The Laurenskerk, or Church of St. Lawrence, originally arose on the banks of the River Rotte and its location can truly be called the very birthplace of Rotterdam. It is an imposing church built between 1449 and 1525, and it is Rotterdam’s only surviving late Gothic building. After the bombing of Rotterdam in the Second World War, the image of the heavily damaged church and the reconstruction works that followed became a symbol of all that the city and its people had endured.
Today, the medieval Laurenskerk cuts a striking profile amid the bold modernity of the city’s present-day architecture. The church still celebrates mass and also hosts tours, concerts, exhibitions, lectures and receptions. Visitors can browse the permanent exhibition, Een monument vol verhalen (‘A monument filled with stories’), or climb the tower on a guided tour (Wednesdays and Saturdays from April through October) for a spectacular view of the Rotterdam city centre.
Since 2015, the Laurenskerk has had its own patio café with pop-up tasting room, de Swarte Leeuw (the Black Lion). In the summer months visitors can enjoy drinks and homemade treats at a table here on the Grotekerkplein.
Tours can be booked for groups of 5-20; for smaller parties, audio guides can be obtained in Dutch and English. Groups of 5 or more can make an appointment to climb the tower accompanied by a guide.
The Laurenskerk is approximately five minutes’ walk from the train and metro station Blaak. The nearest parking garages, WTC-V&D and Markthal, are also just five minutes’ walk.