Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk (Great, or St. James church) is a landmark Protestant church in The Hague. The building is located on the Torenstraat, named for its high tower. Together with the characteristic Binnenhof, it is one of the oldest buildings in the Hague. Members of the House of Orange-Nassau have been baptised there. Among them King Willem-Alexander and his daughter Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands.
Climb the 288 steps to the tower It is possible to climb to the tower of the Great Church, also known as the 'Haagse Toren'. Together with a guide, visitors can climb the 288 steps to the top. The tower offers a spectacular 360° view over the city centre, Scheveningen and Kijkduin. Around 1420, the hexagonal tower was constructed and at the end of the 15th century the stylish church had reached its current size. There is a tour every Saturday and Sunday at 13.00 and 15.00 hours. There is a maximum of 15 participants per tour. Entrance to the tower costs 6 Euro for adults and 4 Euro for children. The tour takes 1,5 hours. Tickets can be bought only via dehaagsetoren.nl.
Building Along with the Inner Court, the Great Church or St. Jacob's Church is one of the oldest buildings in The Hague. A wooden church is reputed to have stood on the same spot in the 13th century. At that time it was a wooden chapel. Around 1420, the hexagonal tower was constructed and at the end of the 15th century the stylish church had reached its current size. Several counts of Holland, Albrecht van Beieren and Filips de Goede of Burgundy, financed different phases of the construction. The Great Church is a typical example of Hague halls style, which features wooden barrel-vaulted ceilings with the transepts the same height as the nave.
Exhibitions, fairs and events The building remains the property of the Reformed Church in The Hague, but is managed by the Grote Kerk Foundation. The church doors are opened for all kinds of events including exhibitions, fairs, cultural events and tourism. Visitors and churchgoers can enjoy the building's vastness and the unique light that trickles through the stained glass windows.
Getting there The Big Church is located in the city centre of The Hague, which is easily accessible by car and public transport. Car park Torengarage and City Parking are within walking distance of Grote Kerk. Those who prefer to take public transport can take a tram from The Hague Central Station. You will find yourself in the charming inner city in less than a five minutes.
Rond de Grote Kerk 12, 2513 AM, The Hague
The tower is now open for public tours at 1pm and 3pm and is a really interesting insight into the building's past and how it was part of historic life in the Hague. 288 steps to the gallery at the top, but great views of the city!
Look up and be amazed at the amount of color that was recovered when the church was restored. Also, do not forget to read up, because this church has many stories to tell!
When you visit this church, please remember it is now mostly used for exhibitions and other activities.