Old buildings in Arnhem
In this blog we describe a number of old buildings in Arnhem. The oldest dates from 1300 (!), we name a number of buildings from the 16th century, but also beautiful buildings that were built at the end of the 19th century. The buildings we are talking about are not in chronological order. Will you read along?
Korenbeurs – Old Buildings in Arnhem
Many people who visit Arnhem, and certainly the people who have visited the Korenmarkt over the years while going out, know the Korenbeurs, which was built in 1899 as a replacement for the roof that was built on the Korenmarkt to offer the grain merchants shelter from the changeable weather. A beautiful domed roof that rested on 80 iron pillars.
The building that we all know well and is therefore more than 120 years old! The costs were then 22 thousand guilders (converted about 10 thousand euros). Almost impossible to imagine, right?
Until the beginning of the First World War (1914), grain was traded here.
During the First World War, the grain warehouse was used to receive Belgians who had to flee because of the war. From 1916, an art association made the warehouse its home and most people only know the Korenbeurs that a cinema was located in it. From 1973 to 2018 you could find the Filmhuis Arnhem (Focus) in the building.
Focus has since moved to the Audrey Hepburn Square in the center of Arnhem, where this cinema has been open since 2018.
A major renovation is now taking place in the Korenbeurs. This old building will house a food hall, which was supposed to open in 2019, but due to corona – understandably – it has not yet worked. Hopefully we will soon be able to admire this beautiful building from the inside while enjoying a snack and a drink when ‘the Coöperatieve Eeterij de Korenbeurs’ is open!
Presickhaeffs Huys – Old Buildings in Arnhem
The Presickhaeffs Huys is really one of the oldest buildings in Arnhem and was built in 1354 and can be found on Kerkstraat at no. 19.
This beautifully preserved medieval house was home to several prominent Arnhem figures such as aldermen, mayors and the president of the Court of Gelre. The name also refers to a mayor’s family from the 16th century.
It is very special that this building is still standing. There was heavy fighting in this area during the 2nd World War. For example, little remained of the Eusebius Church diagonally opposite the Presickhaeffs Huys, just like the rest of the city centre.
In the 1960s the house fell into disrepair and was sold to the municipality of Arnhem for the symbolic amount of 1 guilder.
For ten years you could find fashion house Trix & Rees in this building, they put the building up for sale in 2016 for €995 thousand euros. Today an Italian restaurant is housed in this building.
Also nice: Right next to the house you will find a small gate from around 1650 with the last city pump in Arnhem behind it.
St Walburgiskerk – Oude Gebouwen in Arnhem
You can find many churches in Arnhem, but the oldest surviving church is the St. Walburgiskerk, although it has not been used as a church since 2013. More on that later.
This church was founded by the Sint-Walburgis Chapter that had left Tiel in 1315 to settle in Arnhem, around 1375 the church was put into use.
This church did not survive the Battle of Arnhem unscathed, but more than 60% of the church survived. So it has been rebuilt. One of the towers was hit by a plane that crashed and ended up in the Lauwersgracht behind the church.
If you look closely at the two towers you will also see a difference. One tower has two arches and the other tower has three. That hasn’t always been the case. The bells hang in the tower with 3 arches. Before 1851 they made 3 gates from 2 gates to ensure that the sound of the bells would continue to enrich. After that the tower collapsed and during reconstruction they only replaced 2 drills. Maybe that looked nicer or they thought three arches was too much trouble? During the reconstruction after the Battle of Arnhem, the right tower was rebuilt with three arches. You can only be busy with it!
Although the church is no longer in use as such, you can still find a beautiful organ. This was previously part of the Kleine Eusebius Church, which was to be found in the Coehoorn area until 1990. This church was demolished that year due to lack of visitors to the church. Had that not happened, the little Eusebius would certainly have been in this list (and now also a bit 😉 ).
In 2021 the ‘Walburgis Residences’ opened in the two towers of the church: a beautiful and luxurious hotel. When you make a booking to sleep here, you can choose from 6 themed rooms. For example, you can choose from the Kröller Müller room, the Burgers’ Zoo room or the Battle of Arnhem room. If you sleep upstairs in one of the two tower rooms, you’re lucky. You can then use the spire where there is a picnic table, this includes a beautiful view over the city of course.
Downstairs in the old church you will find the ‘Out of Ammo’ museum with the theme of the occupation of Arnhem during WW2. You can read more about this interesting museum here.
