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Great Church or Lebuïnuskerk in Deventer

Grote of St Lebuïnuskerk in Deventer

The city of Deventer in the province of Overijssel is the place of many significant institutions, such as the Toy Museum, History Museum and Grote or Lebuïnuskerk, the city’s main church that dominates its buildings and surroundings. This is a place of prayer, faith, and a safe haven for many of its citizens and visitors.

The Gothic style of the building keeps the memories of times passed, cherishing its history and sheltering the city.  Its door is open to everyone, young and old, rich and poor, healthy and sick, all of them standing equal in front of the grand altar.


For the history lovers out there, this church is a revelation and something that is worth exploring. It all started in 768, when Lebinius, an English missioner built a small wooden church, that was destroyed a couple of decades later by Saxons. Lebuibus rebuild the church in 771 and died in the following year. In 774, the church was destroyed again.

This time, the church was rebuilt by Ludger in 776. The first stone church was built by bishop Balderik, and extended to a basilica by bishop Bernufulus in 1040.  The church building was damaged by the fire twice, in 1235 and 1334. The only remains of this Romanesque basilica are the crypt, the groined vaulting, two rows of columns with cube capitals and parts of the choir gallery and the east transept.

It was between 1450 and 1499 that the church got its present Gothic architecture look. Its inner length is 99 meters. In 1580, the temple was taken by the Calvinists, who completely eliminated the interior decoration and renamed it the Great Church (Dutch: Grote Kerk). Nowadays, the temple belongs to the Protestant Church of the Netherlands, while the tower belongs to the Municipality.

What To Expect

This great church strikes and delights visitors with its grandiosity, unique surroundings, and a long history. A believer or not, you should not miss the opportunity to attend one of many masses, and feel tranquility and countenancing. Climb the tower’s 220 steps to see Deventer’s old Hanseatic-era walled shape.

On the West side of this vast building is a tower offering a beautiful prospect of Deventer, surmounted by a wooden lantern, constructed by H. de Keyser, while the bells are attributed to Hemony. While there, have a look at the 16th century painting ‘The Ascent of Calvary’ at the entrance near the tower as well as the Romanesque crypt (1040). Marvelous grandiosity of Gothic style, besides the fact that this church is a UNESCO monument, is a reason enough to visit this place, whose beauty and solemnity make an everlasting impression on every visitor.

When and How to Get There

The church is open in the summer, from April to October, with working hours from 11am to 5pm. unfortunately, the church is closed on Sundays. The entrance to the church is free; however, a gift is welcome. The tower can be climbed in groups for a small fee of 2.5 euros. You can reach the church by car, or taxi, but if you want to get a full experience of it, take a walk by the Ijssel River and enjoy.

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