Bonifacius Church (Bonifaciuskerk), Medemblik

The "Pieter Backer" organ, Bonifacius Church (Bonifaciuskerk) in Medemblik

The Bonifaciuskerk (Bonifacius Church), which dates back to the twelfth century, boasts the famous 17th century Pieter Backer organ. At the foot of the Bonifaciuskerk, in the entrance porch of the former orphanage, is the exhibition area of the archaeological society ‘Medenblick’. There is a large children’s playground and children’s farm in the recently renovated Koningin Emmapark next to the Pekelharinghaven. The church is near the lake and tram station Hoorn-Medemblik.

The construction of the present church was started in 1404. The church and tower were completed in the course of the 15th Century. In 1517 Medemblik was attacked and burnt by a gang of thieves under the direction of a man called “Grote Pier”. The church was also destroyed by the flames; the tower however remained undamaged.

The grounds around the 14th-century Bonifaciuskerk proved to be in the process of modern landscaping and appeared to be devoid of tombstones. Also there ae railed grave against the wall of the church hall, amid newly planted rose bushes. The flagstone, dated 1880, indicated that this was indeed the place of burial, but that the original tombstone had been moved inside the church in the 1860s during earlier renovations.

The interior of the church (The Baptistery Garden, furniture, illumination, paintings (cartouches) on the columns, stained-glass windows, grave of Lord Murray, sarcophagus, choir-screen, etc.) are performed in this area in which one also finds both organs as well as the historical furniture. The nave is the heart of the church. Beside regular prayer-services, during the spring- and summer season a series of organ concerts are given. Art exhibitions are regularly displayed in the church.
Bonifacius Church (Bonifaciuskerk) in Medemblik

The Tower

The tower in its present form was built in the 15th Century and is therefore well over one hundred years older than the church itself. The thickness at the base of the walls is two metres compared to the thickness of the steeple which is only one and a half bricks. Three bells are hanging in the tower, of which the oldest and largest has a diameter of 1,25 metres. This bell is called Saint Peter (Sint Pieter in Dutch) and was manufactured by Everardus Splinter from Enkhuizen in 1636. The other two bells were made by the Hemony Brothers; one bears the date 1649.

The "Pieter Backer" organ

According to the inscription on the positive this was manufactured by Pieter Backer in 1671. Originally this 17th century "Pieter Backer" organ was mounted to the northwall of the church. Organbuilder Flentrop finished a complete restoration of the instrument in the year 2000.

In 1784/85 Christian Bätz enlarged the organ and replaced the original positive section. Also from that time dates the balcony. The organ was placed on the ground on top of four columns. As a consequence some of the graves had to be moved. A gravestone close to the north-east entrance door bears reference to this. The Pieter Backer organ is renowned as a fine example of Dutch organ building in the 17th and 18th century.

Moreover the church has superb acoustic properties setting off the organ to full advantage. Pieter Backer Organ Foundation provides information about organs, concerts, CDs included in this church and a description of the history of the instruments listed in this section that is provided by the "Stichting Pieter Backer Organ". The organ also contains older pipes.

Boniface Church Foundation

The Foundation of Boniface Church Medemblik" strives for the preservation of the monument and for a multifunctional use.The activities of the Foundation Boniface Church can be found here.

Location and Contact
Boniface Church Foundation
Kerkplein 9,
Overtoom 6A
1671 CR Medemblik
Nederland (Noord-Holland)
PO box 146,
1670 AC Medemblik

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