Visiting Lemiers, The Netherlands and its Sint-Catharina en Luciakerk: 19th century, neo-Romanesque solidity
Local colour interpreted by Jan Jorna
This church building, the Sint-Catharina en Luciakerk (church of St. Catherine and St. Lucia) is located in the village of Lemiers in the province of Limburg, The Netherlands, within the Vaals municipality.
Some history and features
Its completion dates from 1896, with work having been undertaken in 1884. The architect was Jan Jorna (1854-1927)(1).
The style of the building is neo-Romanesque. The rear of the building has rounded elements. The structure is at least obliquely evocative of a basilica. Other, conspicuous features of the building include its twin towers, landmarks along the main road on which the structure stands (in the photo given, at right, only one of the twin towers is visible).
Pronounced arching surrounds the main doorway, over which the coast of arms of a local noble family which sponsored the building is given; there is also a Latin inscription. The edifice is executed in yellow-red brick.
The location of the Sint-Catherina en Luciakerk is on the main Maastricht to Aachen road, the N278. Interestingly, it is also within a short walking distance of Germany; one can only suppose that in World War Two (The Netherlands was neutral in World War One) the building must have been a desired place of refuge for fugitives from the Nazi German authorities. Given the village's border location, my guess would also be that words such as 'refuge' and 'sanctuary', 'liberation' and 'occupation' would, in the heady days of 1944/1945, have taken on rather acute nuances at times. (I have elsewhere attempted to describe some of Lemiers' unique border characteristics.)
The Sint-Catherina en Luciakerk has been adopted as a national monument in The Netherlands.
June 14, 2012
(1) Buildings for which Architect Jorna was also responsible include the 'Klein College', Roermond and noted private residences in that city.
Also worth seeing
In Lemiers itself, its castle (Dutch: Kasteel van Lemiers ) is located right on the boundary with neighbouring Germany. The chapel of St Catharina (Dutch: Sint-Cathariankapel ) is situated nearby.
Holset (distance: 1.3 kilometres), with its ancient church, has at least 2000 years of recorded history.
How to get there: The nearest large city to Vaals is Aachen, Germany. Lufthansa flies from New York Newark to Duesseldorf, where car rental is available. A46/A61/A44 lead to Aachen. The German railroad company Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) links Duesseldorf to Aachen (distance: 93 kilometres). You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Lemiers, Germany and the Senserbach: memories and reflections at a Nordrhein-Westfalen vill
- Visiting the former Post Office building at Maastrichterlaan, Vaals, The Netherlands: complex border
- Visiting Vaals, The Netherlands and its former Akenerstraat customs post: memories of a formerly ten
- Visiting Holset, The Netherlands: the undulations of history in South Limburg
- Visiting Mamelis, The Netherlands: untypical hill country, and border complexities, too
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