The Ruïnekerk (Ruined church) is a 15th-century church on the Raadhuisstraat in Bergen (province North Holland). The church was burnt down during the Eighty Years' War, but partially rebuilt. It has status as a official national monument. Ruïnekerk is used by the Protestant church of Bergen for its weekly church services. Wedding and funeral services are also held there.
The Ruïnekerk is renowned for its acoustics, making it a popular venue for classical music concerts. The organ dates back to 1886, and was originally in the Reformed Church of Wormer. In 1913 it was bought by the Reformed Church of Bergen and restored in 1960.
The Kerkstraat (Church Street), de Ruïnelaan (Ruins Avenue) and het Kerkpad (Church Lane) in Bergen are named after the church.
Miracle of Bergen
The village of Bergen developed around a Roman Catholic chapel which stood on the site of Ruïnekerk. After the St. Elisabeth flood of 1421 consecrated hosts from the church of Petten washed ashore in Bergen. In the next year, around Pentecost, was the sea water, which the hosts had been soaked, changed in a material with a color of clotted blood. Now Bergen became a place of pilgrimage. After the Reformation was the pilgrimage to the 18th century in position via a silent devotion. In the 20th century revived the worship of a predominantly local level.
One year after the Miracle of Bergen, in 1422, was, in order to accommodate the large numbers of pilgrims, the chapel was replaced with a larger church, which was dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul. At that time it was the largest church in North Holland.
On February 21 1574, during the Eighty Years War, the church was looted and burned by Geuzen (the Beggars, a name assumed by the confederacy of Calvinist Dutch nobles and other malcontents, who from 1566 opposed Spanish rule in the Netherlands) led by Diedrich Sonoy. This operation was part of the so called “scorched earth policy” of Sonoy. He used the scorched earth policy around nearby city Alkmaar to prevented the Spaniards to restart the Siege of Alkmaar again. A larch part of the church, including the church tower, was lost then.
In the period before 1597, the Ruïnekerk was partly rebuilt. The new choir was finished in 1594 and in the same year this date was cut into a beam above the pulpit. From then the Ruïnekerk was used as a Protestant church.
During the Battle of Bergen in 1799 there was heavy fighting around the church; there remain many bullet holes as reminders of this conflict.
In 1943, during the German advance in Second World War, the church bell, dating from 1888, was claimed.\
In the period 1955-1961, the church was restored under the direction of architect C. W. Royaards, including the addition of a new wooden porch in eigthteen century typical Style of Zaandam was added to the building. This porch was moved a few meters in 2003 when the entrance was widened. The date 1958 is inscribed on the church facade to commemorate the restoration.
In 1970 26 bells were hung in the tower and a clock that have never worked; on these one the names of the sponsors are engraved. On the largest bell is an inscription reading, "Ik luid voor hen die voor onze vrijheid vielen en in Bergen rusten 1940-1945" or in English "I ring to those who fell for our freedom and rest in Bergen 1940-1945". On the other bells are the names of casualties in World War II, and a clock for the nameless dead.