area is secured but you can peek in through the bars.
I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen miniature ships having in a church, just one of the fascinating finds in this church!
The model of the church is neat as well, I love when these huge older buildings have small models inside.
Another unique thing about this church is all the graves under the floors. The floor is literally covered with graves and markers.
Don’t forgot to stop by and see the cannonball in the wall! Another first for me 😉
I love old wooden doors and the church did not disappoint!
There are several huge stained glass windows, this is in the pendulum area but it was not hanging while we were there.
I also loved the ceiling! The area to the right is normally where the pendulum is hanging from.
This board with keys from all over the church was super neat as well, it’s located near the ‘treasure’ box.
I’m not kidding when I say this church is full of interesting things to look and and history. It’s probably been one of the more fascinating churches we’ve been to here in Europe. It’s certainly worth a visit if your in the area!
Know Before You Go
What: Grote Kerk (aka St. Bavo) in Haarlem, Netherlands.
How To Get There: It’s about 3 hours 40 mins from Spangdahlem, and 4 hours 40 mins from Ramstein. It’s 35 mins from Amsterdam.
Parking: Is hard to find on the street & expensive so use a parking garage. There are 2 that are close to the house, we chose the one near the church & walkplatz. GPS address for parking garage: Appelaar: Damstraat 12, Haarlem
Cost: €2,50 for adults, €1,26 for kids ages 12-16, and free for kids ages 0-12.
Traveling with little kids: Strollers would fit in the church if you really need to use one I’m not sure if they are technically allowed as we don’t have small kids but there is a small gift shop before you enter or you may be able to park it outside if needed. Best bet when traveling in Europe is to bring a carrier if you need little ones contained.
How long: Plan on at least 30-45 mins if your using the Rick Steve’s self guided tour. If you just want to walk through quickly you can as well but you’ll miss some neat stuff.