Leyweg 930, Den Haag
52.049797361022, 4.2767279188019 View on map
To be found on route
You don't see that often: a church building with an oval shape. And then the façade is also decorated with no fewer than nine reliefs made of baked clay (terracotta). This church was built between 1956 and 1958 and was a rebuilding of the Saint Anthony and Louis Church on the Prinsessegracht, which had been destroyed during the Second World War. In view of the large numbers of believers in the post-war urban expansion of Escamp, this Catholic church was given a place here. In those days in the Netherlands, everyone stayed within his own group. There were separate schools, churches, sports clubs and newspapers for Protestants, Catholics, Liberals, Socialists, etc. The commission for the facade decoration of this Catholic church was therefore given to a Catholic sculptor: Jacques van Rhijn.
On the façade facing the forecourt with the bell tower and the Franciscan monastery, Van Rhijn placed nine terracotta reliefs. In the centre, the largest relief depicts the figure of Christ. Around it in a square are eight representations of the so-called Beatitudes, which are recorded from his mouth in the New Testament (Matthew). During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus' first public address, he made eight sayings. One of the most famous is: "Blessed are the poor in spirit". These sayings have been depicted as a kind of old-fashioned cartoon.
More or less at the same time as this commission for the church, Van Rhijn also received a commission from the Catholic housing association Verbetering zij ons streven to decorate the façade of two apartment blocks. These reliefs can still be seen on the corner of Hengelolaan and Loevesteinlaan and on the corner of the same Loevesteinlaan and Melis Stokelaan. In this way, as a Catholic in the post-war, compartmentalised Netherlands, you were surrounded in your own neighbourhood by art that matched the group to which you belonged.