Church of St. James

Church of Saint James HagueIf you are looking to worship in English while visiting the Hague, the Church of St. James, an international Anglican Church, may be worth attending. It is one of the many churches in the Hague and caters largely to a diverse English-speaking congregation.

Since the 13th century, there has been one church or another on the location of today’s Church of St. James. Originally, a small chapel stood on the spot within the parish of Monster. In the 15th century, a larger church was built. The tower was completed in 1424, the nave and side aisles in 1456, and the chancel in 1492. Tragically, this impressive building was almost entirely lost to fire in 1539. A few elements of the original building were salvaged; however, the building today is mostly 16th century construction.

The building features a number of unique characteristics. Most immediately noticeable is the hexagonal shape of the tower, surmounted by a crown. At the top of the steeple rests a stork rather than the traditional rooster. The nave is lined by three chapels on each side. The church has been renovated and touched-up several times over the centuries. As recently as 1962, the exterior of the church was refurbished for structural and cosmetic reasons. More recently, the pews were removed in favor of more contemporary chairs.

A lovely example of 15th century stained glass still exists in St. James Church, as it was able to survive the great fire. A window on the south side of the church is dedicated to the Knights of the Golden Fleece in the year 1456. Many tombs, chapels and monumental epitaphs for local nobility and heroes from the 1400s onward line the sides of the church. Hanging in the tower is a collection of three large bells and carillon of 51 bells. The bells were added at multiple stages over the church’s history and contribute to its lovely charm.