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.
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.
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.
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