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Demolition Christus Koning church almost certain

7 September 2007 - District alderwoman Germaine Princen (PvdA) devotes herself to the preservation of old buildings, including churches. However, she finds that the Christus Koning church must be demolished as planned. In theory, the district council might still reverse the decision.

The Christus Koning church was built in 1959. It is a so-called votive church, built by the Roman Catholic community to express its gratitude for Amsterdam not being destroyed during the Second World War. Now the church itself will probably be demolished.

The responsible alderwoman, Princen, is a member of the recommending committee of the ‘New life for old buildings’ campaign, which aims to save buildings including churches from being demolished. However, she finds that Christus Koning church must be demolished as planned.

Her main argument is that plans to demolish the church, which is to make room for a community school, have been discussed with neighbourhood residents for eight years. “You have to accept the outcome and make a decision”, Princen said.

Had it not been for the years of discussion, the administration might have reached a different decision. Research indicated that adapting the building for a different use might be expensive, but in itself this is no reason to demolish it, Princen said.

This fall, neighbourhood residents will be invited to comment on restructuring plans for the Don Bosco neighbourhood, where the church is located. Early 2008, the district council will make a final decision. Princen assumes that the decision to demolish the church will not be reversed, but adds that politics can be unpredictable.

Last month, the ‘Future of Church Buildings Task Force’ expressed its concern about the large-scale demolition of post-war church buildings, including the Christus Koning church.

“Church buildings are real community buildings, and can make an important contribution to the social integration and neighbourhood policies of both municipality and national government. But only if the buildings are retained”, the task force said.

The initial decision to demolish the church was made in 2002. Subsequently, the district requested a municipal preservation order for the building.

Princen indicates that this is not unusual. A better-informed decision can be made once the monumental value of the building has been assessed. In addition, delays due to other people requesting a preservation order at a later stage are prevented in this way.

District plans, Future of Church Buildings Task Force, New Life for Old Buildings (all in Dutch)


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