About The Great Window

In 2018, the Great Saint Laurence Church celebrated its 500th birthday. It was a year of shows, exhibitions and events, in which the church welcomed over 320,000 visitors. A few highlights: the return of the monumental Laurentius-altarpiece by Maarten van Heemskerck and the Climb to Heaven, during which visitors could climb the church all the way up to the roof. Another idea at the time was to replace the glass of the largest window in the church with a new stained-glass design by a renowned artist. This plan was reintroduced in 2019.

Why Wait Until 2023?

Creating an artwork like this one takes a lot of time and money. We’re hoping to inspire Alkmaar’s citizens and the city’s local businesses to donate to the project. We’re on the lookout for people who want to be involved in the project and who are keen to think along and contribute – it would mean the world to us! The municipality of Alkmaar and cultural funds will subsidize the project as well. 

We are hoping to unveil the window on the 8th of October 2023, the 450-year anniversary of the Siege of Alkmaar: the Dutch victory over the Spanish. The presentation of the Great Window would be the apotheosis of a festive year, celebrating the city’s liberation in the Great Saint Laurence Church.

The Light of Freedom

Het thema Ontzet geeft veel ruimte om uiting te geven aan de gebeurtenis in 1573 met kernbegrippen als moed, The theme of liberation provides much opportunity to celebrate the Dutch victory after the 1573 Siege of Alkmaar, a historical event during which courage, pride and freedom prevailed. That is what we’re celebrating every year on the 8th of October – freedom being the most important of all. The stained-glass window in the south transept of the Great Church will catch the abundant sunlight coming in: the light of freedom.

Why add a work of art? This is a question rarely posed in the past centuries, as citizens of Alkmaar already know the answer: when you want to show your pride, you do so via art. The church’s main artwork are proof: The Last Judgment, the vault painting in the church, the Laurentius altar piece (currently in Sweden) or the Opus Magnum by the Master of Alkmaar (sold 100 years ago to the Rijksmuseum). 

“WHY ADD A WORK OF ART?”

Thankfully many artworks have remained in the church, like the Hagerbeer-Schnitger organ with its covers painted by Caesar van Everdingen, and the Van Covelens organ, made in 1511. It’s the oldest playable organ in The Netherlands. We want to add a masterpiece to this already remarkable art collection. The people of Alkmaar are proud of their Great Church – a true home.

The Great Window is a gift from and to all inhabitants of the city of Alkmaar and the surrounding region. The immense work of art will also serve as an extra point of interest for the 85,000 yearly visitors of the church.

Raising Attention

The placement of the Great Window in 2023 will be part of the 450-year anniversary of the victory at the Siege of Alkmaar, which is organised by 8 October Vereniging Alkmaars Ontzet. The foundation, Stichting Het Grote Raam, wishes to contribute to this anniversary organising a program themed The Light of Freedom, with events relating to celebrating liberty, like 4 and 5 May and 8 October. The Light of Freedom will also be the theme for the church’s summer program, and for the spring- and summer program of the City Museum Alkmaar. The highlight of the year will be the Great Window’s reveal, with a celebration to remember.

After the presentation, the Great Window will have a central role in yearly celebrations and remembrances that take place in the church, such as Remembrance Day (May 4th), Liberation Day (May 5th), and the yearly celebration of the victory at the Siege of Alkmaar (October 8th). Lectures and speeches and other events will pay attention to the Great Window and The Light of Freedom. The window will be part of the church’s art collection and will be part of educational information, visitor’s tours, and publications relating to the Great Saint Laurence Church. An educational program will be set up, revolving around the window.

Our vision (Dutch)

“The reveal will be part of the 450-year anniversary of the Siege of Alkmaar”


The Great Window Foundation

The Foundation (Stichting Het Grote Raam) is a non-profit organisation and was founded on September 23rd, 2019. Its board members are volunteers and do not receive any compensations or fees. The project is supported by City Museum Alkmaar, TAQA Theater de Vest, and Stichting tot Behoud van Monumentale Kerken in Alkmaar.

Contact
Gerjon Rooker
Peter Blaauboer
Patrick van Mil
Jos Krieckaert
Gert van Kleef