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On the corner of Diependaalselaan and Loosdrechtseweg is the Bethlehemkerk, a typical example of church building from the reconstruction period. The church was inaugurated in 1963. The design was by the Baarn architect David Zuiderhoek (1911-1993). In 2015, the inside of the building was thoroughly renovated and it was given a beautiful Quiet Room. The building houses a Leeflang organ from 1971. The church, a municipal monument, is now a PKN (Protestant Church Netherlands) church.
In the post-war period Hilversum expanded further south. In order to be able to serve the faithful new residents in their own neighborhood, many new church buildings of all denominations were built during this period (many of which have already been demolished). The Dutch Reformed congregation had a church building designed by architect David Zuiderhoek. The pastor of the church, Reverend Onstein, who was a friend of the architect, was very closely involved in the construction. The new church building on Loosdrechtseweg was put into use in 1963. The church was given the name Bethlehemkerk.
The design included not only a church building but also a sexton’s house, youth center, bicycle shed and bell tower. The church building, situated along the Diependaalselaan, is dominated by the large church hall, a high, elongated and hexagonal building part built from brick. A low and flat building part protrudes on both sides. On the east side there were originally a catechism room, vestry room, a large hall and several service rooms.
The cubist sexton’s house was placed on the northeast side of the building, along Melis Stokelaan. This building has two floors, with the living areas above and the youth center on the ground floor. At the rear of the house was a bicycle shed with the tall clock tower next to it.
In 1983 an extension was made of the bicycle shed to accommodate a meeting and catechization room. All building parts, including the tower, were thus connected to each other.
The Bethlehem Church has the characteristics characteristic of the construction period of the later, ‘tight’ phase of the Reconstruction period. Also characteristic of this period was that the tower became separate from the other buildings. Although it is a complex design, the whole looks like a unit. The architect provided the building with striking concrete slats in various places. High in the gables of the church hall he placed small groups of windows, which return as a pattern in the tower as reverberation holes. The windows are fitted with colored glass in decorative concrete frames.
After completing his architectural training in Amsterdam, David Zuiderhoek worked at various architectural firms. At Jantzen in Amsterdam, who specialized in the construction of churches, he worked as an architectural draftsman and foreman. From 1945 to 1956 he was city architect of Amersfoort, where he designed several churches in addition to residential areas. Zuiderhoek was an officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Loosdrechtseweg 263, Hilversum