St. Nicholas Church in Brussels

St. Nicholas Church is a church in the Brussels Boterstraat. Despite her small size, she had an important role in Brussels city life. The church is particularly noticeable thanks to the houses built against and around it. Already in the 12th century, there is a mention of this church. The St. Nicholas Church was dedicated to the traders. Against the facade of the church, there was a bell tower built which served as a belfry. The belfry tower was mentioned in 1289 but partially collapsed on December 13 1367 in a nighttime storm.

It was rebuilt in 1380 retaining the Romanesque substructure and a new octagonal superstructure was added. The city council used the new belfry as a meeting point and the city seal was preserved there. The belfry was equipped with a carillon and possibly one of the oldest visual clock watches in the world.

Picture by Pixabay

Like many other buildings in downtown Brussel, the St. Nicholas church was damaged during the French bombardment of 1695. You still can see the remains of a cannonball that has been drilled into the church during that bombing. In 1712, repairs were carried out and architect "Willem de Bruyn" added three new floors to the building.

This procedure proved unsuccessful because the tower collapsed again on July 25, 1714. Various restoration projects were planned, but it took until 1956 to finally restore the church. The west side of the building received a new Gothic facade. In the portal there are still visible Roman remains. The church inside was recently thoroughly renovated and restored. Among the church's treasures are works by Jean Van Orley, Smeyers, Stallaert, paintings from the school of the Carracchi, and a painting from Pieter Paul Rubens.