Musis Sacrum – Ancient Buildings in Arnhem
This characteristic building in the center of Arnhem should certainly not be missing from this list. The concert hall dates from 1847 and was built for the Dutch-German music competition that was held in 1847. Musis Sacrum then had two halls, but in 1852 a new hall was built for the Exhibition of National Industry.
In 1940, the distinctive ’roundabout’ was added to the front of the building. Because the building served as accommodation for the Wehrmachtsheim (German army) during WW2, concerts could not take place in the Musis Sacrum.
Nowadays you can visit ‘Musis’, to visit various theater and concert performances and for a snack and drink at café-restaurant JANS’, which is owned by the van Hooff family, also the owner of Burgers’ Zoo.
Musis Sacrum is also home to the Phion, the former ‘Gelders Orchestra’.
Eusebius Kerk – Ancient Buildings in Arnhem
The Eusebius Church, who does not know her! Figurehead of Arnhem and literal pinnacle of the Arnhem Skyline. The first church was built on this site in 893 and in the 10th century the St. Martens Church could already be found on this site, but construction on the Eusebuis Church started in 1452. Money to complete the church was hard to come by, so it took a century to finish the church.
Duke Karel van Gelre is responsible for the construction of this church. If you visit the church now, you can still admire his mausoleum in the choir of the church and his armor can also be seen in the church. De Hertog died in 1538 in Arnhem. He was recently voted the most important Gelderlander of all time.
The tower of the church is no longer the original one from 1500. The Eusebiuskerk was largely destroyed during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. Germans fired on the tower because they thought there were British in it and the British fired on the tower because they thought there were Germans were in. However, this was not the case. The tower was destroyed by fire and later partly collapsed.
Between 1947 and 1964 the church was rebuilt, this time with a different tower. There were still a number of designs for the tower in the running. You can see this when you visit the tower itself, at the very top of the tower.
Will you book a Highlights of Arnhem city walk with ArnhemLife? Then we will tell you more about the church and its special works of art that adorn the facades.
Devil’s House / Maarten van Rossum House
The Eusebius Church and the Devil’s House have stood side by side for hundreds of years. Around 1518, Duke Karel van Gelre bought it for the first time on the site of the Devil’s House, but after his death on June 30, 1538, his brilliant and feared general Maarten van Rossum bought the city castle in 1539.
The building has had many owners over the years. In 1828 the Municipality of Arnhem bought the building to serve as town hall. The old town hall that could previously be found on the Markt was in fact very dilapidated and could no longer serve as it was intended for. After a renovation, the Duivelshuis was ready for use as a town hall and the mayor moved into the office on the 1st floor. This is still the case, the current mayor Ahmed Marcouch also has his desk here.
At the front of the Devil’s House you can see three statues ‘hanging’. These are Satyrs: a figure from Greek mythology. A cheerful and mischievous forest creature with the body of a buck and the torso of a man. So they are not devils, as people often think, but it may well be that the building owes its name of ‘Devil’s House’ to this.
If you look closely you will see 7 statues on the facade. These are all persons from the time of Maarten van Rossum. Important figures from the 16th century: Maximilian of Austria, Philip the Fair, Charles the Fifth, Karel van Egmond, Willem van Jülich and last but not least Maarten van Rossum himself.
On the corner of the Duivelshuis is a landsknecht or soldier as a statue on the facade.
Maarten van Rossum, who was an army commander, also had his own motto: “Blaken and burning is the jewel of war”. He was a rather brutal and ruthless brawler who made people shiver just by hearing his name. Sounds like a ‘nice guy’ that I would walk around with a big bow!
Hotel Molenbeek – Old Buildings in Arnhem
Hotel Molenbeek was once the first building in the Transvaal district in Arnhem. The then city villa was surrounded by grassland, but that would soon change. Built in 1903 in an Jugendstil style and perhaps one of the most beautiful buildings in Arnhem in one of the most beautiful places in Arnhem.
Located on the St. Jansbeek, which flows into the Lower Rhine from the Sonsbeek Park slightly further away via De la Reijstraat and the city center of Arnhem. The district in which Hotel Molenbeek is located is definitely worth a visit. Many buildings, like the hotel, were designed by architect Willem Diehl. He is also responsible for the Vesta building, the former Royal Building (which now houses Stan&Co) and the Luxor theatre.
