The Holy Willibrordus Basilica in Hulst
The most beautiful church in the Netherlands 2009 (according to NCRV Plaza).
The Holy Willibrordus basilica originates from the 13th century and has gone through many changes over the centuries. This is mainly to see on the striking tower which has been destroyed several times. The tower comprises four individual parts. The first part, probably from the 13-14th centuries, is largely hidden under the roof of the church. An octagonal tower was built in 1402 of which just the bottom floor remains. The section between the balustrade and the dials is a remnant of the tower built by architect Cuypers. The Basilicahouses some fine gravestones, paintings and old images of Maria.
The striking spire
The tower of the basilica was destroyed for the last time during World War II. The concrete crown that now adorns the church was placed on the tower in 1957 and was designed by architect J. Brouwer. It was given the name “the Preacher”. The striking spire, which is built in a very different style to the rest of the building, is often a point of some discussion.
When the sun shines through the hand-made stained-glass window above the main entrance, the colours are breath-taking. The church also has an ancient Flemish organ.
The basilica is open to visitors and offers guided tours too. The guides can tell you everything there is to know about this beautiful church. Reserve a guided tour at the VVV Tourist Office by telephoning +31 (0)114-315221.
If you would like to climb the tower, a guide will take you up the 60-metre-high climb for beautiful views over Hulst and the surrounding area. Guided tours of the tower take place every Sunday in July and August at 15.00. You can reserve a place on the tour of the tower at the VVV Tourist Office too by calling telephone number +31 (0)114-315221. Children under 12 or shorter than 1.50m are not permitted to climb the tower for safety reasons.
During your visit to Hulst you will undoubtedly come across Reynard the Fox, famous from the medieval animal epic.Reynard the Fox was written in the thirteenth century and is one of the most significant pieces of Dutch and even West-European literature in its genre.
You can start several lovely cycle rides from the middle of Hulst. The ‘Staats-Spaanse-Linie fietstocht’ (State-Spanish-Lines cycle route) and the beautiful ‘vlasfietstocht’ (flax cycle route) will reveal some of the landscape’s fascinating history and the flax fields are at their most beautiful in June.