Curious Travel: The Dutch Replica of the Vatican Basilica

Did you know that there is a Dutch mini-replica of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City? I bet you didn’t, since I was also incredibly surprised to find out about it. The Oudenbosch Basilica is rather large, extravagant Roman Catholic basilica in the tiny village of Oudenbosch, the Netherlands. Seeing as I’m from around this area, I can tell you: it looks really weird. You drive up to Oudenbosch through the more rural parts of the province of Noord-Brabant and, suddenly, you see a huge Baroque-esque dome looming in the distance.

Dutch Basilica Domes Like the Vatican

Vatican City Mini-me

The reason why it looks so misplaced is because this Basilica is basically a miniature replica of the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City in Rome. Back in the 19th century, a priest called Willem Hellemons studied in Rome for a bit and became a super dedicated fan of the pope. He was so inspired that he decided to let a pretty famous Dutch architect called Pierre Cuypers design this new church, modeled after the St. Peter’s basilica and Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome (admittedly, another architect called Gerardus Jacobus van Swaaij also helped out with the facade).

Pierre Cuypers

Pierre Cuypers certainly wasn’t a newbie to the business, since he worked on more than a 100 churches during his lifetime. He is typically known for designing the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum and Central Station. These have both become iconic landmarks in the Dutch capital city.

Thus, the Oudenbosch Basilica (Basiliek van de H.H. Agatha en Barbara) was born! I briefly visited the place yesterday, when I was on an Easter outing with my family.

Having visited Rome before, it was really interesting and funny to see this Basilica close to home. When I looked up, the lighting in the domes looked really graceful, so I snapped a few pictures. I hope you enjoyed this post. Wherever you are and whether you celebrate Easter or not, have a great few days and talk to you soon!


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