Luxor Live – Old Buildings in Arnhem
We would love to go back to the Arnhem of 1900. So much was being built then, the city was taking shape. The Luxor on Willemsplein was also under construction, which started in 1880. On May 26, 1915, the building opened as a cinema. The Luxor Theater was designed by architect Willem Diehl and built in the Art Nouveau / Jugendstil style. Diehl is responsible for many beautiful buildings in Arnhem. The Vesta building and the former Royal (which now houses Stan&Co) were designed by him, as were many buildings in the Transvaalbuurt in Arnhem Noord.
The beautiful Tuschinski Theater in Amsterdam opened in 1921 and Diehl’s Luxor building served as an example. With the Luxor Theater they really got a glimpse into the future. For example, the light bulbs in the building were dimmable and the smoke from cigars and cigarettes was extracted and refreshed four times a day. That was unprecedented at the time!
In the 1970s the building fell into disrepair and there were even plans to demolish the building. The following decades were quite turbulent for the building. It was given a function as a music venue and disco. Luxor was declared bankrupt in 2000, partly due to a shooting and a lot of negative publicity.
Since 2008 you can enjoy performances and parties in the ‘Luxor Live’ and this has become a real pop temple. Every week there are great performances and cool parties in the downstairs or upstairs room. A total of 1000 people can fit in these two halls, making Luxor Live a place that brings people together. Whether you come from Arnhem or not, if you are a music lover, you must have visited Luxor Live.
Old Post Office – Old Buildings in Arnhem
I can still remember visiting the old post office in Arnhem center to post a letter or buy a concert ticket. Now I go there regularly, but for a completely different reason.
This old post office is truly an Arnhem gem. Designed by well-known national architect C.H.Peters and completed in 1889. The building, built in red brick with green glazed bands, survived the Battle of Arnhem almost unscathed. Quite a task! On April 1, 2009 the post office closed and a new destination was found. Later, in 2010, a La Place and Selexyz bookstore opened, but they were not allowed to call this location on Jansplein their home for long.
Nowadays you can find ‘T Taphuys there. This busy bar is very popular. This is partly due to the 100 different beers and 80 different wines that you can tap yourself and the cozy atmosphere that makes Jansplein its own.
The old post office has a remarkable nickname: the Monkey Rock. If you will soon be walking past this building, take a good look at the facade. You can see them sitting just above the windows of the first floor: lots of monkeys. How many do you count?
Dome Church – Old Buildings in Arnhem
Opposite the old post office you will find another pearl. The Koepelkerk from 1838, designed after the example of the Amsterdam domed church and built for 52 thousand guilders. As early as 1250 there was a place of worship for the knights of St. John and the St. John’s Church could be found here.
After 1839, the church was mostly used by the Yellow Riders, the Riding Artillery Corps. The colossal barracks were located a stone’s throw from the Koepelkerk. From the Gele Rijdersplein you can reach the church in a few minutes. Unfortunately, there is nothing left of the Willemskazerne, it was bombed during the battle of Arnhem
In the octagonal Reformed Church (vacated) you can still attend a service on Sundays. Activities are also regularly organized. Check the agenda on the website of the domed church to find out what these are.
Sabelpoort – Old Buildings in Arnhem
The Sabelpoort in Arnhem is the only remaining medieval city gate and is first mentioned in 1347. The gate served as a defense structure and from 1454 was also used as a toll house and a place to lock up prisoners and ‘insane people’. For the latter, the Sabelpoort was nicknamed ‘Geckentoren’.
The name ‘Sabelspoort’ comes from the old Dutch word ‘savel’ which means ‘sand’. Sand was ambled into the city through this gate. The sand lay on a sandbank near the gate in the Lower Rhine river.
The other city gates in Arnhem were the Rijnpoort, St. Janspoort and Velperpoort. These unfortunately disappeared during the expansion of the center between 1829 and 1853.
The Sabelpoort was damaged during the Battle of Arnhem, but it has survived. This is partly due to the extensive construction around the gate before the war. The Sabelpoort was kind of encased between the buildings. The buildings around the gate acted as a kind of protection for the old gate, so that it has largely been spared. The other buildings around the gate did not survive the violence during WW2.
The oldest building in Arnhem
We’ve saved this one for last, but there’s really nothing to write about. Student association Creas is located in this building, located in Varkensstraat 46. Experts say they can see it in the remains of a stepped gable on the side of the building. It’s a shame that hardly anyone knows that this is the oldest building in Arnhem and it’s actually a shame that it looks like this: forgotten and neglected. You should cherish such an old building and it would probably serve better as a museum than as a student association, don’t you think?